It was an astonishing interview for recruiter Elliott Garlock. While screening candidate engineers for a crypto firm in February, Garlock encountered one applicant who raised almost every conceivable red flag. The interviewee joined the Zoom interview with his camera off and had to be cajoled into turning it on. There was constant chatter in the background, like he was jammed in a small, crowded room. He claimed to be from San Francisco but, when pressed, wasn’t able to pinpoint his location more precisely than “Bay Area.” It was a strange and unproductive interview. Worst of all, it was the first of many. Garlock, the founder of the Stella Talent Partners recruitment firm, soon encountered another, nearly identical candidate. Then another, and another and another. “I got annoyed after a while, because it was a total waste of time,” Garlock said. “I originally thought the scam was that they were offshore, trying to take advantage of remote work to just get a salary for not working.” Now there’s a new hypothesis: The people interviewing for jobs were North Koreans trying to siphon money to the reclusive nation. That’s in accord with warnings from both the FBI and the Treasury Department, which have cautioned about North Korea’s escalating risk to the cryptocurrency industry.
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