PORTLAND, Ore. — Omar Zagha had been looking for work online when an email arrived offering him a job. A company called Silver Oils said it was hiring financial agents.
The company, which claims to produce and sell olive oil, lists a downtown Portland address on its website.
“I was kind of impressed by the website. It looked really good,” said Zagha, who lives in Corona, California.
Before Zagha could start work, the company asked him to fill out an online application that requested sensitive banking information.
“It asked for my bank information, my name, my routing number, who I bank with and then at the end it asked for a photo ID so we can verify this,” explained Zagha. “That raised all the red flags for me.”
Zagha didn’t reply. Many others do, explained Stephen Mayer of the Better Business Bureau.
“We see people falling for these scams all the time,” said Mayer. “They’re easy prey, unfortunately. These people have a good work ethic. They want to work.”
Silver Oils is not a registered corporation with the Oregon Secretary of State.
The company website listed an address of 1000 SW Broadway in downtown Portland. A building directory showed no such business at that address. No one answered the phone number listed on the company website.
Additional research revealed the company executives were bogus. The Financial Manager is listed as Alexander Solomon.
“Alex is the head of our Financial department from the moment we opened our branch in Portland,” said the Silver Oils website. A reverse image search of the photo posted for Solomon revealed a male model who appears in various stock photos.
The head of sales for Silver Oils is listed as Dhimitrios Halloudis. It includes a photo. A reverse image search revealed the true identity of the executive. The man actually runs a tech company in India.
The Silver Oils website lists Vanessa Vasco as Human Resources Coordinator, along with a photo. The same photo of an unidentified female appears on various websites. It is a commercial image.
It’s not clear who is behind the Silver Oils website or where they are located.
“People could easily fall into this trap if they don’t know any better,” explained Zagha.