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Author Topic: Think I just may have been scammed ..  (Read 1886 times)
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corruptrelic
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« on: April 09, 2012, 11:36:59 PM »

I'm usually pretty good about these things, but let my excitement for a job get the best of me. I'd appreciate any advice.

Here's the posted job:

http://www.jobspider.com/job/view-job-3255967.html?utm_source=SimplyHired&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=SimplyHired

I sent my resume to their email address listed on monday, got an email back tuesday saying they were doing interviews in Orlando (their "office" is in Tampa) on wednesday 2pm-6pm and to choose a time. Chose my time, got an email back saying I was reserved for that spot.
The email from them has a mailing address listed as:

4511 N Himes Ave, Suite 200, Tampa, FL, 33614

(Phone number is listed on job description)

Interview site is a hotel. They want copies of your DL, SS, Birth certificate, and 2 passport photos in order to be considered for the position. (This should have set off a red flag for me as to why they would need passport photos before even getting the job - but again the job sounded too awesome to skip out on the interview.)

I made copies of everything, got the 2 passport photos, and arrived at the hotel 20 minutes early. Guy standing outside says he's there for the interview also, but the person doing the interviews was running late he just called him and would be there shortly.

Guy doing interviews is an english guy in his 20s, not dressed in business attire just black shirts and black pants. He has a binder. I wait for the first interview to be finished then get mine.
He says he had just dropped off an inmate at the airport which is why he was running late and dressed like that.
It's a new company that just started and they need to hire 6 people.

As I worked for an extradition company in the past, I had an idea what the job was. Spent about 30-45 minutes in the interview and got a decent feeling for the "company". He said they would make their selections the next day (thursday) no later than 5PM. Said thanks, and headed back home.

Next day get an email from the company saying thanks to the candidates for the interviews but they would need an additional day to decide on the successful candidates and we would be notified no later than 7PM friday.

Friday rolls around, around 730PM get another email stating the guy "Lt. M. Keen" was out of the office all day but he has assured that everyone would know for sure by Monday 5PM.

It's after that email the red flags starting going up. Brushed them off though and said I'll wait till monday (today) maybe I'm just over thinking this.. it's about 2.5 hours past their "decision" deadline.

So say fuck it, I'm calling the number listed. Call up, goes to the cell phone of the guy I interviewed with he answers "extraditions". I ask if he can return my folder with all my copies of my identifications, he says so I'm not interested in the position, I said I was, but it just seems odd that your website isn't working, we interviewed at a hotel, and it's taking this long for a decision to be made on who was hired.. he says that's fine, all my stuff was already scanned in the system after the interview anyway.
I asked how he's getting clients without a website or any kind of advertising he goes on how it's a new company again and the decisions were "going out in the next hour" by email with acceptance offers.

I said I'll wait until then and will get back in touch with him. (It's been over an hour.)

In the mean time these are the red flags I'm seeing:

I did an individual search for him on the division of licensing - his name didn't come up. In order to do extraditions in florida, you have to have a class d and g license, and only 4 people came up with the same last name, none of them his first name. (And none with the needed G license.)
I did a search for his associate, the "recruiter" who sent out the email saying he was out of the office, he didn't come up yet either.

The domain name, fugitiveunit.org was registered in Canada possibly, but the information is protected it appears and won't give out much information.

As mentioned, how are they getting business with no valid website or advertising?

Why did we interview at a hotel in Orlando when the office is in Tampa?

Why did they need 2 passport photos to even be considered for the interview? Assuming it was for a company ID, why not wait until you are hired?

He said they did a background check on all applicants immediately after the interview.. yet, I never did an application with them (other than my resume) and I didn't sign a background authorization for them. Having worked at a law enforcement agency and several other jobs, they all required me to sign a waiver for them to conduct the background. Not with this company..


I don't want to drag this out anymore, but does it sound like a scam, or am I just over reacting? Maybe I'll get that acceptance email letter like he claimed 2 hours ago, but my gut is telling me something is wrong.

Assuming this is a job scam, what would be the best course of action to take? I am going to give it another day, then tomorrow try calling again and demand all my information back, especially the passport photos.
If he complies, but scanned all my information already as he said, isn't that just as bad?
Or if he says he'll send it back and then never does, perhaps a possible police report may be in order?

