This was an extremely elaborate scam using Galileo Health, Inc. as a front. The tricky part is that these scammers used a real company and real people working for Galileo’s HR department, so when I researched the company, I didn’t find anything out of the ordinary and was able to put faces to the names I’d been in contact with. Here’s the full chronological report:
July 16, 2020
I applied to a job on Indeed.com for an Executive Assistant position. The position was fully remote and offered $62.00/hourly. I received an automated email from both Indeed.com and Galileo Health, Inc. acknowledging receipt of my application.
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
11:53 AM I received an email from Elliot Epstein* from [email protected] (the email address looks legitimate if you don’t look too closely at the domain) inviting me to interview. He told me to create an account through Wire.com and connect with Jen Hajj**.
1:44 PM I connected with Jen Hajj to schedule an interview. She started interviewing me right away even after I said that my understanding was we were only to schedule my interview at that time. She asked me common interview questions (tell me about yourself, what do you know about the company, what are your strengths/weaknesses, etc.). It seemed legitimate even though it wasn’t a video chat or even a phone call. It was completely through chat. I figured that this is what remote work is like and didn’t think too deeply into it. The interview concluded at 3:29 PM, nearly 2 hours after our first connection.
Thursday, August 6, 2020
3:01 PM I received an email from Elliot Epstein with the subject line, “Re: Galileo Health, Inc. Congratulations You Have Been Hired!” Attached to the email were two pieces of documentation: official job letter, and employee handbook. I signed the job offer letter (thankfully it did not ask for my SSN, though I did scan a copy of my driver’s license, unfortunately). He told me to connect again with Jen Hajj for the next steps. After connecting with Jen Hajj she told me my pre-training would begin the following day (Friday, August 7) and that my formal training will be the following week (August 10-14). She assigned me to my team leader, Jason Greenhouse***.
6:27 PM I connected with Jason Greenhouse on Wire.com and he kept making sure I was available and online. If I took more than a minute to respond he would ask if he still had my undivided attention. He gave me more information on the job which matched up with the online job description on Indeed. At 7:26 PM he told me he would reach out to me by 9:00 AM the following day (Friday, August 7).
Friday, August 7, 2020, 9:07 AM
I messaged Jason Greenhouse to make sure he knew I was there. He didn’t respond until 10:21 AM. He was clearly annoyed after I didn’t respond until 10:25. He assigned me my pre-training tasks shortly after that. He gave me essay prompts one at a time and set time limits for each one. All I did for several hours was write essays. These were some of the prompts: “How to Manage Cash Flow,” “Communication in the Workplace,” “Leadership Development and Organizational Change,” and “15 Advantages and 15 Disadvantages of Remote Work and Fiscal Ramifications.” Looking back, the last prompt was a funny one. I should have stated that one of the major disadvantages of remote work is that you don’t know if you’re being scammed or not!
Saturday, August 8, 2020, 1:33 PM
Jason Greenhouse said he received my work and would forward it to the HR department. He also told me that I’d be getting startup funds and a sign-on bonus to help set up my home office. These are the pieces of equipment that were to be provided by the company:
– Apple Macbook Pro 16” (retina display core-i7) – $2175
– HP Color LaserJet Pro M277dw – $450
– Fellowes Power-shred MS-450Cs – $ 499.99
– Jabra GN9120 (Flex Boom Headset) – $225.99
– Virtual Presence 2.0 – $800
Monday, August 10, 2020, 8:29 AM
I received a direct deposit form and filled out my checking and account numbers. I’m thankful again that I didn’t write down my SSN. At this point, I asked how to track my hours. He said that I’d be able to track my hours once my home office has been set up. He then sent me a check for $4,720 from Medspring of TX, PA, which he explained was their banking partner. I deposited the check into my bank account and he asked me to send him a screenshot of the confirmation. He asked me if the funds were available yet. I said that they aren’t, and that deposited checks usually take a day or two, especially from different banks. He then told me that that was all I needed to do for the day.
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
9:54 AM Jason Greenhouse greets me and asks me to confirm whether the funds are available or not from the check. I said no because a hold has been placed on it. He said he would talk to the Finance department and get back to me on what to do next.
10:30 AM He asked me if I had a valid credit card and I said yes. Then he says, “I have been updated by the finance dept that you make use of your available balance to proceed with the ordering of your working materials and once your card has been maxed out we proceed to crediting your card with your money spent and funding for your remaining orders to have your home office set up, so I will be giving instructions on what to do next so we are on track without delay. The cost of this step is $3000, so we’ll proceed with your software activation first and then we’ll conclude with the order for your software suites so I am going to guide you through this steps accordingly so I’ll need you to follow my instructions correctly and to detail and we’ll be done without any hassle and do not make any errors. We are going to be completing this step with the use of an Apple store giftcard which you can get at an Apple store closest to you. The cost of the activation is $3000 so you are to head to the store and get three Apple store giftcards one for $2000 and one for $1000 which we’ll be using to complete this step. I believe you have an Apple store close to you?” –Now, this didn’t make any sense to me. I asked him why I had to go into the store to get gift cards, since I can order whatever I need directly online. He was adamant that wouldn’t work. I tried buying myself time by saying I needed to figure out a bus schedule to the nearest Apple store. He kept telling me to report when I had the cards in my hand so that I could read off verification codes to him. I said I was HIGHLY uncomfortable doing this, and he replied, “Your funds will be credited on the 19th without fail so you’ll be receiving a reimbursement for this out-of-pocket expense immediately after we are done with the purchases so by morning tomorrow you’ll have your full credit line available for you to use as you’d like. Your safety and financial security is of utmost importance to the company and myself so put your mind at ease and know you are in safe hands. You have nothing to worry about in this regard I assure you.” –And this made even LESS sense to me than before. If my deposited check wouldn’t be available for over a week, how would I get reimbursed for buying the gift cards IMMEDIATELY?
