After roughly six months on unemployment and struggling to find a new job amid the coronavirus crisis, Aaron Heaps, a New York-based actor and waiter, finally thought he’d found something.

Automattic, a publishing company that owns and operates, reached out to Heaps via a startup job site called AngelList and encouraged him to apply for a customer service position using a special application code.

“It was a very long application,” said Heaps, 28, adding that all communication was through an online app called Telegram. But the questions were typical for a job interview, so he thought “it seems legit, they’re not asking anything too personal, I don’t have much to lose,” he said.

He also kept researching Automattic during the process and learned that the company does communicate online and has many remote employees. So, he kept going forward until he was sent a new hire form and contract that asked for more personal…

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