Join 3,553 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Is this online job a scam?
February 10, 2006 10:16 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any experience with a company called Entertainment Media Consultants, Ltd.? I answered a craigslist ad for an online job from them and something about it is starting to bug me.

The first red flag is that they don't seem to have a website. The second is that the ad is no longer there: what does it mean when a job listing is "removed by craigslist community?" The job was to edit & evaluate magazine articles. I sent a cover letter & resume to the email address: humanresources@consultant.com. They then sent me a long & complex PITA application to fill out, and a businesslike letter explaining the job and saying basically, you have to be serious about this, signed
David Franklin
Director of Human Resources,
Entertainment Media Consultant, Ltd.
I returned the application, but it bounced because the mailbox was full. They then sent me another email address - also @consultant.com. That was about 10 days ago.

I just got another email from them telling me they wanted to hire me, but over the course of the last week I've gotten kind of wary, I'm not sure why, because none of the usual scam marks have been there. They haven't asked for any money or bank account information or really, anything except my assurances that I would take the job seriously and be able to email completed work back promptly. However, they did want my SS# on the application and in the first letter said that the job would be paid direct deposit - of course I haven't given them any bank account information and they haven't asked for any yet.

I have googled all over the place and can find nothing anywhere for Entertainment Media Consultant, EMC, David Franklin, etc. Can the mefitective squad find any information? If this is a real job I want it, if it's a scam than, obviously, I'm going to just block their emails. If it is a scam it hasn't hurt me yet and I'm impressed by the trouble they went to with the job application.
posted by mygothlaundry to Work & Money (21 answers total)
 
Have you tried calling the Better Business Bureau? I know that they aren't always a great resource, but it might be worth seeing if they have heard anything negative about them (and they might be able to tell you if they are not legitimate).
posted by ugf at 10:24 AM on February 10, 2006


Short answer: this job is probably bogus.

"Removed by Craigslist community" means that lots of other CL readers have had the same problems you've had, and they "flag it" enough that it was removed.

As for looking it up, try your Secretary of State's website, or if they give a "home state" or address on the application, go to the Secretary of State's website for that state. I believe you can look up company information in most states. Since they say "Ltd." that means they are a "limited liability company" or "LLC" in common parlance.
posted by MrZero at 10:24 AM on February 10, 2006


From here:

Entertainment Media Consultants [is] a global sport and entertainment management consulting boutique whose clients have included major sport organizations, international television networks, legal/venture capital/investment firms and major global entertainment production and distribution conglomerates. Hmm.

There are a few more mentions of them via Google, but not many.
posted by iconomy at 10:31 AM on February 10, 2006


MrZero is right, if the CL community pulled it then something stinks in Denmark - or at least in your part of the world. If they don't have a human I can speak to and an office I can visit, I won't even send them my phone number. I do know there are a significant amount of 'agencies' that post on there. They charge the companies for finding you and that's how they get paid. But this one smells bad all over the place.

If you Google'd and found nothing, that strikes me as problematic. They are either a very new company or so poorly run that they can't afford a website or staff. Either way, it seems bad on the surface what with the email exchanges.
posted by j.p. Hung at 10:35 AM on February 10, 2006


Check the CraigsList message boards to see if anybody's posted anything about it.
posted by elisabeth r at 10:35 AM on February 10, 2006


should have refreshed before I posted. iconomy found them.
posted by j.p. Hung at 10:36 AM on February 10, 2006


I take that back...there are pages and pages of mentions of them. They seem to be legit, but it's strange that they don't have a site. I would ask them why they don't. I would also ask them why the ad was pulled.
posted by iconomy at 10:38 AM on February 10, 2006


Everything I posted is based on my assumption (and we all know what that means ;) that Entertainment Media Consultants and Entertainment Media Consultants Ltd are the same company. If they aren't, disregard my comments!
posted by iconomy at 10:41 AM on February 10, 2006


I don't think they are the same iconomy. I found the first ones as well but if you try to follow those links you don't get anywhere. They're all old directory links from internship listings and stuff. And there's nothing at all if you add the Ltd.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:48 AM on February 10, 2006


