Virtual Assistant Scam – International Auctioneers Group

By July 23, 2008 Uncategorized 29 Comments

Recently I received the following email:

“International Auctioneers Group provides business support, retail distribution, franchise operations, direct sales, and a variety of auction as well as accounting and billing services.

We are currently recruiting for the positions of Virtual Office Assistants in Australia and New Zealand, part-time and full-time available. The positions focus on providing administrative assistance in online sales.

Part-time and full-time positions available:

Part-time: Three hours per day during either one of these shifts:
9:00am-12:00pm 11:00am-2:00pm 12:00pm-3:00pm 2:00pm-5:00pm

Full Time: Six hours per day during either one of these shifts:
9:00am-3:00pm 11:00am-5:00pm

Part-time: $1,200/month plus commission
Full-time: $2,400/month plus commission

Professional Qualities:
- Customer focused decision maker
- Demonstrates a high level of personal accountability
- Thinks about the team first over personal agendas
- Learning adaptive
- Process driven

Basic Requirements for Virtual Office Assistant:
- Internet Access
- Microsoft Office
- Basic Accounting skills

If interested in the offer please submit your resume to [email protected]

IAG Team”

Hmm, the scam radar shot up here!

“Accounting and billing services” is a rather nice euphemism for “money laundering” and “ripping people off” – usually. No offence to the accounting industry! However, as I’ve said before on this blog, you must be EXTREMELY WARY if approached to transfer money on other people’s behalf. It usually ends in tears. Read more about this in my other post about Virtual Assistant scams.

I know this email targets Australia and New Zealand, but watch out, because these kinds of emails have a habit of ‘morphing’ themselves and targeting other countries.

A quick Google search confirmed my suspicions. “International Auctioneers Group” is actually a group of auction houses, using the abbreviation of ‘IA’, not ‘IAG’. In fact, ‘IAG’ stands for Insurance Australia Group, which is another company entirely.

These scammers have ‘cleverly’ registered a domain name by adding the word ‘careers’ at the end of ‘iag’ – to lull you into a false sense of security.

A quick search on reveals that the domain was created on the 7th July 2008. Another obvious sign – a newly created domain for a supposedly established and thriving company.

The above research tips should help you in the future when checking into other companies you’re not sure about.

You have been warned!

Of course, if anyone has evidence that this is legitimate, please DO get in touch. I expect silence, though….

However, your comments are welcome, as usual!

I ‘applied’ for the position without sending through a resume, of course.

I was offered the job on the spot – the email even thanked me for sending through a resume! So they didn’t even notice I hadn’t sent one! I now have a full employment contract in hand, detailing the money ‘transferring procedures’ and requesting my full bank details ….


  • Patty says:

    Thanks for the warning message Lisa…I’m sure a lot of people have and would have fallen for something like this. Good research tips…I hope to find someone to outsource some of my work to once I have a little more $ but scared to find someone I can trust…by the way your show is one of the most listened to on MamasTimeOut©, thanks for sharing it with your readers and helping to cross-promote. I hope it is helping to bring others your way.
    Take care,

  • Shirley-ann Hughes says:

    Dear Lisa

    Thank you so much for this information. I am in the process of trying to set up a VA business and really appreaciate the help that your website has provided. It is nice to know that someone is “watching my back”.

    Thanks again Shirley-ann

  • Naijeria Toweett says:

    Thanks for the head up on this scam…i am a victim of such a scam and i concur really helps in knowing legit businesses from fakes.

    I think it helps when all the scam are published online so we know.


  • Tanya Watson says:

    Thank you Lisa,

    I’m barely getting started in business and appreciate hearing about this. Knowing these kind of scams are definitely out there doesn’t surprise me, yet good to be aware of.

  • Thanks for the message Lisa. Information like this is always useful to have on a “just in case” basis. Tempting though these things sound there’s always a little something nagging in the back of my mind that makes me say no, it’s not worth the risk and you’ve just proved it. Well done.

