Jacksonville FL-July 16, 2013 BBB serving Northeast Florida and the Southeast Atlantic is warning consumers about three employment scams targeting Jacksonville area consumers this week.
The first is a pyramid scheme disguised as an employment opportunity on craigslist. The posting advertises an office management position, no prior experience required and a salary of $38,400 annually. Sound too good to be true? Well it is. After receiving numerous inquiries about the job postings BBB staff investigated. Callers allege that after a brief interview conducted in downtown Jacksonville applicants are informed they have been selected for the position. There is a catch though. The company that is posting the ads, H3 Security Inc., requires that you pay a fee of $99 cash for what they call their Jr. Manager Package, training materials you need to do your job. After paying the fee you are then instructed on how to set up an office and recruit employees, collecting $99 from each person you hire to expand the company. Thus begins the pyramid.
H3 Security Inc. registered with the state of Florida in April of this year. The company website, www.h3security.org, advertises that they sell fire safety equipment, though the only options available for selection on the website are employment opportunities. All other options are dead links. The company address listed on both the website registration and with the secretary of state is a shipping store in Pompano Beach Florida. When trying to find out more about the company BBB conducted an internal file search. National BBB records indicate that the individual listed as an agent for the business with the Florida Division of Corporations has a long history with these type of scams. BBB found 9 separate companies offering safety equipment registered to this individual who leaves town soon after the training period is over. Pyramid schemes are illegal in all 50 states. BBB is advising consumers to avoid responding to this advertisement.
The second scam is a company that claims to be located in downtown Jacksonville advertising work from home opportunities. Star, Inc. claims they want you to perform simple tasks for a salary of $30,000 annually. Consumers that have contacted the BBB allege that they have been given easy tasks to complete, such as finding luxury car rentals in the area or researching diets for individuals with special health needs. After consumers complete a few tasks they are then asked to open a bank account so Star, Inc can transfer money for the consumers to wire overseas. BBB investigation revealed that the address where the company claims to be located, 841 Prudential Drive is the location of a multi-story office tower in downtown Jacksonville. Mail would not be delivered here as no suite number is listed. A search with the city of Jacksonville tax records finds no business tax receipt for this company, a requirement to do business legally in Jacksonville. Furthermore, a search with the State of Florida finds no active corporate or fictitious name registration for Star, Inc. The website can be traced to the Netherlands. It is clear that this company is not located in Jacksonville as they claim. The company is requesting potential “employees” to provide sensitive banking information. BBB is urging consumers to use extreme caution.
Finally, the third scam claims you can get a car for free in addition to getting paid for driving it. Car wrap scams are nothing new, but www.earndrive.com claims to provide a car for you to drive for free as long as you drive a minimum of 100 miles a month. How do you take advantage of this offer? You just have to pay a $39.95 membership fee to www.earndrive.com. Then you are able to fill out an application. BBB could not find reliable information about the company’s location. The address listed on the website registration is the web hosting company located in Jacksonville. BBB was not able to obtain information on the actual company location. BBB has received a complaint that alleges after paying the membership fee, the complainant was unable to log into www.earndrive.com to obtain a car. With no way to contact the company BBB urges consumers to use caution, and as always, if it sounds too good to be true it usually is.
Whether it’s a secret shopper scheme, work-from-home scam, or a phony offer of employment, job-related scams are the worst because they can dash your hopes and steal your money or your identity. It’s easy for scammers to create email, websites and online “job applications” that look very professional.
Tips to Avoid Falling for Fake Job Scams:
Job postings with grammatical errors, misspellings and lots of exclamation marks are likely scams. Ads promoting jobs with generic titles, such as admin assistant or customer service rep, and containing the phrases "Teleworking OK," "Immediate Start" and "No Experience Needed" are popular in scam ads.
If a job looks suspicious, search for it in Google. If the result comes up in many other cities with the exact same job post, it is likely a scam.
Be very cautious of any job that asks you to share personal information or hand over money. Scammers will often use the guise of running a credit check, setting up direct deposit or paying for training.
Check out the business' website to make sure the opening is posted there. If you are still skeptical, call the business to check on the position.
About Better Business Bureau:
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Contact BBB serving Northeast Florida & the Southeast Atlantic at 800-713-6661