Suppose this was a good learning experience, but I'm still hoping my gut was wrong and everything turns out alright in the end.. but.. just don't think it's going to go that way.
 

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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2012, 12:02:54 AM »

In the event that this is shady, it sounds like they're going for the identity theft route.  Start with the FTC site and work your way down to State and local law enforcement.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 12:05:06 AM by Isgrimnur » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2012, 12:12:41 AM »

Total scam...and now they have work history, address, names, driver license, birth certificate, identifying info and ready to go picture ids.

Either way good luck.  I would start monitoring credit now...maybe sign up for one of the credit monitoring companies by the month that will let you know anytime a new account is opened or account info changes.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 12:27:59 AM by ericb » Logged
corruptrelic
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2012, 01:38:39 AM »

It appears that way, but why go through the trouble of answering the phone or sending out emails when they could just as easily ignore?

I sent them an email requesting my copies and passport photos back, got an email saying they had already destroyed it as everything was put on their Tampa server, but they would delete it.

I then sent another email asking about who their parent company is and what company they are operating under with the Florida division of licensing. Haven't heard back from that one yet.

Called Tampa PD with an inquiry and they checked the address listed and said it appears there is nobody there, and they can't find a record of a company called "FEU" and advised me to file a complaint with IC3.

Other than opening new credit accounts, is there anything else they can do with the information I provided them? What could they use the 2 passport photos for?

I guess I'll be filing with the IC3 website tomorrow as they conveniently destroyed my original copies.
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2012, 01:51:14 AM »

Go read Anatomy of a Scam over at Popehat. As long as they keep answering your calls and making promises, the more time they have to do their thing before you're likely to put the officials on their trail.
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2012, 02:31:39 AM »

Yep, sure sounds like identity theft.  Hopefully you caught on in time.  They can do a lot of damage in a short period of time though.  Its likely most of it wont come back on you legally but you may end up facing a lot of collection agencies on your butt in the near future. 
 Some quick advice if that happens, advise them that you were a victim of identity theft and then put them "on notice" to have no further contact regarding the matter.  Do so in writing.  They will be required legally to stop contacting you.  If they persist, document and report them to the State attorney Generals office.  There are very stiff fines for violating a no contact notice.
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corruptrelic
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2012, 12:02:00 AM »

Some good tips, didn't even think the reason they answered the call or responded to my email might be to give them more time. My last email with who they are operating under with the florida division of licensing went unanswered.

So I filed complaints with the attorney general, IC3, FTC, BBB, and sent tips to the Tampa PD, Hillsborough SO, and FDLE.

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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2012, 01:18:01 PM »

Hope this work out well for you Corrupt. 
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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2012, 03:23:56 PM »

Identity theft is a huge money making machine that is getting more sophisticated every year.  The figures for 2010, show that identity theft cost victims over $54 billion in the US.  World wide, the cost to businesses run around $221 billion.  Its a beat the clock kind of game and the longer they can drag things out before its reported, the more they can grab.  Fake employment interviews provide the thieves with everything they need to get credit in your name, including the golden egg, your SS#.  Its unfortunate but now a days you need to do your due diligence before providing a potential employer personal information.  Theres a lot of questionable employment "opportunities" out there, especially in these tough times where so many people are looking for work. 
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Mr. Fed
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« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2012, 04:49:48 PM »

Sure sounds like a scam to me.

You may want to call the credit reporting agencies and put a fraud alert on your credit report.  That will make it harder for them to use your information to get loans, credit cards, etc.

I'd also report to the FBI and Postal Inspectors online.



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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2012, 04:53:55 PM »

Also, do you mind if I send an email to [email protected] inquiring?  They might be a good subject of another "anatomy of a scam investigation" series. 
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« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2012, 05:01:02 PM »

Note that the job was advertised in several places (determined by Googling the phone number): here.



Scam hunting instincts . . . tingling.
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corruptrelic
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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2012, 10:20:42 PM »

Yes of course, knock yourself out. When they didn't respond to my last email, I sent another one today again demanding my identification papers and passport photos back (not that it really matters I guess if they scanned them into their computer) or I'd consider filing a police report for identity theft and Mr. Keen sends an email back saying his associate Pete told me already they had been "destroyed" and they have nothing on me. He also said he would be willing to meet me at the office.

If I didn't live 4 hours south of Tampa, I'd go to the office. There's still a chance this is a legit company, but don't think I'll ever know for sure. I did my part and reported my story to the appropriate departments, including the FBI. (IC3 is also a joint task force with the FBI.)