    Take care


  • Nina Hoven says:

    Hi Lisa, I received this email…not sure how as I haven’t even started a VA business yet – just in the initial investigation stage. Really enjoy getting your emails – learning a lot. Thanks again, Nina

  • ern says:

    Hi there, am a kenyan and was wondering from my learned friends if there are any work at home online offers available for kenyans that are scam free.

    Especially am interested in those that require no registration fee since i may just be ripped off my downpayment for am not very sure which ones are for real and which ones are fakes..Kindly help a needy situation.



  • Thanks for the warning Lisa. I receive e-mails like this on a daily basis. When it involves the transfer of money I delete them immediately.

    Thanks again,

  • Jan Scott says:

    Thanks for this information. Once again, it confirms to me that I chose the right program when I chose yours and that you really are Paying it Forward!
    Thanks Lisa,

  • Shavonne says:


    This is very helpful. I am just starting out with my own VA business and now I know to keep my radar up for scams like this.

    Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing,

  • Deb Frawley says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for the tip on I receive these types of e-mails frequently, so this site will be very helpful! One other thing to pay attention to is the e-mail address they ask you to respond to. Is it their own domain website e-mail or just a generic e-mail address? I’ve also received e-mails where the website they are referencing is a legit company but the e-mail address might be changed by one character, so at first glance it looks like they are the same but in fact are completely different. Just look carefully at everything before responding. Thanks again Lisa.

    Take care

  • Donna Gerron says:

    Lisa, thank you for all the information you have been providing. I’ve finally got a site up and running and trying to get established. Of course the first customer I get ended up being a scam. But I paid attention to the signs and has his check verified through my bank before I did anything. The guy kept bugging me about cashing the check and sending money to someone who was supposed to pick up some computers he wanted me to work on. I never got the computers but he sent me $3000? Hello! Red flag! LOL.
    Again, Thank you Lisa!

  • Kathleen says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful tip about the scam. I have had recieved many emails from similar positions and I just read them and delete them.

    Some of the positions were to collect money on their behalf and have me sent it to their company. One of them was from New Zealand.

    It is awesome to have someone like you on their toes and helping others like us.

    Take care,

  • Thanks for the message lisa. These scammers just never stop. So we all must continue to be on the lookout for these evil people. The sad thing is that they all want the same things: your personal information, your bank information etc… Please keep VA’s informed. Thanks, Renee

  • Lucinda says:

    Wow this was the first email I opened up because your word is credible with me and I appreciate the heads up. I am always surfing the net to find work for my team and I to have an extra set of eyes. Thanks…

  • Sara says:

    Thanks so much for the warning Lisa. It makes me sick that people try to involve others in their scams and illegal activities.
    Thanks for the heads up.


  • Tricia Coyle says:

    Hi Lisa

    Thanks for the warning I’m a new VA (just started in June) and something like that would have been very tempting for me to make some money while I’m setting up..

    Kind Regards


  • Dawn says:

    Thanks for this, I’ve actually applied to about 5 or 6 virtual assistant jobs here in the US in the last two weeks and each comes back with a similar styled email with only the name of the business changed of course.

    I really wish the job boards would screen better….

  • Lisa Taliga says:

    Hi everyone, thanks for all your responses!

    I’m very happy to have warned you about this. Obviously, some of you are already aware of this kind of thing, but it’s always good to get a reminder every now and then.

    If you know ANYONE ELSE who is looking to work from home in ANY capacity, not just Virtual Assistance, please forward them the link to this post! That way, we can all ‘pay it forward’. We all have to stick together and look out for each other because if we don’t, every single day, people are going to be ripped off. These emails and scams never stop, which proves that they work. It’s really sad.

    One scam like this is enough to put someone off the whole idea of working from home. I really don’t want that to happen because believe me, there is LOTS OF LEGITIMATE WORK out there.

    @ Naijeria – I’m really sorry to hear that you’re a victim of such a sickening scam. If I can help just ONE person avoid this in future, then I’ll be happy.

    @ Donna – thanks for sharing with us your story. These people will stop at nothing to invent stories to make vulnerable people think that they’re going to get lots of work. This ruse about ‘picking up computers to work on’ is really awful.

