Friday, February 13, 2009

SCAM ALERT: (800) 921-4557 - The Career Hotline on Craigslist

I'm re-posting this from a thread I put up on the NY Craigslist Jobs Forum as a warning to job seekers:

"There are several postings floating around Craigslist in New York offering Warehouse and Engineering jobs starting at $20-30/hr or $40-$60 thousand a year. The short post lists the usual offerings for perm jobs (benefits, blah-blah-blah) and offers an 800 number to call.

When you call the number, you get a short speech; a female voice introducing the company as The Career Hotline, offering their services as a job service where you're guaranteed placement in one of the many jobs they have. You are told that you must be available to work immediately within the next two weeks, followed by being informed that there is a guaranteed placement fee of $195.

The voice then offers the option of pressing '1' to speak with a representative, but immediately following that announcement, the line you have called attempts to transfer you to another line. I hung up before being connected and searched for references to this company.

Apparently the number 800-921-4557 pops up in ads around the country; in Chicago, Indianapolis and even Aurora, CO; offering the same exact thing.

I searched the Better Business Bureau, but they had nothing. I searched the 800notes database, but again nothing. I then came across a page from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which essentially confirmed my suspicion. This is definitely a scam. Outside of the obvious that a company cannot guarantee that you will be hired for anything, the fact that you have to pay an up-front fee (likely over the phone) should raise anyone's hackles immediately. But worse, the attempt to switch you to another line would likely have dropped you onto a 900 pay-per-call or pay-per-minute line without your knowledge, which is illegal.

So bottom line, if you see a job listing with 800-921-4557 listed in it, don't waste your time. If you call any number and here a recorded voice introducing The Career Hotline or a similar name, hang up immediately. Luckily I had the wherewithal to avoid this scam, but others might not be so lucky, so pass it around.

The FTC's page on identifying and avoiding scams like this can be found at this page:

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/products/pro22.shtm

Good luck!
"


The thing that gets me is how many of these scams have become more prevalent during this economic crisis. It's bad enough so many people are down on their luck and out of work, maybe just getting by or hanging on by a string. If you're a job seeker or someone who is legitimately seeking work and trying to get by, you might get caught up in something like this fairly easily, and then BOOM, you're out of money and on your behind while someone else gets rich for nothing. These are the pocket Bernie Madoffs; the ones that play the shell game with a smile on their face and a song in their heart, while their accomplice picks your pocket. If we should be outraged about anything (and I'm really not outraged by what I talked about on the last post anymore), it should be by this.

Craigslist had a fine business model that has affected print publications like newspapers in major ways (remember the yellow LOOT newspapers? Look where they are now!), but I would argue that the business model is suffering because there's little to no oversight from the company that posts or publishes this crap. Self moderation in Craigslist has often bred laziness, scams and disrepute from people who go there regularly or not-any-more. Craigslist has even been on the news lately for published posts that turned out to be middling-to-deadly scams and ripoffs, or people selling drugs using coded dialogue. You would think that the company executives that oversee Craigslist and other sites and publications like it would take a more proactive approach to monitoring this kind of crap, but the thing is that they obviously see this as a turnkey operation that can fix itself with minimal oversight; anything more would jeopardize the feel-free relationship they have with customers, posters and site viewers. While Craigslist is not total anarchy, the lack of oversight has fostered a community of maligners, disreputable business practices and disrespect to potential customers who are trying to transact business or make contact with others about jobs, items or even relationships. You might be better off by just avoiding the site altogether, as others have posted expressed similar experiences and observations.

What would I recommend? Hire mediators, PT or FT, who would verify the info on the posts for veracity and contacts. They could screen illegal transactions and warn away scam artists. If nothing else, it would create jobs for people who needed one, and it would help right the ship so that Craigslist can once again be a reputable and respectable site to do business or meet people again (if it ever was before). Some (not total) oversight and responsibility on the company's side is better than total domination from one side or another.