I'll be in Gainesville on April 20th, so just may stop by on the way back to see if there's anything at their office address.

Will add a fraud alert to my credit reports just in case.
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« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2012, 10:28:06 PM »

Quote from: corruptrelic on April 11, 2012, 10:20:42 PM

I'll be in Gainesville on April 20th, so just may stop by on the way back to see if there's anything at their office address.

What's their address? If it's not too far from me, I can go by and check it out.
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corruptrelic
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« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2012, 10:31:40 PM »

The information at the end of all their emails says:

Fugitive Extraditions Unit
Office: +1-(813)-333-6760
E-mail: [email protected]
Mail: 4511 N Himes Ave, Suite 200, Tampa, FL, 33614
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« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2012, 11:28:09 PM »

Yeah, this doesn't make me feel any better about your chances of them being legit.

Quote
Typical offices available are between 100-250 square feet.

That seems to be pretty small for a home office.
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« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2012, 11:33:38 PM »

Quote from: corruptrelic on April 11, 2012, 10:31:40 PM


corruptrelic, have you checked your credit reports yet to see if there is any activity?
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Mr. Fed
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« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2012, 11:50:36 PM »

Sent them an inquiring email.
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Mr. Fed
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« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2012, 12:01:08 AM »

Florida Secretary of State reflects no such entity.

Site information shows it was only set up on March 10 for one year:

Domain ID:D164962925-LROR
Domain Name:FUGITIVEUNIT.ORG
Created On:10-Mar-2012 20:29:59 UTC
Last Updated On:11-Mar-2012 21:52:13 UTC
Expiration Date:10-Mar-2013 20:29:59 UTC
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« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2012, 12:09:31 AM »

"Lt. Keen" emailed me back and invited me to call him tomorrow.

I shall, and report.
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« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2012, 12:12:51 AM »

Quote from: Mr. Fed on April 12, 2012, 12:09:31 AM

"Lt. Keen" emailed me back and invited me to call him tomorrow.

I shall, and report.

I can only hope you will refer to yourself as Grand Commandant Fed.
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« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2012, 12:56:10 AM »

Quote from: gellar on April 12, 2012, 12:12:51 AM

Quote from: Mr. Fed on April 12, 2012, 12:09:31 AM

"Lt. Keen" emailed me back and invited me to call him tomorrow.

I shall, and report.

I can only hope you will refer to yourself as Grand Commandant Fed.

Huh, I always figured him to be The Great and All Powerful Fed but Commandant does sound more official if slightly less regal. 

Don't mean to take light of a potentially tough road ahead for corruptrelic.  ID theft blows and can take years to clean up.  I spent months just trying to clean up some old checks from a closed account that someone had gotten a hold of and managed to get cashed.  I could not imagine dealing with a full blown ID theft but at least there are more resources to help out now.  Good luck and Keep us posted.
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corruptrelic
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« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2012, 01:01:51 AM »

Great, maybe this a spark of hope that the company is legit.

A coupe of questions I asked in my email that went unanswered were..

- What company do they operate under with the Florida Division of Licensing? (Since FEU isn't coming up)

- Lt. Mike Keen - does he have a valid class D and G security license which is required for the extraditions? If he does, why isn't his name coming up with the florida division of licensing. The division of licensing has a public search agency that has ALL D & G licensed individuals (even those with rejected applications) listed - for those who have worked in law enforcement you can hide your address, but your name still comes up as being licensed. His associate, Pete Andrews, also didn't come up.

- Who is their parent company, and do they have a website? When I interviewed he said the parent company was out of Kentucky.

- How are the able to conduct background checks on those interviewed without having an actual application or even written consent to conduct the background check?

- Why do they require 2 passport photos just for the interview? Shouldn't that be something needed when hired?

- With no working website and nobody having heard of them, how are they able to get business? There are several other extradition companies in Florida, but all have legitimate websites and offices, as well as order forms.  


Those are the main red flags I've seen so far. If by some chance they do turn out to be legit, there goes my chance of working for them!  icon_biggrin
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 01:03:56 AM by corruptrelic » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2012, 01:12:16 AM »


"They want copies of your DL, SS, Birth certificate, and 2 passport photos in order to be considered for the position."

