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Scam on virgins.craigslist.com?

 
pamela
(@pamela)
Trusted Member

Answered this one today ... anyone else talked to them?

filming agency in need of background actors for new action film being shot this month in St. Thomas. 300-480 dollars per day, only looking for 60 hardworking individuals and slots are filling up fast so call Todd Hollis for information and telephone interview

Universal Direct- 217-491-6576

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Topic starter Posted : April 15, 2010 11:53 pm
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member

This doesn't look good:
http://www.callercomplaints.com/SearchResult.aspx?Phone=309-550-6757
"Phone Number Report: This guy said he (Corey, from Universal Direct) and Todd Hollis are casting extras for a film titled Spider Indian and I am accusing them of Larceny! They are common thieves and nothing but scam artists. They post on Craigslist "

He's even offering to pay way above scale:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extra_(actor)
"SAG extras are paid on union scale, with provisions for overtime, costumes, and special duties.[2] Currently, the basic rate for an 8-hour work day for a SAG extra ranges from US $130 to US $309."

Someone should call just for fun, and found out how much his "up front fee" is to get you on the set.

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Posted : April 16, 2010 1:11 am
pamela
(@pamela)
Trusted Member

$29.90 - in case you don't have a "talent" number. I spoke with Mr Hollis this am.

Pamela

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Topic starter Posted : April 16, 2010 1:28 am
lc98
 lc98
(@lc98)
Trusted Member

Wow; thanks for checking this out and posting about it, Pamela. Guess there's one born every minute or the likes of Mr. Hollis wouldn't be in business. 🙁

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Posted : April 16, 2010 11:33 am
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member

Below are two of the many scam reports I found on Universal Direct. They seem to be multi-talented ripoff artists. I put the interesting parts in bold.

From 2008: http://www.ripoffreport.com/Employers/Advanced-Marketing-T/advanced-marketing-top-flight-5ma88.htm

QUOTE
Report: Advanced Marketing, Top Flight Marketing, Universal Direct Marketing

Advanced Marketing, Top Flight Marketing, Universal Direct Marketing SCAM!! SCAM!! Universal Direct Marketing SCAM!! SCAM!! scam, dont work there do not answer ad. not true, big fat lie, Scam!!!!! Hollywood Florida

Submitted: Saturday, April 26, 2008
Posted: Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ok these guys are genius so watch out. I just pull my cousin out of their brainwashing tactics. First off these guys post numerous ads on job sites such as Careerbuilder, myspace jobs, goliath, jobing.com.

They claim to give you and only you a great "Opportunity" to make it big in the marketing industry, sports, and fortune 500 companies. This is all FALSE. They call you into an interview the very same day you apply, not even an hour afterwards. You come in that very day or the day after and amazingly there are other candidates sitting there along with you.

While you sit there, there are two secretaries calling other applicants telling them to come in for interviews for their special "Opportunity". Then you are called into a little office where you are supposedly interviewed for 5 minutes, and then asked back for a full day of a 2nd interview, you are told to dress professional.

When you get there, they take you out on a "observation" where a team leader takes you out to deal with one of there clients. In actuality half way to the place thats when they drop the news on you that you are going to be selling items. You will stand on your feet the whole day selling books of coupons and dream vacations for 50 bucks. They take you back to the office where you are offered the job, which they offer to everyone and everyone that decides to go along with their circle of lies.

My cousin is a young man who has overcame alot and i hated seeing him get back on his feet with this garbage. What is even more bizarre is that they got him to believe it so much to the point he defended what they were doing as something legit. I did my research and found websites on Ds max companies that take advantage of young people out college or high school dropouts and convicts.

Every morning these guys go to work for these dudes, they play loud music the keep them practicing ways to talk to customers, and after that they have a high spirit meeting where they continue their brainwashing. These cult like behaviors should be addressed but somehow all this is legal. They pay through commissions, no base pay like they say in there ads, which is next to nothing after the first two weeks you work for them.

I quickly go him out of there, against his own will. I dont know if they paid him or not but at least he is out of that mess. Just know that this is a huge rip off. These people are money hungry to the point the exploit others to get what they want.

Warning: IF you see these ads, run......run.......do not call do not go to the interview or second interview, waste of time, waste of money. YOUR MONEY!!!!!!!!