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Thankfully, these scammers didn’t get any money out of me. They played the long game though, and wasted a week of my time. Time that I could have been looking for other jobs to get through COVID. I went into my local bank branch to close my compromised account and open a new account.
Looking back, several little red flags popped up. They didn’t seem too threatening as isolated cases, but it quickly added up along with everything else and I knew I’d been scammed. Here are the little red flags:
1. The email address from Elliot Epstein didn’t include a formal/professional email signature. The email domain itself was @galileoShealth, which I didn’t realize until much later. The real Galileo Health company’s domain is galileo.io.
2. Jen Hajj was immediately ready to interview me once we connected. We didn’t schedule my interview for a later date, or even later in the day.
3. The interview was entirely through Wire.com and didn’t involve any virtual, video chat/zoom sort of interview format. It felt like Microsoft Teams, except there weren’t any emails, phone numbers, or work positions to describe who you were talking to.
4. The job offer letter had an unrecognizable address when typed into Google. 319 Lafayette St #151, New York, NY 10012 – and when I Googled Galileo Health, that isn’t the address that pops up.
5. Jen Hajj and Jason Greenhouse kept asking if I was online and pestered me for my immediate response.
*Elliot Epstein is a real person on LinkedIn and real Galileo Health, Inc. employee, but he was not the one who emailed me.
**Jen Hajj is a real person on LinkedIn and real Galileo Health, Inc. employee, but she was not the one who interviewed me.
***Jason Greenhouse is a real person on LinkedIn and real Galileo Health, Inc. employee, but he was not my “team leader”. I connected and messaged with these people on LinkedIn and they told me that this sort of thing has happened in the past.
I have saved all of the documents given to me as well as transcripts between Jen Hajj and Jason Greenhouse on Wire.com. I hope this helps other people avoid the same scam that I went through.
The same thing just happened to my husband. We are freezing his accounts now. Thank you so much for posting this.
Everything in the above review is true. They tried to do it to me as well. I contacted Galileo health directly and the girl who supposedly interviewed me has been on maternity leave since June. She put me in contact with the real HR dept. Do not fall for this scam.
Victim Location 98144
Total money lost $2,215
Type of a scam Employment
Provide a description of the incident and how you were victimized. Provide information not captured elsewhere in this complaint form.
I applied to a job on Indeed for an Executive Assistant position at a company called Galileo Health.
About a week or so later I was contacted via my associated email address with an offer for an interview and documentation on the company and the position.
I was given instructions on how to proceed by setting up a profile on Wire.com and to connect with someone named "Tiffany Chu".
I did this and she set up an interview time for me.
She interviewed me entirely via chat, which I thought was strange. She said they would get back to me within a week.
I was contacted a little after a week and offered the position and given more information about the specifics of the company, the structure of the training process and expectations for the first two weeks.
On Monday 8/3/2020 I began what they called "Pre-Training" with a woman named Emma Tabenkin. This all took place via wire and consisted mostly of testing my writing and cognition skills. It all seemed very above board.
It proceeded the same on 8/4/2020 at first and then took a sharp turn.
They had told me previously that as a work remote position they helped with setting up a home office location and they would be sending funds so I could get it set up. On Tuesday (8/4) I was asked to print 2 checks and mobile deposit them so I could purchase the software/security system "Apache".
Despite my hesitations at the awkwardness of the process I got it done.
Immediately they asked me about whether it was deposited. Then they asked me to proceed buying the software. This is where it gets really strange.
I was asked to purchase 5 gift cards, preferably Nordstrom totaling the amount of $2215. I was pressured into doing this by being goaded into going to several different stores until I found them. They then asked me to send them pictures of the cards.
I am sorry to say I did all of these things despite my extreme discomfort. It felt wrong and I felt extremely pressured into completing these tasks. I asked them many times to explain why I was doing this and told them many times I was unsettled and uncomfortable doing it.
Emma Tabenkin said we could just pick up the next day, seeing my discomfort. Today I have done nothing but speak to them minimally and research if this is a possible scam.
My bank froze my account today (8/5/2020). I haven’t received clarification on the information there quite yet but they are looking into the situation.
(2) checks were mobile deposited totaling $4499.00 and $4490.00 respectively.
I was then asked to purchase $2215 worth of Nordstrom gift cards which were broken out like this: (4) $500
At this point I have only minimally communicated with them minimally today but they continue to try and reach me via phone.
Mainly Elliot Epstein at the number 347-518-8023
I have screenshots of all of this communication as well as every receipt and gift card still saved.