BBB Alert

Nov 14, 2012 5:15 PM by Jake Merriman

BBB warns of scam targeting job-seekers in Tucson

TUCSON - According to a news release from the Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona, the Federal Trade Commission sued two Kentucky-based companies, Career Exams and O'Brien Marketing, in federal court last week. The two companies were accused of deceptive advertising and have since been banned from selling what they say are guides to jobs with the U.S. Postal Service.

Career Exams purchased newspaper and online ads that ran across the country, advertising employment with the United States Postal Service. According to the FTC, those who answered the ad were talked into buying study materials for up to $127. Once purchased, these job seekers received a book with information about the USPS' hiring process, which was titled the "Federal Employment Guide."

The BBB was notified about Career Exams when a customer called asking about an employment ad she found in a Tucson newspaper. It had been advertising "2012 postal positions," that paid $13 to $32.50 per hour. The ad also suggested that the position came with "full benefits," and that no experience was necessary.

The BBB then called the phone number on the ad and reached an operator who asked several brief qualifying questions, including age, education level, etc. The BBB asked the operator if they were speaking with the USPS or with a private company after she did not identify the company or organization she worked for. The operator told BBB that they were a private company, and that they were selling study materials to people who wished to apply for jobs with the USPS. The operator also claimed that the positions advertised in the newspaper were available in Tucson.

While the USPS website does show that they are hiring for two part-time jobs in Tucson, one of them has only "limited benefits," and the other is a "non-career" position and has no benefits.

All written exams have study materials available for free to applicants through the USPS or a local library, and all applicants must apply through the USPS website. The USPS never charges application fees or guarantees that someone will be hired.

The BBB of Southern Arizona warns job seekers to be wary of any company that claims that they can guarantee employment with a government agency or that they can guarantee success on government tests for employment. For information about the government hiring process, job seekers are urged to directly contact the government agency they are interested in applying. Study materials for various government jobs are available for free directly through the government agency or at a local library.

Further information about federal jobs can be found through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's USAJOBS at www.usajobs.gov.

To learn more about job openings with the postal service, go to www.usps.com/employment.
For further information about employment scams, consumers can contact the BBB by visiting www.tucson.bbb.org or by calling (520)888-5353.

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