Nyctoflatoga
Jamaica, New York
U.S.A.
UNQUOTE

From 2002: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2002/04/spam.shtm

QUOTE
...The FTC targeted four operations using the Net to scam consumers:

An FTC complaint named Universal Direct and its principals, Linda Jean Lightfoot and Charles F. Childs. Their spam promotes "a MLM (multi-level marketing) Gifting Program that CAN'T FAIL" and promises participants $10,000 in cash gifts within a few months of joining. The FTC alleges the scheme is an illegal chain-letter in which most participants will fail to make any money. The FTC has asked the court to halt the illegal scheme and freeze the defendants' assets pending trial. The agency will seek a court order requiring the defendants to give up their ill-gotten gains...
UNQUOTE

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Posted : April 16, 2010 1:04 pm
pamela
(@pamela)
Trusted Member

Funny, just called Mr. Hollis again - funny, he hung up on me? I called back to "make sure" it was not my phone and he wouldn't answer the phone. Had my husband try from his phone and no answer. Guess he is not taking calls from the Virgin Islands today 🙂

Pamela

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Topic starter Posted : April 16, 2010 1:19 pm
StCroix
(@StCroix)
Advanced Member

I've sold stuff on Craigslist stateside and not had a problem.
However, posting a listing does attract scam artists promising to buy your stuff for an inflated price if you accept a certified check.

Cash only.
Never meet them alone.
Never let them in your house (sell your stuff from your garage or outsideyour house).

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Posted : April 16, 2010 1:29 pm
B_man
(@B_man)
Active Member

I have also responded to an ad on Carribbean Craigs List for a rental $950/ month condo at Villa Madeleine, seemed very cheap and too good to be true. The man replied with an offer to send me leasing documents and key UPS after I wire $500 to the UK. He does not live on Island as of now but has a condo he wants to rent. Does Villa M. have a property manager to deal with these transactions. He seemed like a nice guy over the phone but he always calls from a blocked number and I have not received details on the unit number or anything. I do not know if he is just new at this and scared or is pulling a fast one. Thoughts?? or has anyone else replied to his ad and what have they heard from him? Thanks

BCF

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Posted : April 16, 2010 1:51 pm
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member

B_man, there's no way that the UK rental thing you described is legit. It has at least 2 huge red flags: It's a bargain, and you're sending your money abroad. Stay far, far away from it.

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Posted : April 16, 2010 2:57 pm
Sauceress
(@Sauceress)
Advanced Member

Beware!! do not fall for it. It definitely smells like a scam. Beware sending money to any country!!! The only change is in the location of the Condo

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Posted : April 16, 2010 2:58 pm
Sauceress
(@Sauceress)
Advanced Member

LOL Bob Great minds do think a like

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Posted : April 16, 2010 2:58 pm
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

B man, tell the guy you have a friend on-island and would like them to see the unit before you commit. Villa Madeline has maintenance staff who could show you the unit if the offer is legit.

But I agree with the others, this is a VERY low rental price for these units. Beware and don't send any nmoney or give them access to your checking account.

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Posted : April 16, 2010 3:36 pm
pamela
(@pamela)
Trusted Member

Here is latest correspondence from the background actors ad - does it scream SCAM at anyone but me? I called this morning before receiving the last email and asked for a website. He gave me one. As I was beginning to say that it required a log in. He hung up on me.

Well, here it is .... what wanted to say was "don't get your panties all in a wad" 🙂

Fri, April 16, 2010 1145 AM
Re: background actor job position
From:
Shamarr Greenlee
Add to Contacts
To: Pamela Wilson
Dear Pamela,
We work too hard throughout the year to have people accuse us of not being legitimate. So you will DEFINITELY not be getting a call back or starting on the set in a month.

From: Pamela Wilson
To: Shamarr Greenlee
Sent: Thu, April 15, 2010 613 PM
Subject: Re: background actor job position

Dear Todd,

To begin, it was TODAY not yesterday that we spoke. Yes, my status should still be pending as we did not touch base with each other later this afternoon as we discussed. I see no missed calls from you. There are no further emails from you. The one I received contained no information as to the amount of money to be transferred.

I am a not a cautious person by nature however I felt the need to check out some of the details of your ad before I proceeded. A call to the film commission at the USVI Department of Tourism netted me nothing. No one knew of your company nor a film crew working in the territory next week. Admittedly Ms. Dotson, the USVI Department of Tourism Director, and Mr. Busholte, the Film Commission Director, were out of the office until Monday. I googled your company and came up with nothing other than a lead generation company.

