So, I am sure by now you’ve read the Scammers Apprentice and are ready to find out exactly who this Ralph character is and as promised our investigation produced some interesting results.
So just like me I am sure you are wondering about the others and what they’ve been up to during this time. I didn’t mention this previously, but this was an internship so the other interns and I had been expecting a weekly check. A check that never arrived. When I asked Ralph about it he said that the money is actually paid out a week in arrears and so I would get it the following Friday….OOoOOkKKKaaaaaayyyy. So, if you remember Paula had also interviewed the others for the accounting roles. She had “employed” around 12 others and of course had their numbers. They were our first point of contact when we began our investigation.
This part in truth was not difficult as most of them had been blowing up her phone anyway. When we spoke to them they were concerned that they hadn’t been paid yet, that they would call Ralph time and time again with no response and he would set up meetings with them only to change the location at the last minute or refuse to turn up at all. All this had SHADY written all over it. I too had found that he was a hard man to find, often he would tell me to meet him somewhere only to tell me – once I arrived there – that he was a few doors down. I soon realised that this was a strategy he used to make sure he was never caught unaware. Paula was having none of it, she wanted to get paid!
So one time I scheduled a meet with him – he trusts me at this point (I am his intern after all – and she was supposed to corner him about her monies. Best believe this man didn’t turn up for the meeting. Instead he gave me a call ranting about the quality of Paula’s work and how he knows that we are friends and he is going to investigate her conduct further and if I continued to work closely with her then my job would also be in jeopardy. Only to find out from one of ‘the others’ that she had bumped into him on the road as he was about to enter the pub for our meeting and when she mentioned that she saw Paula and I, he quickly made up an excuse about another meeting and went in the other direction! This guy was T.R.A.S.H.
That same evening at the pub Paula and I buy a bottle of wine and get discussing Ralph and all the foolishness that has ensued so far. When a woman comes over, she introduces herself as Anita and says that she overheard our conversation and believes that we are talking about the same person she came here to meet. I asked “What company do you have the interview with?”, “Avanade” she replies. I ask “Who are you her to see “, “Ralph” she replies. I was like yes, it is the same guy we talking about and I ask her to tell me her story. She was an international student who had just finished her finance degree and said that she was looking for a permanent job so she could get the work visa and remain in the UK. She got the accountancy position with Ralph and he said he was going to begin the process of getting her sponsored for the work visa. He has yet to deliver on any of the promises. I told her that I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but something isn’t right and she should be looking elsewhere. She looked sceptical but I did my part. And interestingly enough Paula later mentioned that of the people she interviewed Ralph only employed – I am using this word loosely – international students, or people not from the UK, he is clearly preying on the vulnerable… and me.
So I’m in the car, on my way home from church. Paula messages me. Ralph is a bonafide con artist. Ralph isn’t even Ralph’s name it’s John Philips and he is a known recruitment conman! It hits me that I have legit been running around for a con artist and Paula has been introducing more people to the wheel, what is life?
The Recruitment Scam
This guy is no joke (link 1; link 2). What he does is pose as bogus companies; he goes the full mile by creating a legitimate looking website and business emails and advertises non-existent jobs. He may post ads online or go through CVs on job boards and gets his fake employees to unknowingly recruit more people into the scam. He then charges “training” and “accreditation” fees of up to 480 Great British Pounds – similar to the DBS form fee I charged. And this is not a new thing; this guy has been doing it for years posing as over 10 bogus companies. Mr Rosser from Safer Jobs Agency said that it was “the biggest scam we have seen of this kind, where unsuspecting jobseekers are used to perpetuate this fraud further.”
Ok, cool. I accept that I have been a fool working for this fool, but this is my second week and payday is coming up. So I decide to play it nice and see what happens, I won’t leave my house or whatever but I’ma see what happens. On the side Paula and I start telling “the others” what we’ve found. Anita has messaged me asking if I know where Ralph is. I send her links to the news articles and tell her to get out. The morning my phone rings. It’s Ralph. He. Is. Pissed! He starts going on about how me and Paula have a campaign against him and are scaring away all his employees. If he was really a con artist then he would have been locked up by now, although he’s been arrested a few times that does not mean that he is guilty. They are just trying to bring a black man’s business down that’s why the reporters get involved. He says that he cares about people and young graduates, that’s why he gives them good jobs with a respected company so they can kick start their career and the fact that I am trying to take this away from them is shameful. And he knows this is all Paula’s doing, he should have known from the start that she isn’t a right fit for this company. He sounds so passionate and so hurt that I can only think that this man is seriously delusion and perhaps deranged as his grasp on reality is completely skewed. But I’m thinking about my money innit so I was like ok, but when am I gonna get paid? He was like by the end of the day, they just have a backlog to get through and then everything will be sorted. All now I am still waiting… So, of course we report him to crime watch, they say there isn’t enough evidence that’s why there hasn’t been a conviction, yeh whatever. Paula and I go on to find new jobs, I can only hope that “the others” wised up and got out. Then I get this email a few months later:
I really think, he thinks he is running this company. Only that could explain why I was getting a letter of termination months after I had already left – or maybe he just hadn’t realised I no longer worked there haha. But, basically I had wasted 2 weeks of my life the £50 for the DBS (don’t know what that manual kit thing is) and I wasn’t getting paid… sigh.
Don’t be like me kids, stay smart, if something seems shady it probably is and if you see this stupid man, report him. I hope my story helps someone else.