‘I was vulnerable’: Artificial intelligence work-from-home job scams targeting victims

DEDHAM, Mass. — Work-from-home job scams have grown by more than 500% thanks in part to artificial intelligence targeting those who are most vulnerable.

Indeed, LinkedIn and Facebook are just some sites scammers use to target people like Jessica Brown.


“They obviously looked at my resume,” Brown said.

She received an email from what she thought was Synterex, a well-known clinical and regulatory consulting firm specializing in agile methodology, automation, and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven technologies.

It stated, “We reviewed your resume for the Junior Recruiter at Synterex. We think you could be a good fit for the opportunity.”

After filling out a few screening questions, she received an offer of $30 per hour and health benefits to work from home.

Brown needed the money; she has a child and her husband had just suffered a severe stroke.

I was vulnerable at that time. It was hard for me. I was looking for a job,” Brown said.

All she had to do was cash a check for nearly $5,000 to pay for a home office which could include a laptop. Even better – she received a follow-up letter that stated, “If you are able to work for the company for a period of 12-16 weeks, the materials automatically become yours.”

She took the check to a local bank but got some bad news.

“The bank figured out right away this was a scam,” Brown said. “The public needs to be aware of work-at-home scams.”


According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, nearly 15,000 people reported being victims of employment scams in 2022, with losses totaling more than $52 million.

“It’s a lucrative scam,” Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center, said. The ITRC has seen a 545% increase in reports in January 2024 compared to December 2023. Velasquez said the quality of the fake checks and letters has improved because of artificial intelligence.

“It doesn’t take any time, and it costs very little for the scammers to develop picture and letter-perfect templates and online profiles. So, it looks very, very legitimate,” Velasquez said.

Those A.I. generated job scams can be much more dangerous than typical phishing emails.

Crooks use A.I. to scrape your personal information, then create and send a targeted attack.

Another part of the scam can include links within the offer letter asking victims for more information. Clicking those links can download malware or steal your private information to use against you or sell on the dark web.


According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are ways to protect yourself:

  • Verify the job ad.
  • Visit the official company website and apply there instead.
  • Google the company with words like “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.”
  • If a company sends you a check, asks you to deposit it, and return part of the money, it’s a scam.

Synterex Statement:

“Unfortunately, like many other companies, Synterex was targeted by a scammer who digitally impersonated us in early 2023. When we first became aware of the scam, we immediately published a post on LinkedIn to warn current and future clients as well as partners and team members that bad actors were using our brand name to ‘recruit’ new hires using unofficial email addresses. Since then, we have taken extra measures such as creating an official Glassdoor account and reporting any accounts that were impersonating us. We filed a formal complaint with IC3 back in 2023, though we have yet to hear back from any relevant authority or jurisdiction regarding this matter. Our team also took the extra step and responded to each person we could verify had been scammed via email to let them know that the requests came from a non-Synterex domain so they would cease communications with the scammers.

“Our hearts go out to any applicant who spends time applying for a job only to find out the process was not real. We understand how involved the talent acquisition process can be. It is disheartening, to say the least, to see applicants who are excited about the potential to work for these companies have their time and resources stolen, or worse. That’s why we are always working to elevate our digital security measures to combat this type of threat.”

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