Scam or fly-by-night. An email address from consultant.com? Why don't they just use hotmail, for Christ's sake? Even that would be more legit-seeming than a site that redirects to http://www.expertbee.com/consultant. Or whose WHOIS record shows that the domain is owned by Gerald Gorman, who is apparently a weirdo, e.g.:

"The goal is not to off people here. Just to whack the wicked! At the very gates of Jerusalem, just as the Antichrist hordes are about to deliver the final death blow to the resisting forces, Bam, like a bolt from the blue-we come down to the rescue! The flying calvary, on flying white war horses, invincible, on the way to take over planet earth from above. There will be an invasion from space! The blood will run there that day up to the horses bridles, in some cases, and it will take months to bury the dead. Jesus Personally takes out the damn man of sin, that wicked one, the Antichrist. And rules with His saints right here for a thousand years. Why not bring the rulers with Him? They need to spread out, and mop up any patches of resistance, or Antichrist forces that try to fight us. We are not going out to kill people from there, but to take the world over forever, and run it like it should be run."

http://forum.physorg.com/index.php?showtopic=3810&st=1110
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:54 AM on February 10, 2006


Consultant.com is owned by mail.com - click the red bar where it says See All Our Domains. Definitely heavy on the cheese.
posted by iconomy at 11:03 AM on February 10, 2006


Well, one of the internship pages has contact info: Music & Entertainment Industry Internship Guide, compiled by Entertainment Media Consultants (Beverly McCloud, editor; Entertainment Media Consultants, P.O. Box 2395, Livingston, NJ 07039; 973/535-6186).

I tried looking for the business on NJ's government site but didn't get too far. There is a "ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA CORPORATION" and "ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA GROUP, INC." though. Franklin's sig says "Ltd.", which is more of a British term really as we have LLPs, LPs, and LLCs stateside. Here are New Jersey's options.
posted by jwells at 12:24 PM on February 10, 2006


All UK "Ltd" companies have to be registered with Companies House - you can search the list of current registered companies at their website. There are no companies named "Entertainment Media Consultants Ltd" registered in the UK. The closest are "ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA PARTNERS LIMITED" and "ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA RESEARCH LIMITED".

I don't know whether other countries use the "Ltd" title.
posted by blag at 1:52 PM on February 10, 2006


It's probably not a scam to steal your money, but probably some BS where you do work and don't get paid, or paid what was promised.

If you get a weird feeling, stay away.
posted by delmoi at 2:06 PM on February 10, 2006


If you want to go further, I suggest going to a credit union or a bank and opening up a new savings account (you don't need a checking account to get direct deposit, so you don't need to pay for checks). Put $25 or so in the account to start. Give the nice folks THAT account number, NOT the account number of your regular checking account.

That way, if they do a reverse ACH on you, the most you lose is the $25.

But personally, I don't believe that a company that hires people via the Internet could possible be legitimate without a website and a domain name for email, let alone a physical address and phone number.
posted by WestCoaster at 3:49 PM on February 12, 2006


Well, it turns out that it was, in fact, a serious scam. The following is an email I received this afternoon.

Hello,

This is very, very important. The Magazine Article Evaluator job you applied for is a complete scam. This person was trying to collect your personal & banking information so he can steal money from you. There is no job, no Entertainment Media Consultants, no David Franklin, no Patricia Hernandez, no Cathy Smith.

The second you finish reading this email you need to contact your local police department. This is very, very serious!

The identity theft crime must be reported in the jurisdiction of where the crime occurred- your police department. They in turn will contact the jurisdiction of where the criminal is- Las Vegas, Nevada.

We have contacted the Las Vegas Metro Police Department, Internet Crime Division, Detective Ettinger 702-229-5598 and he said the above is how this crime must be reported. He can’t do anything until contacted by your local police department.

In addition, you can file a complaint online at www.ic3.gov.

The scammer’s real name is Darius Cartwright and he lives in Las Vegas. His real telephone number is not listed, but a known cell phone number and a known address have been given to the authorities. The Seattle phone number 206-852-7498 we had is a Sprint PCS phone which lists a Seattle P.O. box as the main contact. It’s probably a pre-paid card. The Seattle address and fax number he gave out to some of you all belong to Kinko’s.