Until then, I'll likely stick with Amazon and Ebay... >;)

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you wrote this. I was seriously considering doing this.

Anonymous said...

I saw that number and description in the Chicago Tribune career builder and was suspicious so I googled the number and this was the first link. Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

Much appreciated. Thank you for the posting.

Rico Fresh said...

This number showed up in the Houston paper promising: Entry level, Electrical, Mechanical, Civil & Chemical. 60K-100K per year. Full benefit package.

I called the number and talked to a "manager". He told me that I would be interview the next day for jobs and I will have multiple interviews a day. He said he usually lines up a job in 4-5 day the longest he has ever taken was 11 days because they had to relocate somebody.

To pay he said he will not do it over the phone. You will have to go to Bank of America and deposit the money in a corporate account. When that is done call them back with the transaction number and they will get the ball rolling.

He said the fee was for advertising, administrative and the resume service. They charge you and not the company because they work for you! lol

I ask him about what jobs he had and he said companies come to us because because want to be confidential. I kept asking if I could just see a job description for my area. He was like go to our website, I have a lot people I out there I am finding jobs for... if you need to think about it call back.

There website is http://careerhotline.org/ it is basically a template. They "work with 5000 companies" but there is no place for the a company to hire them on the website.

"If something is to good to be true it probably is." They are taking advantage of desperate people. That is why you need to start with in 2 weeks = desperation.

Lastly about the 100% guarantee I go to the great movie Tommy Boy:

Here's the way I see it, Ted. Guy puts a fancy guarantee on a box 'cause he wants you to fell all warm and toasty inside...

Because they know all they sold ya was a guaranteed piece of s---. That's all it is, isn't it? Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time. But for now, for your customer's sake, for your daughter's sake, ya might wanna think about buying a quality product from me.

CLASSIC!! LOL

Chyll Will said...

Good for you all! I'm glad this entry is getting the look it deserves; I was annoyed by all the scam posts on Craigslist in the jobs section and decided to take a stand and help out all the people who are looking for legit work. Pass it around if you can so others can know to avoid these traps.

And thanks to Rico for delving further into it and exposing the scam further, that's important information to know about this company and others like it.

Anonymous said...

MAAAANN, THANK YOU! For the insight on this stupid scam. I already figured it but my curiosity made me do more research. More people need to know about these folks!

1 HOLY GHOST PARTY.COM said...

Thank you. You said save another sould. God Bless.

john said...

just seen this ad in the baltimore sun newspaper as soon as i called and heard the $195 i knew it was a scam and wanted to google them. stay away!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I just saw 2 ads in NJ Star Ledger for very high paying warehouse jobs. It is Sunday and I called both: 800 921-4537 and 866 613 1723. I received same recorded message/same voice (no company name) at both. I looked up numbers and they both have something to do with Simplyhired.com

Anonymous said...

So just to let you all know last Thursday I paid my enrollment fee at Bank of America and spoke with the manager when I called back to give my transaction number and after confirming it with him he gave me a email address to send my resume to. The next afternoon I got a call from there recruiting department to set up interviews on Monday well long story short the third one I went on was somewhat near my home in Newark (that's New Jersey for all you who didn't already know that! lol) and meet with the manager there and I got hired on in the warehouse loading and unloading the trucks and a little driving of the forklift now and again since I'm certified. Anyway the point is they did what they said they would do for me and now I'm back to making money again thankfully so all I'm saying is if you didn't do it how in the world could you know they don't do what they say? I admit I was a little reluctant to go down and make a deposit but I also felt better knowing they were not pushing me to do it as Rico said they told me to think it over and call back when and if I was ready...now I'm glad I did...take it for what it's worth and good luck to all of in finding a job.

Chyll Will said...

That's good news for you; do us a favor and keep us informed about how this job goes.

If this is a verifiable and true experience (you're not just a poser, we hope), plus it doesn't turn out to be a "temp" situation where you're let go after an extremely short period of time for whatever reason, then I'd be willing to do a rewrite.

