Friday, February 26, 2010

Interesting Scam On Craigslist

A friend passed on a couple of emails and asked if this seemed legitimate. Their child had applied for a job after seeing an employment notice on Craigslist entitled "FRONT DESK OFFICE CLERK POSITION - FULL & PART TIME AVAILABLE".

Hello (name removed),

My name is John. I am the office manager here at Home Giants, Inc. I will be handling your job application.

I've skimmed through your resume and everything looks good. I will review your resume in detail and contact you with further information in regards to your application. There were a few applications submitted before yours, so expect a reply in a day or two.

In the mean time, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.


Thank You,

John Williams
Office Manager
Home Giants, Inc.
JWilliams@homegiants.com
1-800-987-3400 ex. 78


And the second email read like this:

Hello (name removed),

I have reviewed your resume and I am very interested in hiring you for the available position. Before I can setup an in person interview, our company requires your recent credit score. Your credit score is required because the position you applied for includes handling company cash and using our company credit card (for the ordering of office supplies and other miscellaneous purchases). If your credit score is low for a legitimate reason, you will have an opportunity to explain why. Please remember to bring a printout of your score when coming in to our office for your interview.

You can find a list of sites where you can get your credit score for no charge here: http://top3review.org/finance/1-free-credit-reports.html

When you get your credit score do not email it directly to me. It will only delay your application process. Please submit your credit score here:

http://homegiants.com/submit-your-credit-score?(name and email removed)


First, they ask for their credit score. You have to pay to get your credit score. You can get a free credit report from each of the three bureaus free once each year, but that is different from a credit score. If they need to, employers typically order a credit report for the prospective employee.

The site they refer them to, top3review.org/finance/1-free-credit-report.html lists three possible sites to get a free report from. The first is the "Editors Pick Award" winner. The second once has a negative of "spammy emails and affiliate ads" and the third one is "not an actual credit bureau", but none of them are actually credit bureaus.

If you go to the first, Free Credit Report 360, you are offered free credit scores as long as you get the "Free Credit Diagnosis Trial". The trial lasts seven days and you have to pay $1 processing fee with a credit or debit card. After the seven days you are charged/debited $29.95 a month for Credit Diagnosis.

If you go to homegiants.com and click on the Contact Us link, you'll find they don't have an address. If you call their toll free number, nobody answers. Well, at least not for me. Their site is remarkably short on detail of any kind. The image on the Buy/Sell page looks like the Home Giants part was photoshopped in. The lighting on it is all wrong.

If you go to http://homegiants.com/submit-your-credit-score you'll find a form to enter a name, email address and a credit score. I entered John Smith, my "trash" email at hotmail.com and a bogus number and got an error page with this in the address box: http://homegiants.cohttp//homegiants.com/submit-your-credit-score-success

So I "fixed" the address and entered http://homegiants.com/submit-your-credit-score-success and darned if I didn't get a page that said my credit score was successfully submitted.

I did a lookup of homegiants.com and the domain name is a private registration by an outfit in Arizona called Domains by Proxy, Inc., who provide a service of registering domain names so the real owner's name can remain secret.

This looks like a scam to drive people towards getting suckered into signing up for a "free" credit service that results in their bank account or credit card getting shanked for a couple of $29.95 hits.

*** Update 1 ***

Not long after posting this I received an email from a person who replied to the same job ad.

I recently applied for a “Front Desk Clerk” position at a real estate office on Craigslist. After the second email back requesting that I find out my credit score, I immediately became suspect. I decided to Google the company, Home Giants, for any complaints, negative reports, etc. That is how I found you and your blog post. I just thought I would inform you that the two emails I received read the exact same as those sent to your friend’s child.

I have not clicked on the link in the second email yet, that according to you, will direct me to the list of credit score companies. I think the only thing I will be clicking on is the delete tab in my inbox.


So that was cool.

*** Update 2 ***

My hotmail account received this reply:

Hello John Smith,

Just to keep you updated, I received your credit score submission. I will further review your resume and contact you shortly about the available position.



Thank You,

John Williams
Office Manager
Home Giants, Inc.
JWilliams@homegiants.com
1-800-987-3400 ex. 78


I'll post more if this goes any further.

*** Update 3 ***

Received this in my hotmail account on Mar 1.

Hello John Smith,

After reviewing the qualifications of all of the applicants for the office clerk position, we have selected another candidate whose skills and experience better match our needs at this time. We would like to thank you for your interest in Home Giants, Inc. and we will keep your application on file for 90 days.


Thank You,

John Williams
Office Manager
Home Giants, Inc.
JWilliams@homegiants.com
1-800-987-3400 ex. 78


Damn! Just my luck. Someone else got the bogus job. And I didn't even send in an application that they could keep on file for 90 days.

14 comments:

Marcia said...

Well I wish I would have looked up the Company before I got all excited about getting the job offer... anyway I received all the same emails and of course signed up with one of the listed sites :( I should have known better hopefully this is as far as it goes and my credit does not get damaged. I thank you for taking the time to post this for people to read!!