Is this a normal thing to ask for in an interview for these types of positions?


That would be my biggest red flag as you just gave up the farm on your ID.
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« Reply #24 on: April 12, 2012, 01:17:09 AM »

Quote from: corruptrelic on April 12, 2012, 01:01:51 AM

Great, maybe this a spark of hope that the company is legit.

Wait, what gave you the spark of hope?  Lt. Keen saying he'd call Fed back?
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« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2012, 01:17:32 AM »

Quote from: corruptrelic on April 12, 2012, 01:01:51 AM



- Lt. Mike Keen - does he have a valid class D and G security license which is required for the extraditions? If he does, why isn't his name coming up with the florida division of licensing. The division of licensing has a public search agency that has ALL D & G licensed individuals (even those with rejected applications) listed - for those who have worked in law enforcement you can hide your address, but your name still comes up as being licensed. His associate, Pete Andrews, also didn't come up.

Is "Pete Andrews" the English guy who interviewed you?

The licensing stuff is great intel, by the way.

Don't see any relevant FBN filings.
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« Reply #26 on: April 12, 2012, 01:24:26 AM »

If this is as bad as it sounds, I sincerely hope Mr. Fed is able to help out.  It isn't only about corruptrelic, but also all the other people who've been snared by this (possible) scam.

Best of luck to both of you! thumbsup

-Autistic Angel
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« Reply #27 on: April 12, 2012, 01:26:32 AM »

I've never been a victim of anything like this before, so that's why I'm holding out a spark of hope it still may be legit. I'm not holding my breath, but just that there is a possibility.

As far as copies of your DL, Social, Birth, and 2 passport photos - those were all required for the interview. I have another interview in Jacksonville with the Duval County Sheriff's Office which require you to bring copies of your FDLE certification, birth, social, high school, and DL, and having done previous interviews in the correctional field, it seemed like a common enough request.. it's the 2 passport photos that should have been the biggest red flag to me.
But then again those interviews were at actual offices and not in hotel lobbies.

The person I interviewed with identified himself as Lt. Mike Keen. His recruiter is Pete Andrews. For all I know they may be the same person.

Legit or not, I've learned a valuable lesson through all of this and it's going to make me 110% more cautious in any future interviews.

Look forward to seeing what kind of conversation Mr. Fed has tomorrow.
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« Reply #28 on: April 12, 2012, 03:00:55 AM »

Quote from: corruptrelic on April 11, 2012, 10:31:40 PM


Oops - for some reason I thought you meant they had an office in Gainesville. Tampa is a bit out of my way.  icon_wink
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« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2012, 04:13:13 AM »

Man, this makes me nauseous just thinking about it.  I can't even imagine how corrupt must be feeling.

Good luck to you.

And I hope Generalissimo Fed gets in there and ninjas their asses.
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« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2012, 02:23:16 PM »

Oh, boy, ladies and gentlemen.

I don't have a lot of time to work on this today -- have a 9th Circuit brief to finish.

But I talked to Lt. Mike Keen.

1.  Lt. Keen explained that FEU will be a business entity in Florida, but hasn't become one yet.  It's a Fictitious Business Name operated by a Kentucky company called USDS.

2.  I asked Lt. Keen to identify the entity in which he is a Lt.  He explained it is USDS that grants him that title.

3.  Note:  Kentucky records do show a USDS LLC in Kentucky.  It was started by -- wait for it -- Mike Keen.  https://app.sos.ky.gov/ftshow/%28S%28lufrpz553xzp5o45rbccgh2u%29%29/default.aspx?path=ftsearch&id=0801420&ct=06&cs=99999

4.  Lt. Keen said the company was in the process of getting the requisite licenses, and wasn't operating in Florida yet.  (Corruptrelic, didn't he tell you, when he interviewed you, that he had just dropped off a fugitive at the airport?)

5.  Lt. Keen explained that they asked for all that information because most applicants will be "successful" and therefore will need training and licenses after they are accepted into the company.  He said that USDS would be conducting the training for now.

6.  Lt. Keen said that they would be getting licensed by the "Department of Agriculture" so that they would not have to go through normal channels.  (That's how I understood him, anyway.)