I encourage others who have had experiences with this company to post with their own stories; success or not. It's important to get info out there that helps one way or the other.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, my husband saw an ad here in Boise,ID and called the 800 number. Then he called and asked my to goggle the information as I'd run across alot of bogus finds on Craigs list. SO you saved us $195 as he hasn't had a steady job since December when the company went belly up.

Anonymous said...

This just sucks

Anonymous said...

The guy who got the job seems to write like the emails they send and on their website

Chyll Will said...

I want to reiterate, do not be taken by people who comment that they have had success with something in order to refute a post that warns people away from something, then you never hear from that person again.

In searching other posts, I discovered that the webmasters have caught several different comments were posted from the same IP address. This is a way for scammers to throw doubt into an expose; if they were truthful about what they were selling, they'd certainly defend their honor a little harder than a random contrary comment... or several from the same IP!

Also in the news, beware the Black Money Scam; the same scam that got two con-artists killed in the Long Island condo of a former Jets player just last week (from the date of this comment.)

If you don't know anything about this scam, read this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance_fee_fraud

Plus, beware of the con where someone bumps into you and loudly claims you made them drop something, then keep yelling and screaming and demanding payment for their loss until you relent. It's a pure scam. They try to bully, embarrass or annoy you into paying them to go away.

If anyone tries this on you, go to the nearest open public business space and use a phone to call the police and/or ask for assistance.

Chances are, they'll leave really quickly when they know the authorities on on the way. And if they still try to play the game? Let the police sort it out.

Anonymous said...

Hey the person who got the job ,what company is it.The way it is written and phrase does not sound like someone who has experience working in a warehouse enviornment.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this posting. I've just graduated from school and I've had no luck finding employment. My second child was born on March 28 09, so you can understand my desperation. I found the add in the St. Louis Post Dispatch with the #1 800-381-0028. Different number, same scam, I actually have a $195. money order on my counter top, that I've yet to sign over. So thank you for saving me some money.

Anonymous said...

hey i payed my money and i got a grest job and have been working there for 3 months i love my job and the pay is great. i live in cal and it was hard times before thank god for careerhotline inc

Anonymous said...

let me start off by saying that i took much time and consideration on this subject. i thought it was a scam then i got desperate and payed the fee they called me back and sent me on numerous interviews till i found the job that was right for me now im in the field of my choice and making fantastic wages i jst want to tell careerhotline inc thank ou and hope that they do well in all areas of there lives

Anonymous said...

wow business must be slow for them.they are posting comments here.
they are nothing but low life scammers who will get what they deserve

Anonymous said...

also funny how there was nothing posted on this site for 20 days , now all of the sudden 2 on the same day 5 minutes apart.Also the post is almost the same as there fucking sales pitch

Anonymous said...

1. Hold tight to your cash.
"No legitimate employer asks you for money. This is a foolproof tip off that something's not right," Giroir says. "There are a number of scams that work this way. You deposit your money in an offshore account and wait for your investment to make you wealthy, or you purchase a list of high-paying jobs you can do from home. Whatever the scam is, don't fall for it."

Anonymous said...

i payed my money on april 20 2009 and ittook them over two weeks to find me a job. i just got my first interwiew on monday. that it is crazy that it took over two weeks and not only 48 hrs like they said.

Anonymous said...

I ALSO PAID MY MONEY AND ITS BEEN MORE THAN TWO WEEKS , BUT FINALLY i WENT on an interview and got a job.60k a year all I got to say is dont pay these scumbags anything.Times are tough , but eventually you'll find something.By the way I found the job on my own,I hope all of them scamming bastards rot slowly.

Anonymous said...

Susan Bright you should do whats right or you been sleeping in a cold jail cell

stephanie said...

please quit knocking something you have no clue about this company is trying to help people and are getting nothing but a hard time bloggers please get a life and quit with the games. we are doing what we can we fix resumes too. try and do something good and get knocked. do something like sell cancer to people and make millions... what is the point

Chyll Will said...