I know you’re all thinking this sounds crazy, it is, but here’s how we know all this. My girlfriend responded to the Magazine Article Evaluator ad. We became very suspicious of the whole situation after she sent him the application but before she sent out the employment forms. She googled “Magazine Article Evaluator” and there was a Craigslist posting warning that this was a scam. All of the original employment ads had been removed by Craigslist staff. I called “David Franklin” on the 206-852-7498 number posing as an investigator, and he answered and identified himself as David Franklin but denied knowing anything about or ever having heard of Entertainment Media. He claimed he lived in Los Angeles and gave me a bogus address there. We emailed Craig of Craigslist asking for the proper authorities to report this to and he was immediately concerned but then we never heard back from him or his security person, Clint. We called the Seattle FBI office and they were less than enthusiastic about doing anything. They gave us another number to call, which referred us to an internet fraud reporting site. If we waited for these people, this guy would be long gone and we would have no idea who he is!

So we took matters in our own hands. We sent over a direct deposit form to “Mr. Franklin” attached to a spy software bug we bought on the internet. He opened the email and we were able to track his every online move this past weekend and obtain his name and all his email passwords. That’s how we are able to send this email to you through the davidyfranklin@yahoo.com account. He has personal information and bank accounts for many of you on his computer. There were more than a hundred of us who he told were hired for the Magazine Article Evaluator job. He was planning to use the bank account information and your social security numbers for not so honest purposes. This guy is BAD news – he has several internet scams in the works and uses different identities for them. He moved to Las Vegas to be a “professional” poker player and he needs money to fund his “career.”

Crazy, isn’t it? By the middle of the weekend, we had enough information and evidence to assure we had the right guy and he was up to no good, but when calls to the Las Vegas Metro Police Fraud division went unanswered on Saturday we decided we better have an organized effort for Monday to report this scammer en masse.

So that’s what we need to do, right NOW. You need to call your local police and go down and file a report RIGHT NOW. We have also changed the passwords to all these email accounts (davidyfranklin@yahoo.com, humanresource@consultant.com, & patricia.hernandez@consultant.com) so he can’t access these accounts to delete any evidence. Only the authorities will be able to access these accounts. But we need the authorities to act immediately by arresting him and confiscating his personal computer, which contains all our downloaded personal information. The authorities MUST get that computer. So that’s why you all need to call and report this fellow NOW.

Isn’t it a shame we can’t even safely try to look for work any more? Let’s nail this jerk and send out a powerful message to people like him. The internet isn’t as anonymous as you think it might be!

If you need to contact us about anything, definitely don’t reply to this message, you can reach us at badguybusted@yahoo.com

- A Friend
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:07 PM on February 13, 2006


Blimey. And people accused us of internet-vigilantism in the aaron thread...

Glad you didn't get burnt, mygoth.
posted by blag at 2:28 PM on February 13, 2006


So we took matters in our own hands. We sent over a direct deposit form to “Mr. Franklin” attached to a spy software bug we bought on the internet. He opened the email and we were able to track his every online move this past weekend and obtain his name and all his email passwords. That’s how we are able to send this email to you through the davidyfranklin@yahoo.com account.

That part, at least, is utter bullshit.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:56 PM on February 13, 2006


That part, at least, is utter bullshit.

It could be plausible. Garden variety keylogging trojans are pretty plentiful, and I know of at least one commercially packaged program that would pretty much do exactly what the letter says. It would have required Mr. Franklin to open an attachment, but if the guy was thinking he was getting a direct deposit form....

So yeah, he'd have to be fairly clueless when it comes to safeguarding his computer, but it's not like that's uncommon.
posted by Pryde at 3:53 PM on February 13, 2006


I agree with you on the last point, Pryde, but a) mygothlaundry's mysterious friend just admitted that they broke the law, and b) scammers may be wiser about that sort of thing than the average user; it comes with the territory. I would be just as cautious in my dealings with the mysterious benefactor as I would the original scammer.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:45 PM on February 13, 2006


The mysterious benefactor never rematerialized, but I agree that the whole keylogging thing (and I'm assuming that that's what it had to be) is a bit, uh, scary secret agent man overkill. Among other considerations, if they have that kind of a) money, b) time, and c) know how, why are they applying for a goofy ass job like this one?
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:55 AM on February 18, 2006


« Older I'd like to write an article a...   |  Suggest practical and creative... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.