Wants to work hunting scammers
October 15, 2009 4:39 PM   Subscribe

Someone I know wants to find a job as the person who is portrays themselves as seeking housing or employment, and is either preferred or discriminated against because of their race, sex, age, etc.

I would guess a job like this; someone who portrays an apartment or job seeker, might be offered by the state, or the feds or a reputable non-profit, but I don't know. They are even interested in starting out pretending to be a customer who is victimized by mortgage fraud or auto garage scams as part of an investigation. Does anybody know which agency to approach and what credentials she might need to get her foot in the door?
posted by CollectiveMind to Law & Government (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Where is she? A family friend used to be an attorney with the local fair housing agency and they regularly hired people to do this. It's not regular work, but it's a way to pick up extra cash and do Something Good for Society.
posted by lunasol at 4:46 PM on October 15, 2009

lunasol, i'd be interested in the answer to this as well. i'm on long island.
posted by mittenbex at 4:56 PM on October 15, 2009

My friend works for Legal Aid, and they occasionally hire people to do this. Call your local legal aid office.
posted by theora55 at 5:53 PM on October 15, 2009

For housing, your friend should contact a local tenants' association or housing advocacy group and ask about being a fair housing tester. Whether the position is paid or volunteer may depend on the location or the organization that does the testing.

Not sure whether there are similar programs that test for employment discrimination.
posted by scatter gather at 6:16 PM on October 15, 2009

There are organizations called fair housing councils (e.g. "Fair Housing Council of Oregon") that do this sort of work, funded by HUD and by local governments, that do this sort of discrimination testing.
posted by paultopia at 6:40 PM on October 15, 2009

I don't know about housing, but I work for a state workforce agency, and our "secret shoppers" are almost always policy people already employed by the agency.
posted by lunalaguna at 7:11 PM on October 15, 2009

This consulting company (Bendick and Egan) does this kind of research- check their publications list for examples, such as discrimination in upscale restaurants (pdf). It's not really ongoing work for any of the "testers" and I'm not even sure whether they get paid, they don't have a specific background or training.
posted by cushie at 9:23 PM on October 15, 2009

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