Identity-capture recruitment sites shut down after AIM Group report

15 Nov 2018

By June Arney

An AIM Group investigation

Two purported recruitment advertising sites that were outed last week by the AIM Group as identity-capture websites have apparently been shut down.

StartJobs.net and its affiliate, OnlineResumeBuilders.com, no longer show job listings or resume-posting tools that lead to identity capture and unwanted credit card charges. The StartJobs screen now shows “Under construction: Coming in 2019: Search jobs near you!” Visiting OnlineResumeBuilders.com takes you to a holding screen from web registrar GoDaddy that says, “Welcome to OnlineResumeBuilders.com. Learn how you can get this domain.”

StartJobs.net now displays an “Under construction” page

The apparent shutdowns came less than a week after the AIM Group published a six-page article in Classified Intelligence Report showing how the sites collected much more information than usual for recruitment sites, and how they were making unauthorized use of logos from major employers like retail warehouse giant Costco and others.

“We take the issue seriously and are investigating it further,” Walmart spokesman Casey Staheli told us, indicating the company might take legal action to stop the use of its name and logo.

One of the major employers that was listed on StartJobs told us it had served the companies with a cease-and-desist notice against the use of its name and logo, but the spokesman declined to be quoted by name or allow the company’s name to be used in this context, saying, “We generally don’t like to be quoted when other companies are involved.”

Costco officials told the AIM Group before publication, “We don’t have a relationship with these companies, and we have not authorized them to recruit for us or use our logo.” The company did not respond to follow-up questions about what steps, if any, it might take against the companies.

Spokespeople for FedEx and UPS said they were researching the issue and would get back to us, but have not. Amazon declined comment; Starbucks, Frito-Lay and Coca-Cola did not respond to our inquiries. All of those companies were included in listings on StartJobs.OnlineResumeBuilders.c as of Nov. 15

The Better Business Bureau gave both StartJobs and OnlineResumeBuilders.com “F” ratings because neither has responded to requests for information following complaints.

Both companies listed their addresses as a mailbox at The UPS store mail-drop at 199 Flagler Street in downtown Miami. But is unclear where exactly the companies are based. The domain names for both companies are registered privately through GoDaddy, meaning their ownership information is concealed. The names and addresses of the domain owners are blocked from public scrutiny.

“I will ask the head of our economic crimes and our cyber-crimes divisions to take a look,” Ed Griffith, spokesperson for the State Attorney’s office in Miami, told the AIM Group. “All potential criminal investigations are undertaken by the police department with the appropriate legal jurisdiction. Upon the completion of their investigation, they would bring their case to us.”

StartJobs apparently obtained some of its listings from two legitimate “backfill” companies, Talroo, formerly known as Jobs2Careers, and JobAlign. Neither company responded to our inquiries about their use by StartJobs. Backfill companies aggregate job postings legitimately from various sources around the web and then redistribute the listings, again legitimately, to recruitment sites and other job companies.  Several Jobs2Careers display ads popped up on the site during the course of the AIM Group investigation of StartJobs.

Calling itself “the largest jobs aggregator on the web,” StartJobs promised users would “get hired faster.”  But users who clicked on legitimate-sounding job listings were taken to unrelated sites and asked to provide information far beyond standard recruitment site questions – such information as home ownership, income, debt level, current mortgage and mortgage rate.

Hidden in the fine print, StartJobs disclosed that it might use that information “to advertise directly or indirectly to individuals using direct-mail marketing or telemarketing using telephones and cell phones.”

One complaint to the BBB about StartJobs noted that the company listed 60 job openings for a Costco call center in Elizabeth, N.J. The eager job seeker said he didn’t research the Costco facility. The person wrote that it turned out Costco had no facility in that location and that this was a “phishing site.”

OnlineResumeBuilders was the target of a complaint to the Florida Attorney General’s office last year, alleging it had placed unauthorized charges on a user’s account after a jobseeker used the service to create a resume.

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AIM Group

The AIM Group, formally the Advanced Interactive Media Group LLC, is the world’s leading consultancy in interactive media and classified advertising. We publish Classified Intelligence Report, a continuous advisory service known as “the bible of the classified advertising industry.”