Today we're announcing five new law enforcement actions in our "Stamp Out Job Fraud" project. This is an effort to stop scam artists who prey on consumers hoping to get postal, federal, or state government jobs. The operators of these schemes place ads in the help wanted sections of newspapers. The ads announce that the jobs require little or no education or experience, and that they pay great salaries. The ads list toll-free numbers for consumers to call. Slick telemarketers then convince the callers that they'll get these jobs - but only if they buy information packets containing job listings and entrance exam materials. These packets are worthless. The jobs advertised are rarely available and when they are, information about them is free. By the way, the ads were not only in newspapers, but on the Internet as well.
In four of the actions, federal courts have issued temporary or preliminary injunctions prohibiting false representations, imposing asset freezes, and appointing receivers to oversee the defendant corporations. Litigation in these matters is continuing. In the other action, the Commission settled the matter and filed a stipulated final federal district court order yesterday.
Our efforts to stamp out job fraud began in 1998 with 11 successful law enforcement actions brought by the Commission and the U.S. Postal Service. At that time, we launched our first consumer education campaign against these schemes. So today, we also want to tell you about an expanded education effort that includes information about federal and postal job scams, as well as work-at-home schemes and consumer credit rights. Please take a look at our "Making a Buck" website. It's on the FTC site at www.ftc.gov/makingabuck.
With us today is Mary Anne Gibbons, Vice President and General Counsel of the U.S. Postal Service. She will outline the Postal Service's continuing role in combating this problem. Also with us today is Ms. Mary Ellen Beach, Director of Workforce Planning and Recruitment, of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Her office gave us terrific help in our law enforcement efforts and she can answer your questions about how consumers can research and obtain federal employment. In addition, Mr. Hank Batty, Assistant Administrator, Employee Selection Services for the State of Oklahoma, will discuss his involvement with our law enforcement efforts and explain how consumers can find state jobs.
Finally, we will hear from Mr. Christopher Dozoryst, of Wheeling, Illinois. Mr. Dozoryst responded to one of these classified ads. He will tell us his story.
With headlines announcing layoffs just about everyday, consumers may be attracted to ads promising secure, well-paying government jobs. Yet the schemes behind these ads are disappointing hundreds of thousands of consumers, and costing them big bucks. In the nine actions the Commission has taken so far, over 1 million consumers paid more than $52 million to these schemes.
Our message for consumers is simple:
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR INFORMATION ABOUT JOBS WITH THE U.S. POSTAL SERVICE, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, OR ANY STATE GOVERNMENT. THIS INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE FOR FREE.
The other side of that message:
If you come across a classified ad that promises government employment, report it to the FTC. Call 1-877-FTC-HELP or file your complaint online at ftc.gov.
I would like to introduce to you, Ms. Mary Anne Gibbons with the U.S. Postal Service.
Now, Mr. Hank Batty, from the State of Oklahoma Office of Personnel Management.
Now, Mr. Christopher Dozoryst, from Illinois.
We will be happy to answer your questions........
*This may not be an exact transcript of Ms. Bernstein's remarks.