Stephanie, let's be serious (as the name of this blog implies) just for a moment.

This company is NOT doing anything for noble purposes. The company is charging people to do something a person would ordinarily be able to do him or herself if they knew who was actually hiring. The real problem is that their message guarantees that they will find a job for you.

NO ONE can make a promise like this, and if they do, the FTC among other organizations and agencies, whose jobs it is to protect people from companies who make false promises, will tell you to STAY AWAY. They will tell you first and foremost it is a scam. But if one doesn't believe them, one can always ask these questions him or herself. It's free to ask questions.

Now I have a question for you: if you are truly helping people with their resumes, why do you comment on a blog defending scam artists using RUN ON SENTENCES? No punctuation: no credibility. Poor grammar: poor prospects. Sorry, but I wouldn't trust you to write a fortune for a Chinese fortune cookie.

You speak for the quality of the company you apparently work for. Need I say more?

Anonymous said...

amen

Rico Fresh said...

LOL, Got her!!

Anonymous said...

busted

Anonymous said...

I saw this same description in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, but the phome number is 614-678-5563. My boyfriend called it and it's the same people. Looks like they have a few different phone numbers out there.

Anonymous said...

I believe what you did to people is a cancer.If you all fix resumes like you spell, well then them people are defintely not getting work.You all didn't promise that when you took the money that you fixed resumes, you guarenteed them a job in 2 weeks.GOD BLESS THE BBB

Anonymous said...

I done seen the number in the local atl paper and almost fell for it.Good thing I read this blog or I be out 195, which I would have to crape to get.What kind of people would do this.You understand what I am saying........
Bloggers rock

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

let me start off by saying that i took much time and consideration on this subject. i thought it was a scam then i got desperate and payed the fee they called me back and sent me on numerous interviews till i found the job that was right for me now im in the field of my choice and making fantastic wages i jst want to tell careerhotline inc thank ou and hope that they do well in all areas of there lives
i is a liar

carol said...

Hello all,

I was one of those voices you heard. I only worked there 2 days. They not only scammed you, but us as well. They said we'd make $50.00 per "sale". I made nothing. At first it all sounded good, until people kept calling stating they never heard back from anyone after paying the fee. Needless to say, I was glad none of my callers spent their money. One of the managers actually asked my fiance to use his credit card to pay for an ad on Craigslist. Thats when I left. I want to apologize for my association with this scamming company. I'm just glad I decided not to stick around, unlike some of the others did.

Anonymous said...

good for you. you have no idea how much grief and false hope those people caused.Wonder when they have to go get a real job if they put this on their resume,oh there is probably no requirements for jail time/probation after they are subpoenaed.
John D. Reisman Esquier & Associates A.A.L.

Anonymous said...

bunko artist

carol said...

I was just looking at craigslist, noticed this ad today: Motivated, Energetic, Drug Free and available to start ASAP need only apply....only incoming calls.....great working atomsphere and great pay. To apply please email resume to susan@careerhotline.org. Sad to say it appears they are still at it. Anyone who reads this, I suggest sending her an email, or giving this info to the BBB. BTW, they never did drug, background testing. Never checked employment history or references. If you have a foreign accent, don't call, they hang up on you.

Anonymous said...

BBB Rating

Based on BBB files, this business has a BBB Rating of F.
Reasons for this rating include:

* Length of time business has been operating.
* Failure to respond to complaints filed against business.

Click here for an explanation of BBB Ratings

BBB has received complaints from consumers stating that they have not received the job they believe they were promised. Consumers who have requested refunds from the company have not received them

Anonymous said...

You people at career hotline are very bad people. My lawyer will be in touch with Bright and grey.You scamming bitches

Anonymous said...

First there is a guaranteed placement fee required of $195.
And you must be available to work a minimum of 35 hours per week. Full benefits are offered that include medical, dental, 401K and vacation/holiday pay. Typically our clients are starting their new jobs in 14 day's.

