Patrick R. McElhiney was recently targeted by a fake HR department scam that involved INDIVIDUAL 1, identifying as "Jenny Su", and INDIVIDUAL 2, identifying as "John Cromarty", both layout out a scam that suggested they were part of the of Hortonworks, Inc. Human Resources Department. INDIVIDUAL 1 initially contacted Patrick McElhiney on 4/9/2019, offering Patrick any of 21 different positions at the company, including Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), and Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Patrick didn't think it was a scam at first, because INDIVIDUAL 2 provided an employment contract with the Hortonworks, Inc. logo on it. Patrick did note right away that the employment contract was of a poor format, however he didn't immediately connect this with the fact that the 'HR department' that he thought he was communicating with was actually scammers, with unknown motives.
INDIVIDUAL 1 communicated solely by text messaging, while INDIVIDUAL 2 communicated by Skype, and INDIVIDUAL 2 attempted to voice dial Patrick's Skype account several times after Patrick told INDIVIDUAL 2 that he thought it was a scam. The real red flag that set off Patrick was when INDIVIDUAL 2 attempted to have Patrick deposit fake checks into his bank account, and then hoping that the bank would immediately post the amount to the balance of his account, then requested that Patrick drive to Walgreens and purchase a $1000 Amazon gift card, that the criminal attempted to explain would be used to pay a vendor for the shipment of several items to Patrick's home office. Patrick wasn't conned into the hoax, because Patrick already has an office with everything he needs to be productive in work - so the scammers offer to ship items that Patrick didn't need became an argument.
Patrick R. McElhiney reported the scam to the real company, Hortonworks, Inc., and contacted the real John Cromarty that really works in the HR department at Hortonworks to explain that someone was using his profile to scam qualified candidates for positions at Hortonworks, Inc. out of money in the form of money laundering. He responded and confirmed that the company isn't involved in the scam. INDIVIDUAL 2 also has a different writing format than the real John Cromarty, as compared to the real HR employee's online profile, which suggested initially that the company didn't have anything to do with the scam. Patrick R. McElhiney also contacted the U.S. Senate through Senator Jeanne Shaheen's office regarding the scam, and had the information forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This scam should be used as an example to show other people that criminals are getting smarter, and they are outsmarting highly intelligent people by targeting them through normal business processes, in the attempt to inject criminal processes for the purpose of funding crime in the United States and abroad. Patrick R. McElhiney didn't lose any money from this scam, however others may have, and he hopes that the suspects are apprehended and given a fair trial with the evidence that Patrick R. McElhiney and others have collected, including:
- Transcript of Text Messages from INDIVIDUAL 1
- Transcript of Skype Chat with INDIVIDUAL 2
- Fake Employment Contract Provided by INDIVIDUAL 2
- Fake Checks (Redacted) Provided by INDIVIDUAL 2
As you can see by the transcript of INDIVIDUAL 2, he doesn't speak perfect business English, which at first Patrick R. McElhiney thought that the individual may have had a disability. There are a lot of other discrepancies, such as the same check number being used on both checks that were sent to Patrick R. McElhiney from INDIVIDUAL 2.
On 4/19/2019, Senator Shaheen's office submitted an inquiry to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on behalf of Patrick R. McElhiney.