    @ Dawn – what kind of job boards were these? Happy for you to email me confidentially if you wish. I’ve heard of job boards doing this and it would be great to get more details, if you’re willing, so I can further help others avoid falling into this trap.

    Please also read my post about joining me on Facebook. This is a great tool for us all to stay in touch and another platform for me to help others avoid scams:

  • Shelley says:

    I get these kinds of emails all the time. I just didn’t feel right to me the first time I got one, so I investigated it. I got the first one in 2006.

    It’s ashame that people take advantage of such a wonderful tool as the internet. So many good things can and have come from having the internet. It is those few that make it a very scary and unsafe place to be. Don’t loose hope though. There are Internet Fraud sites you can check out and make a complaint to. If they get enough complaints maybe one day they will be able to do something about the international fraud.

    Never give out your personal information even if it is legal. Chances are there will always be a leak somewhere. More likely if it is legal they won’t ask for your banking information.

  • Karen Moses says:

    Well, I also get these e-mails all the time and i try to be very careful.

    I once got one from a reknown UK bank so the first thing I did is inform the bank – the legit one in the UK – that their e-mail was being used for illegal purposes. They were actually aware of it and asked me to send them all the mails I got from that person.

    So if there is a legit company, try to inform the company that their name is being misused for illegal purposes- you won’t get a price or anything but they sure will appreciate the Heads-up.

    Thank you Lisa for your help both in the board and on SKYPE.


  • Charmaine says:

    Dear Lisa,
    Thanks so much for the warning. I had no idea that ‘accounting and billing services’ meant money-laundering. Your tips on how to spot a scam are also very useful. I never give out my bank account details, but something like this might have caught me off my guard.

  • Laurie Mettier says:

    I have received several emails lately that appear to come from some other legitimate work at home websites that I am a member of and they looked suspicious to me and it was the email address that really sent up the red flags.

    The email addresses they were coming from are not the same ones I usually get emails from.

    I did contact the sites and inform them of these emails and have not heard anything back as to whether they are legitimate or not.

  • Lisa Taliga says:

    HERE’S ANOTHER SCAM EXAMPLE EMAIL – THIS ONE WAS SENT BY LELIA – very different ‘story’ – please go here and give Lelia your feedback on this scam:

  • Lea-Anne' says:

    Good catch Lisa. I am in the process of setting up to be a VA too, and thanks to you already for providing good tips. I hope to never experience this…but I will keep this in my memory bank. Thanks Lisa

  • Linda Turner says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for providing us with this information, also a place that we can discuss the types of scams out there. I was scammed earlier last year in January ’07 from a company saying that they would provide me with some VA assignments for a onetime fee of $30.00. I sent the money and waited. They even sent me a link to a website that had some data entry jobs that claim to pay as much as $300 a day… but nothing ever came of that; to say the least, I never got any assignments. To this day, I am still waiting. ……

  • Geraldine says:

    I got exactly the same email. I thought it might be legit because I applied for the job through a job search website, At least we know that the evils on the internet can be prevented by the same mechanism.

  • Bill says:

    Hi Lisa
    Just received the same email except the money was in GBP and it was nearly the same amount as the Australians were being offered in Oz Dollars – so at least we get paid more to be ripped off! (if that makes sense).

    My wife and I are both working full time in Accounts Depts for various people, me with a law firm her with an on-line betting company but with shed loads of experience in other fields, we need to be slowing down a bit now and having more “us” time so the VA avenue looks quite appealing. If anyone has any advice for us we’d be more than willing to accept it! We live on the sunshine island of Guernsey so we know there’s lots of scope within the Finance industry, but we’re finding people a little wary of such a thing (or is it just being plain old fashioned and wanting to see someone at a desk for 7 hours a day for their money?). Obviously we don’t want to just pack in our jobs and “go for it”, so any tips would be great. Thank you and keep up the good work – all of the people on here seem to be so nice and friendly. Great stuff!


  • click says:

    This site has lots of extremely helpful info on it! Cheers for informing me.

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