Beware American Online Jobs (AOJ Work From Home Jobs)

in #scam2 years ago (edited)

Last updated on 6/13/19.

Hook, Line and Stinker

I believe this is similar to the scam at American Consumer Panels (ACP), although it's more robust and geared toward getting unethical people to join her in creating deceptive affiliate and referral marketing campaigns and websites. Work From Home Jobs AOJ/ American Online Jobs had used CareerBuilder to put up the following job ad posted on CareerBuilder. I say "her" because the email I received from AOJ is signed by "Brenda Rosenberg", her affiliate name on one site is "Brenda Aaron" and all the videos use one woman's voice.

Something about it made my spider senses tingle! Uh oh! Sleuth hat on! 🕵

The Offer

Text version for the blind:

Work at Home Customer Service Representative
Work From Home Jobs AOJ • Los Angeles, CA Posted 2 days ago
Apply on Company Website
 Email Job  Save Job
Job Snapshot
Full-Time/Part-Time
Travel - None
Degree - None
$12.56 - $25.45/Hour
Sales - Marketing, Advertising, Employment - Recruiting - Staffing  Admin - Clerical, Customer Service, Human Resources
Job Competition: 10
Applicants: 10 - 14 Years of Experience
High School Education Level
Job Description
Work at Home Customer Service Representative job
You must apply via our hiring site: www.AOJWorkFromHomeJobs.com

You're a perfect fit if you like the idea of working from home on your own terms, possess basic customer service experience. We are seeking folks ready to get started with great work from home companies who are on-boarding individuals to do tasks such as data entry from home, customer service from home, market research, and paid research & opinion work.

Work at Home Hours
Because this is remote online work you'll be responsible for the hours you work. It doesn't get much better than that! Apply below.

Benefits of Working from home online
Work when you want, make serious cash
Avoid gas costs & any car maintenance costs
Working from home allows you to dress comfortable
Working from home equals more time doing the things you love
Spend more time with friends and family
Working from home will stretch your skill-set; you can use these new skills and apply them to any future career
Chance to make supplemental income while you're pursuing your education or employment
Job Requirements
Job Requirements
Typing 25+ words per minute
You enjoy data entry work
Computer with internet access
Must be able to working independently and get the job done.
Be motivated and able to follow directions and training to work from home
US resident unless other arrangements can be made to work from home remotely from your location
We have people from all walks of life and various backgrounds including
Customer service (work from home)
Data Entry & Typing (work from home)
Email and Chat customer service (work from home)
Product reviewers in great demand who want to work from home
Call center (work from home or on-site)
Limited number of applicants will be considered per city for work from home jobs. Let us know you're interested now by applying on our hiring board today. 

Apply below
www.AOJWorkFromHomeJobs.com

We look forward to working with you! 

Work from home customer service

Apply on Company Website
 Email Job  Save Job
Help us improve CareerBuilder by providing feedback about this job: Report this Job.


Applying...?

I went to AOJ's website and clicked "apply". It wasn't very hard to find that button!

In the next step, I answered their "pre-screening questions" (again, shades of ACP). I was supposed to click the "submit and apply" button. They obscured that it was going to LPP by using the shortened link http://tpmr.com/i/63839,🚩 which goes to LifePointsPanel (LPP) (Brenda has multiple affiliate IDs built into this link). There was no explanation as to why I'd need to sign up on a survey site to submit my application and apply for a job.🚩The fact that they requested no information about me personally was also suspicious. 🚩 At this point, it was not stated that it was mandatory to sign up on LPP, but in a later step it's stated. It certainly shouldn't be mandatory.

This page allows you to go to "step 2" without verifying that step 1 is done.🚩 The reason for this is that AOJ is getting referral money from LPP - they are not the same business, so AOJ cannot bring you back to their website once you're done on LPP.

Survey Scams

Knowing what I do about survey sites (I've tried a few and done my research), I did NOT sign up.

LifePointsPanel is a merger between "My Survey (MS)" and "Global Test Market (GTM)" - two questionable survey sites run by Lightspeed Research.


LPP has a bad rating on TrustPilot 🚩 - nothing on Glassdoor, Indeed and the BBB.org for either AOJ🚩 or LPP. 🚩 Lightspeed has a wide range of almost 150 employee reviews on Glassdoor and Indeed that added up to a little over 3 stars, with an almost even number of each rating (number of votes for each star rating) on both sites, suggesting that reviews have been padded to raise their rating🚩, but the BBB gives them a C+ and consumers gave them just over 1 star 🚩 in 8 comments that indicate that Lightspeed engages in illegal practices, and there have been 154 complaints closed in the past 3 years, which is a LOT.🚩 According to my research, Lightspeed owned MS and then acquired GTM, and then merged them into LPP. Documents on these websites support this (see links above).