Over 90% of our job vacancies are completely unadvertised so if you are able to start work within the next two weeks call today and be ready to interview.
That's why we are searching for you!

If you are serious about getting to work, you have come to the right place!

Career Hotline

THE NAME YOU CAN TRUST

100% GUARANTEE



800-381-0028


bullshit

Anonymous said...

Hey hotline read this
The BRIGHT light is dimming to Grey and Grey doesn't matter you all suck for ripping the people off you low lifes, gutter babies

Anonymous said...

Damn this sucks, I paid as well...
But I actually paid $149...And when I called today the message now says $89 (what gives?)

I was told to send a money order in the amount of $149 with a copy of my resume to them...( which i did already)

Im hoping something good comes out of this... Some guy named Barry Williams ( which I was nervous of being a Phony name to begin with) told me by tuesday the latest I should be hearing from potential employeers! ...

Ill keep everyone informed!

Chyll Will said...

Good stuff, keep us informed. Interesting that the price has dropped considerably.

And thanks to Carol for coming forward out of that organization and exposing the inner workings of the scam. That's really important, and I would hope others in similar circumstances would have the gumption she did.

Like I said, I don't begrudge anyone who has legit success from this, but I doubt there really IS success, except for the scammers. It's hard out there, folks, but do yourself a favor and do your homework on any claims that are generalized to fit a come-one-come all crowd.

Anonymous said...

Look...How can we put these people to a stop...I have the office's physical address{which they refuse to give out} Susan Brights home address, drivers license number, cell number which is 727-831-0628 for those that want to speak to her! And lists of over 200 hundred names and phone numbers of people she has scammed going all the way back to January of this year!!! I would think with all that info they could be taken out right? And don't tell me the BBB they are a f---ing joke with no authority! Let's take them down quick!!!! Tell me who to call and I will!!!

Chyll Will said...

Easy there, tiger. The thing you don't want to do is harass or invite criminal prosecution on yourself.

My suggestion is to check the FTC website in the article above and speak to a consumer affairs agent, providing them with any information you have about this business, it's practices and how many people they deal with regularly. If you have any physical evidence of misdeeds by anyone in the company, let them tell you what to do next. You might also wnat to conact the Department of Labor about their practices, but I think since money is involved, this is a FTC situation.

I have to say I don't advocate illegal activity in retaliation; no matter how satisfying it may be, two wrongs don't make a right.

If you want to gather evidence to help the proper authorities put an end to their nonsense, that's something else. But by all mean, don't invade these peoples' personal lives with threats or harassment, because you'll only justify their nonsense by making them martyrs. That's not what this is about.

Anonymous said...

What threats and harassment are you talking about? That person has all the information on this scam and you tell them to calm down? Call someone damn it! Obviously Cheryl here wasn't scammed so it doesn't really effect her but coming from someone who they stole money from I say fuck em!!!! They need to be shut down! Oh and for the record Cheryl listing someones phone number is not illegal and I applaud them for it because now it might make it alittle harder for them to maneuver like the snakes they are!!! As for the person with the info GO YOU! These people need to be jailed for what they have done to hard working people! I called out of desperation and borrowed the $195.00 went down to Bank of America paid it and call MR. Barry Williams back and gave him my transaction number. Everything was great then and all of a sudden pretty much nothing! It's been almost a month now and no interview, no job, no nothing! So to Susan Bright and Barry Williams I say this: How long do you think you can keep this up? The rope in which you are hanging yourselves with is tightening every day! I to have a list of people I know of that they have scammed and I'm pretty sure they are in Largo Florida because they had one person send a money order through UPS to a post office box in Largo FL. So I would call the state attorney's office and the Dept. of Agriculture! Oh and Cheryl anyone who know's how to use the internet as a tool could comb through records and probably find this info out. Anyway can't wait to read about this one in the paper's Career Hotline Asshole's! The charges are racking up...wire fraud...mail fraud...grand theft etc etc.. Enjoy it while it last's!!!!HAHAHAHAHA We the people will have the last laugh! You can't hide forever!!!