Todd, I hope I am wrong and you are a legitimate company. Hopefully we can reach a compromise. Let's do this. Have Mr. Hale give me a call this weekend as we discussed. We can talk about the yacht rental if he would like. I would prefer to visit the site where the movie is being made beginning on Tuesday and see that you ARE a legitimate company. Then I can join the crew that will be in the Virgins next month.

As a legitimate prospective employer this should be a satisfactory conclusion to our pleasant conversation.

Sincerely,
Pamela S. Wilson
340-626-1081

From: Shamarr Greenlee
To: yachtsbypamela@yahoo.com
Sent: Thu, April 15, 2010 629 PM
Subject: background actor job position

Hey Pamela, this is Todd from universal direct. I was trying to get in contact with you but i've been unsuccesful in my attempts. I was just calling to see if you were still interested in the job position, as i told you yesterday I have your status in our computer database as "Pending". It doesnt matter if you are declining the position or accepting it but i would like to know whats going on so we can move forward. I would hate to have held the position for you, then find out 3 days later that you were no longer interested in the job, and have someone else not get the position because we kept you "Pending" in the system. Hopefully i talk to you soon.

Todd Hollis
217-491-657

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Topic starter Posted : April 16, 2010 7:26 pm
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member

Craigslist has a whole page about avoiding scams:
http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams

Excerpts follow. Does any of it sound familiar?

"You can sidestep would-be scammers by following these common-sense rules:
- DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON - follow this one simple rule and you will avoid 99% of the scam attempts on craigslist.
- NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service - anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
- FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.
- CRAIGSLIST IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer "buyer protection" or "seller certification"
- NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)
- AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL "GUARANTEE" YOUR TRANSACTION. "

"Who should I notify about fraud or scam attempts?"
[A whole list of contacts is given, like the FTC]

"Recognizing scams
Most scams involve one or more of the following:
- inquiry from someone far away, often in another country
- Western Union, Money Gram, cashier's check, money order, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee"
- inability or refusal to meet face-to-face before consumating transaction"

"Examples of Scams
1. Someone claims that craigslist will guarantee a transaction, certify a buyer/seller, OR claims that craigslist will handle or provide protection for a payment.
- These claims are fraudulent, as craigslist does not have any role in any transaction.
- Scammer will often send an official looking email that appears to come from craigslist, offering a guarantee, certifying a seller, providing payment services -- all such emails are fakes!

2. distant person offers a genuine-looking (but fake) cashier's check
- you receive an email (examples below) offering to buy your item, or rent your apartment, sight unseen.
- cashier's check is offered for your sale item, as a deposit for an apartment, or for your services.
- value of cashier's check often far exceeds your item - scammer offers to "trust" you, and asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service
- banks will often cash these fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR, including criminal prosecution in some cases!
- scam often involves a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate owing buyer money, etc)

3. Someone requests wire service payment via Western Union or MoneyGram:
- Scam "bait" items include apartments, laptops, TVs, cell phones, tickets, and other high value items
- Often claim that an MTCN or confirmation code is needed before he can withdraw your money - this is FALSE, once you've wired money, it is GONE.
- Common countries currently include: Nigeria, Romania, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, Netherlands - but could be anywhere
- Apartment listing may be local, but landlord/owner is "travelling" or "relocating" and needs you to wire money to them abroad
- Deal often seems too good to be true, price is too low, rent is below market, etc

4. distant person offers to send you a money order and then have you wire money:
- this is ALWAYS a scam, in our experience - the cashier's check is FAKE
- sometimes accompanies an offer of merchandise, sometimes not
- scammer often asks for your name, address, etc for printing on the fake check
- deal often seems too good to be true

5. distant seller suggests use of an online escrow service.
- most online escrow sites are FRAUDULENT, operated by scammers
- for more info, do a google search on "fake escrow" or "escrow fraud"

6. distant seller asks for a partial payment upfront, after which he will ship goods
- he says he trusts you with the partial payment
- he may say he has already shipped the goods
- deal often sounds too good to be true

7. foreign company offers you a job receiving payments from customers, then wiring funds
- foreign company may claim it is unable to receive payments from its customers directly
- you are typically offered a percentage of payments received
- this kind of "position" may be posted as a job, or offered to you via email "

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Posted : April 16, 2010 9:06 pm
br1k
 br1k
(@br1k)
Advanced Member

I thought all these scams would be too transparent for anyone to get hooked.

Guys - these are *scams*, no questions about it. It really should be obvious from reading an ad. Save yourself a lot of trouble please.

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Posted : April 17, 2010 12:04 am
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