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:
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... >;)