Thursday, April 30, 2009

Job seeker beware!

Normally I try to refrain from grousing or posting anything negative in this blog, but today just as I was wrapping up today's job search my phone rang and on the other end was a telemarketer (of sorts), and I just have to post about it. Actually this is going to be more of a warning for other job seekers than my grousing about what happened to me because once I figured out what was going on I actually had a little fun by just saying yes and going along with the scam for a while (plus I was kind of bored :)

As I stated above I was wrapping up my job search when the phone rang. As soon as I grabbed the phone and I said "Hello" an automated message started up stating that the call was from a company called Employment Select, and that they are a screening service for an employer who I submitted a resume to. The robo-message went on to say that I was to call back and talk with one of their screeners about the position I applied for. The number that I was supposed to call back was 646-520-0695, which is the exact same number that my Caller ID listed. Now what I found interesting was that my Caller ID listed the caller as "VOXBONE / NYC2". (If anyone can provide some insight about this ID, then leave a comment)

Instantly the little red flags started coming up, but I thought what the Hell, I need a job and the call should be covered by my calling plan. I called the number and right off the bat I got another robo-message, with this one telling me that one of their screeners will be right with me, and that I will need to be in front of a computer with Internet access to facilitate answering the questions. The message went on to say that the ID of the potential employer will be kept confidential at this time. (Hmmm, more red flags went up).

So I waited another 10 seconds or so and BAM! I was once again listening to another robo-message pretty much telling me the same thing as the previous message, and then it told me to wait which I did. Eventually an "Angela" came on the line and started in with her scripted speech about how she was supposed to screen me for an "IT Assistant" position that I applied for, and she needed to verify my information. She asked for my telephone number and after she entered it in her system she then asked me to verify the information she had listed - Name, Address, and all the other rot, which was all correct. She then went on to tell me the process would take up to 45 minutes, and repeated what the robo message said about my needing to be in front of a computer with Internet access to proceed. (I don't know why, but this sent up even more red flags)

Somewhere in the middle of all this I interrupted Angela and asked her why Employment Select didn't offer a toll free number for prospective employees to call in, so as to save us poor unemployed soles some pennies. Her response was something in the line of "Well for you to get the job I need to ask you some questions", and she proceeded on with her ramble.

I interrupted her again, and asked who the employer was, and could she provide me with more details about the job. All she could tell me was the the employer was confidential at this time, and the position was for an IT Assistant. Angela then went on to ask me if I was in the job market and interested in this job, and I replied "yes". She then continued on to ask a few more questions which I now forget, and then she asked me how long I had been in the business. I gave my answer, and she replied "Excellent! You qualify for the job, and I am going to refer you to the employer" I thought "OK, this is cool" and then this is where the sales pitch started.

"Mr. Cox, could you tell me about your education? Do you have a degree?" OK, at this point the red flags were really flying because I list my education history and degrees on my resume, and shouldn't this screener have a copy of my resume? I replied that I had an AAS, and then Angela asked if I was offered a chance to work full time and go to school, with all expenses paid would I do so. Knowing that this was way too good to be true I replied "Yeah, sure" She then went to say that she had set me up with a adviser from another, so that I could discuss my educational plans, and that I needed to call them right away. She then gave me the number; 321-249-1490, and once again told me that I must call them right away, "no more then 10 minutes from now". We then said our goodbyes.

I sat at my desk wondering why didn't the call take 45 minutes like I was told (and yes, I am grateful it didn't). Maybe the second call would take that much time, but I wasn't going to find out. Instead of calling the second number I decided to enjoy the Sun and went out for lunch, and then took a walk. Later in the day I called the number just to see who it was and I got yet another robo-message thanking me for calling the Education Advising Division of Education Connection.

What I figure had happened, and let this be a warning to others, is that I applied for a position at one of the less than reputable job search sites, and my information was then passed along to Employment Select / Education Connection just so I could be suckered in to some scam. Now I suggest that if you have read this far and are interested in looking into this scam, you copy the phone numbers I listed and do an online search for them. You'll come up with several sites where people describe experiences similar to mine.

What's really sad is that the people are literally preying on the hopes and dreams of people who are desperately looking for work, and while Angela and her coworkers also need the work, I personally think they could do much better in the food service industry serving burgers and shakes than trying to sucker people in to some sort of scam. Like I suggested above, if you are interested in investigating this scam then search out the telephone numbers, and from there make your own conclusions. If you happened to have a similar experience with these companies, feel free to leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you.

By the way, this experience is inspiration for tomorrow's "Friday Fun"

Cheers ~ Jim


Anonymous said...

I actually just received a call from this number 646-520-0695 in which they said that I applied online for a position and the company name is confidential. I am planning on calling back and will keep you posted.

MIBA51 said...

Yep! That sounds a lot like what happened to me. I am looking forward to finding out what happened with you when you called back. Cheers ~ Jim

Anonymous said...

I've found myself plagued by odd emails and calls - AFTER responding to legitimate sounding job openings on Craig's List

MIBA51 said...

I have found that when dealing with employment offers listed on Craigslist that it is best to find out as much information as possible about the employer before replying.

I know that for some listings that is next to impossible to do. Try to scan the adds for any mention of the company name, or even a URL, or alternate email to send your resume to. Also check other boards for identical listings. Many times those other boards will provide more contact info.

I would also suggest to set up a separate email account for your job search. GMail, Hotmail, and Yahoo are good choices.

Good luck with your job seach ~ Jim

latinmami said...

omg---it just happen to me.. and i had a funny feeling about them as well. so after the 1st part of the screening--the so called 45 minutes.. that was 5 min--then the guy gave me that 321-249-1490 number--and i went online first, to check white pages--found a few companies--then google.. then i found a few scam articles... 1 being this one... so i called that number--and spoke with a guy--i asked for a toll free number, the guy stuttered, and said dont have one.. then i asked why, sd because they just i hu... 2 min later.. the other guy (richard)called back, (unkown) i asked why it was blocked, richard sd, dont know why. i told i was not interested, he said ok, then hu---then 2 min later--i got an uknown call again.. but this time.. i left it at that.. dont know if he wall call back--but now they have my info---be aware---SCAMMMMMMMM!

Anonymous said...

I ignored the first two calls I received from them not recognizing the number. After listening to one of the voicemails, I ran a google on the number and found this post. What I can't understand is????? I DO NOT post my phone number on the ads I answer or resume's I submit. FOR THIS EXACT reason. Unless the job is local or I can see a legit company name and website I have learned to leave my phone number off and just list email inquiries only. I have been job searching since February and have been subject to about 4 or 5 of these so-called offers; hence, number removed from my resume unless I feel comfortable leaving it on there. I just happen to have the smarts to not give my social or other info out they may want. A pre-interview background and credit check is a dead give away. Watch out for these; I actually had one in March and regret that I didn't keep that number to let others know. They had pretty much the same scenario but stated they were hired by the employer to do the background and credit check by the employer prior to an interview. Sorry again I didn't keep the info on that particular scam artist but just another warning to those that may fall into the same type scam. even though your unemployed, someone can still mess up your credit, steal identity etc. Your unemployed status does not usually show on your credit report, only your last employer. Though this number just seems to want to sell you a package to get a grant for school blah blah... watch all calls like this. Too bad they are preying on those of us who may be gullible enough to fall for their scam. Thanks for the post by the way. Was glad to see it. Hope my input helps someone else on all these type scams.