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The Seedy Underbelly of Craigslist Jobs in Costa Rica

Craigslist, that catch-all worldwide classified advertising site, has always been a go to for me, when looking for any job possibilities here in Costa Rica. Over ten years of my recent work life were thanks to answering ads in Craigslist.

These were real jobs, with real companies, in the travel and tourism industry. In fact, the entire selection of jobs available on Craigslist can be cleanly divided into legitimate opportunities (some paying better than others), and another world where the job seeker better beware.

Among the legit jobs, you will find, in addition to tourism related work, a mix of Jobs from English teacher to receptionist to tech work. Most of these jobs–even the tech ones– will pay in the 5 to 7 dollar an hour range.

The tech jobs are mostly outsourced from companies that don’t want to pay a living wage in North America or Europe. But the good news is, that these are authentic, legal jobs, and the wage they pay is roughly middle class here. A listing that seems to pop up with regularity is “Castings Porno”.

I don’t know anything about the porno industry in Costa Rica, where they film, who they use, how much they pay. Given the number of sex workers in the country, I imagine they would have no shortage of candidates for their cinematic adventures.

I am still waiting for one that specifies that it is searching for senior citizen ‘actors’. I exercise daily and consume yohimbe bark on a regular basis, just in case the opportunity arises. A while back there was a local listing for porn actors that offered two pay scales– with or without masks.

They did not specify the type of mask. I answered their ad, and told them I was a willing actor, and that I had a Boruca mask. (If you don’t know what this is, google it). I never got a response. But the mask possibility got me thinking. I was looking for an online niche, virgin territory, an idea that possibly no one had come up with previously.

I settled on Clown Porn– porn with people dressed and made up like clowns. Imagine my surprise, when I found an entire village of clown porn sites online. I do not know if any of those originate in Costa Rica. I was too discouraged to check. Worse than porn, worse than anything, are the many listings filed under “Sweepstakes”. Sounds like a chance to win money, right? Like the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes.

Well, let’s go to google again and put in ‘Costa Rica Sweepstakes’. You won’t find happy stories of people who won money. But you will find numerous articles about people being arrested and sentenced for scamming the elderly out of millions of dollars.

It is amazing how often the same story repeats – Costa Rica based scammers, using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services to appear to victims as if they were calling from Washington D.C. and other U.S. locations, targeting elderly victims.

The callers claim that the victims have won a large sweepstakes prize, but first need to pay a deposit in order to assure their receipt of the nonexistent prize.

Though there have been numerous busts over the years, the continual Craigslist ads looking for ‘’sweeps openers’’ and ‘’closers’’ are evidence that where there is money to be scammed, there are conscious less predators ready to take over when others are busted. With its mix of legitimate work, sex and scammers, the Craigslist jobs page is a reflection of Costa Rica itself. Proceed with caution!

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