Signed....
Pissed off

Anonymous said...

Hey Barry Williams are you doing greg brady also

Anonymous said...

Well it is now thursday... And surprise surprise
I NEVER heard back from them, I emailed them 2 times, and still nothing.

Was told last friday that by this past tuesday the latest I would have interviews lined up...
Not a single person contacted me.

*sighs*

Anonymous said...

what comes around goes around, they will get theres

Anonymous said...

here is another update,
Well It is now officially 1 week since I have paid for it... and 3 days since I was told I would have tons of interviews to choose from....

Well I actually did get 3 emails from potential jobs.... ( 3 though not 40-50 like I was told) ... and these 3 are NOT the line of work I was looking for ....

I Was told that only warehouse labor positions would be coming my way with ABOVE average pay with full benefits... instead I got 3 mails from life insurance and marketing companies.... with only based on commission sales... zero salary ...

I need to get back in touch with them... cause ... $149 sucks for this... I could have simply got these 3 marketing jobs on my own......

lets see what happens... I will continue to keep all in touch with this....

Anonymous said...

you are too late man . thats what they do ,you will never get in touch with them again.Ariel,Tanisha and the rest of you, when you jackoffs on on your death beds remember this scam you all pulled you scumbags.Also you ms. bright and barry I FUCK my momma williams, I hope you all die the slowest deaths possible.I know you all read this post too, you low life motherless son of a bitches. Rot in hell asswholes and have a good laugh cause the last one is going to be mine............... Iam in the area where you all operate and now what you all look like, its my time to stike

Anonymous said...

Theis number, 727-831-0628 is used for another ad on Craig's List (Tampa Bay) on July 4th.

http://tampa.craigslist.org/pnl/csr/1253392244.html

Incoming Calls Only!!!! (Pinellas)
Great opportunity and Pay. Fun place to work! $100-$200 per day Cash paid daily comm. Call Today! 727-831-0628

Thanks to the prior poster's for their comments!!!!

Anonymous said...

Phony job scam shut down

http://economy.kansascity.com/?q=node/3439

Anonymous said...

the ftc got them

Anonymous said...

what you got to say now Tahisa and Ariel

Anonymous said...

chicka bow wow

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving Susan,Tanya,Ariel,Greg
Fuckin Losers

Chyll Will said...

Looks like someone either didn't read the title/post or they really want to keep this thread going, huh? >;)

Coetsee said...

"Hi, I think your website is interesting very colorful. Good job! I feel helping job seekers finding their ream home jobs are a fulfilling quest. Good luck in your quest too.

www.onlineuniversalwork.com

davidbaer said...

If You Are Tired of Wasting All Your Money on Online Advertising for Your Websites… “Discover the Proven and Simple Methods Used By the Pros to Get 100% Free Online Advertising Traffic Your Website!” It does not matter if your looking for just a couple of hundred extra hits a month or to pump your website full of as much traffic as you possibly.


on line marketing

Coetsee said...

The Beginning The working life is already tough enough, but the worries of being out of work was even tougher. The unsecured working environment have prompted me to search the internet for an alternative source of extra income so that I could learn how to Make Money Work for me and be Financially Independent. I listed down a number of Free Internet Business Opportunity Ideas while researching ways how people earn money online while working-from-home.......


www.onlineuniversal.com

Neeraj Verma said...

FTC v. CAREER HOTLINE, INC., No. 8:09-CV-01483 (M.D. Fla.)
Parties: Career Hotline, Inc.
Susan Bright
Assigned Attorneys: David C. Fix (BCP/MP)
Arturo DeCastro
Alleged Conduct: Deceptive acts and practices in violation of Section 5 in connection with
job placement services and fees.
Status: Complaint filed 8/11/09.
TRO with asset freeze entered 8/11/09; extended 8/13/09 and 8/21/09.
Preliminary injunction entered 9/8/09.