Hank said...

Marcia,

If you gave your credit/debit card number to one of those sites, be very aggressive in getting that "free trial" terminated. What they do is charge you the monthly fee before the trial period is up. I've found some complaints where the fee was charged again just a couple of days later.

Michaela said...

Hey, thanks for posting this. I totally fell for this scam just this morning, but after my computer genius boyfriend looked over my shoulder and asked what I was doing, he pointed out that the whole website looked really shady. He then researched both companies (Home Giants and CreditDiagnosis.com) and found that it was indeed a scam. I called the credit company just a few minutes ago, completed their automated cancellation process, and also held on the line to speak to a representative who assured me that I would not be charged. My advice to other victims, call the credit company immediately, and make sure you speak to a LIVE PERSON to confirm that you won't be charged. It looks like this company does charge most people within the 7 day "free trial" period and even their disclaimer states that they are not obligated to refund charges, but I think if you can cancel in time, you can stop it before you get charged. I hope this helps. What a terrible scam, to exploit the confidences of people who are already unfortunate enough to be unemployed in this economy. But thankfully there are conscientious people like you who bring these things to light. Thanks again!

Cynthia said...

This has got to be a scam. I got two emails with the exact same wording. I looked up their website and it was rather vague. There is no physical address and only one phone number (no fax), so, for good reason, I became suspicious and decided to do a little more research. This is how I came across this blog. Luckily I didn't sign up for anything so my credit card won't get charged, but this is a bummer for those of us legitimately looking for a job. Frustrating!

n2aura4u said...

I just opened my e mail and have the exact letters everyone have received. I also submitted my credit report to their web page. I fell into this scam as well. Oh my goodness. I better call and cancel this credit report trial subscription. I should have known better. It looks so legit. No wonder I can't seemed to find their web site.

Daisy said...

Serious this guy needs to get caught looks like a worker form credit diagnosis..Well I'm so glad I started researching all this the address on the website is a big clue no city nor zip code..then when looking up home giants nothing really would come up and when looking for the name John Williams from home giants real estate this came up and helped me alot..I wrote back to that guy hope he feels better I canceld everything and made sure i didn't get no charges...I just wish there was a way to let ppl know..on their web site.

Anonymous said...

Aww... that sucks! I kinda thought it was too good to be true. Good thing you posted this blog! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Ugh! That sucks! I just got exciting about getting a possible job offer from them as well. Looks like back to square one...

Elizabeth said...

FYI- This same company is also going under the name "Freedom Real Estate". I too fell victim to the scam, got the same emails, etc. I'm headed to the bank tomorrow to change all my account #'s and get their recommendation on how to proceed. I'm worried about identity theft now, although hopefully it was only a scam to get me to pay $30/month to some bogus credit company. I canceled within 10 minutes of getting my "report", but better safe than sorry.

Hank said...

Sorry to hear that, Elizabeth. I hope it works out okay.

Kati said...

does anyone have the number to canel it?? I tried calling 800-379-5036 and 877-820-7107 and neither of them go to a live person :( I have canceled my credit care number I gaev them just incase they try to chagre me anything... but I do not know how to contact them over the phone! HELP!!

Kati said...

I found the number if anyone in the future needs it. It is 1-888-530-2890. Make sure to enter your mamber number and then make sure you talk to someone. Tell them to cancel both your savings club AND you credit diagnosis accounts. I have also canceled the credit card that I given them and changed my bank account number. Good Luck to all and I haope this jerk face gets caught soon!!

Kearston said...

I just fell for this exact same scam. But beware, the wording of the email has changed and I was asked for my credit score in the very first email. Even though I was suspicious at first, I went through with the credit report because I saw the Verisign logo and figured it was a legitimate and secure site. It didn't cross my mind that they were just trying to rack up fees on my debit card. Now when I try to go into my member account and click on cancel membership it just gives me this message every time :"Our databases are currently being updated. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please try again later". Anyone have any idea how I cancel it?! :(

Sarah said...

I didn't fall for scam, partially thanks to your site, but I got similar email just this morning after applying to job on craigslist. Says they narrowed down field to 3 candidates and I am one of them. Then says this, "As part of our company's policy, and to protect our company from liabilities and potential issues, the next step of the hiring process includes getting your credit score checked." And they give a site freescore360.com to get score. When I googled that I got your blog. The name of the guy is Brian Griffin in the email, and he refers to a Mr. Green, the office manager. And they list this as their company website, www.hoteliersupplies.com. Weird, cause contact section shows they are in China. So some details have changed. But pretty much same scam. Who can we report this to for someone to catch the bastard(s)? Lesson learned, don't apply to job posting on craigslist unless they list the company name and a legitimate email address in posting. I was so dumb to fall for one that only had a made up craiglist email contact. And google company name to see if it's legit.