In short:  Fed's verdict is that every indication is that it is a scam.  Hopefully, though, this has thrown enough of a scare into them to stop them from using recent identity data.
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« Reply #31 on: April 12, 2012, 02:26:55 PM »

If anyone wants to crowdsource, they could search to see:

1.  If USDS is licensed for anything in Kentucky,
2.  If USDS has applied as a foreign business in Florida,
3.  If there are any complaints out there about USDS.


Also, corruptrelic, if FEU in fact has no licenses and no contracts in Florida, it would be helpful to know how that diverges from what you were told during the interview.  Did Mike Keen tell you this business was actively doing extradition work?
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« Reply #32 on: April 12, 2012, 02:58:07 PM »

One thing I don't get is that it really seems they are going after exactly the wrong type of people to steal identities from.
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« Reply #33 on: April 12, 2012, 03:17:51 PM »

Keeping my fingers crossed that this turns out well for corruptrelic.  Big kudos to Fed for doing some legwork as well.   thumbsup
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« Reply #34 on: April 12, 2012, 04:12:07 PM »

Lynch Lt. Mike Keen

A lynch should reveal good or evil, right? slywink
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« Reply #35 on: April 12, 2012, 05:42:55 PM »

Sent him a follow-up email asking him to comment on the fact that the entity that named him a Lt. was started by him in Kentucky seven months ago.  No response yet.
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« Reply #36 on: April 12, 2012, 09:16:09 PM »

Awesome job Mr. Fed! Thanks to all for the support.

While I was hoping the answers might have shed some light on legitimacy, it's actually done the opposite.

I interviewed on Wednesday, April 4th. At the interview, Lt. Keen said he had just dropped off an inmate at the airport and that's the reason he was running late and dressed the way he was. (Black t-shirt and pants.) 
He said they needed to hire 2 people immediately - to start training Thursday April 5th at their tampa office. Training consists of 2 days in the class room (Thurs & Fri) followed by 2 weeks on the road with an experienced officer. 
They then needed to hire 6 more to start on Thursday, April 19th to train the 19th & 20th, then get your 2 weeks of on the road training doing the extraditions. 
In May, 8 more would need to be hired due to the company growing.

Lt. Keen said the first week you will extradite inmates throughout Florida, take off your week, then when you come back you will extradite an inmate to another state. (Such as picking someone up in NY to face charges in FL) You alternative between Florida and out of state every other week.

I worked for a company called TransCor America before, so have an idea about extraditions. 

During the interview, I brought up if we got a "per diem" supplement as we did with TransCor, such as $30 per day cash for food, etc. Mr. Keen said they tried at that first, but employees were taking advantage of it so they stopped offering it.
I asked what kind of vehicles they use for the transports, which he said Ford vans.
I asked if he picked up at only jails or prisons also. He said they picked up inmates at jails, prisons, and dealt with men, women, and juveniles during their transports.

I did ask a good number of questions, and while I can't say if he said he was "actively" transporting inmates in Florida (other than the inmate he just dropped off at the airport) I thought that was a given, why he needed to hire 6 people. (Including 2 immediately.) They also require you to have your D & G license, which I know is a requirement when I was with TransCor. Except, they aren't listed with the division.

Finally, since they were expecting most applicants to be successful, why did they send out a total of 3 emails delaying hiring decisions? It's after the third email I got saying they were still reviewing who they would hire that I finally said this was enough to raise too many suspicious.

Besides, I never did an actual physical application. How where they able to conduct a background check on me without an application? (Let alone written consent to do so?)

A lesson well learned. Assuming I make my interview in Gainesville on April 20th, I will definitely be making a detour through Tampa on the way back to check the "office" out.
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TK-421
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« Reply #37 on: April 12, 2012, 09:34:59 PM »

Looks like he's still trying to "hire" more people.

Actually, this looks like an old listing.

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Mr. Fed
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« Reply #38 on: April 19, 2012, 02:04:59 PM »

I cannot understand why Lt. Keen never wrote me back.   crybaby
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« Reply #39 on: April 19, 2012, 06:12:11 PM »

Can't understand why he hasn't written me back either..   eek

Good find TK-421. I had emailed him asking about that ad and what happened to those people he hired since they aren't operating in Florida. Where did they go to? And since he said he was hiring 2 people immediately after that wednesday's interview (followed by the 6 today - april 19th) what are those 2 guys doing he hired since they can't operate in Florida?

Also asked how he was able to drop off an inmate at the airport before our interview if he claims he isn't operating here yet.

Lesson well learned from all of this.
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