Many companies in the online survey game play a shell game by screwing survey takers out of what they earned when they request their money - either by ignoring them or closing their account for fraudulent reasons, or they change their name to make themselves look better because most people don't turn over enough stones to find the slime mold. A name change/merger gives them the chance to lock people out of their earnings or erase them.

I'm not sure if it's connected to the LifePoints app (well, fairly sure), but Survey Police gives it 1 star. 🚩

I can see no reason whatsoever to have to join a survey company to apply for a job.🚩 This was the same trick employed by ACP when I personally investigated them and wrote an article exposing their scam - which resulted in them being deleted from multiple job boards, and I believe that this is the same sort of scam.

More "Applying"

The second step is to sign up at InboxDollars (ID) (there may be a referral built into this link), another crappy survey company that engages in trying to get you to spend money to get points with them.🚩 The link to this is also obscured: http://tpmr.com/i/59990. On the same page, AOJ also suggests that you sign up on various other survey sites, such as Toluna and My Survey and 6 others I'm not familiar with - but makes it clear that it's not mandatory. Please note that for ID, there is no statement that it's not required and you can bypass this page but the implication is that this is a required step.🚩

Since I previously investigated InboxDollars, I know they're a sham, so I didn't sign up there, either, and AOJ cannot enforce the requirement other than by watching for their affiliate money going into their bank account. I didn't try the other 8, either, since I know Toluna is bad and, by association, I assume that the others are, too.

On the next page, where you're supposed to "register for training," they ask for your FIRST name only - which is suspicious - and email, after which is a new page.🚩

Member Training Area - Alias NOT What You Expected

This is supposed to be the "member training area" (<= look at it for yourself without signing up!) and there is the first video and the following text:

Important Mandatory Steps! If you have not completed STEP#1 and STEP #2 then click here to go back and complete both steps before you're eligible to start making money."


Here's a list of the "training" videos" that are supposed to prepare you for the wide variety of jobs they supposedly offer.

Lesson #1: The first video is a worthless "orientation" telling you about the other videos.🚩
Lesson #2: The second tells you to do referral marketing on Facebook pages with no rules.🚩
Lesson #3: The 3rd tells you to do referral marketing on Craigslist.🚩
Lesson #4: BING video.🚩
Lesson #5: Youtube video and a link to "cheap in depth youtube training".🚩
Lesson #6: Instagram - no video, but there is a blurb and a link to an article about affiliate marketing on Instagram.🚩
Lesson #7: Pinterest instructions and link. There's a bonus link to Survey Junkie.🚩 Note that her referral name is listed as Brenda Aaron instead of Rosenberg like the email (see below): http://bmv.biz/?a=756&c=1&s1=AARONBRENDA.
Lesson #8: The video tells you to use GetResponse to automate emailing, which sends you to a referral page for it https://www.getresponse.com/referral-program/refer-a-friend.html?refuid=t9Uva&s=d.🚩
Lesson #9: Claims to show you how to make your own website, but the Video tells you to set up an affiliate website by applying for a website on her site, and claims it will take 1-2 business days before they notify you (it seems, from her statement, that the notification comes 1-2 days after the site is ready).🚩
Lesson #10: This video is about how to earn money on your affiliate site, and tells you what to do with your affiliate link, and the various pages on her site. She claims at the end that there is an email address to contact at the bottom of the page for lesson 9, but there is nothing.🚩
Bonus Lesson: Continues with more info and, strangely, she talks about "buying" the lessons that are linked to (above), and that is professionally prepared, and spouts a lot of nonsense about how great the training is. The support email address is, again, mentioned but not visible anywhere.🚩

At the bottom of each page is a link to the next "lesson". After the "bonus" lesson, you're then directed back to Lesson #2. There seems to be nowhere to go from here. 🚩 There are no other links at any point other than back to steps 1 & 2.🚩 What does any of this have to do with the jobs promised in the job posting or the homepage???🚩 Nothing at all. There is no info on how to apply or prepare for any of the jobs they'll supposedly help you get in Sales, Marketing, Advertising, Employment, Recruiting, Staffing, Admin, Clerical, Customer Service, and Human Resources.🚩

YouTube - the Unwitting Victim

I also discovered that the owner is posting these videos on YouTube under her own account "Brenda" and "American Online Jobs" and keeping them unlisted🚩, so I'm reporting her to YouTube. 😈

Here's her YouTube photo now: Brenda

How Does She Make Money?

How do these survey sites make money? They accept jobs from various clients to do research - either on specific products or generalized surveys - to collect data that will help their clients in their respective markets. The survey takers may get some money, but many are denied their money or just give up before getting anything, meaning that these survey sites can pocket all that income. Using unethical tactics, such as claiming fraudulent activity, to close an account and deny payment makes it a lot easier and, when they refuse to release documentation, it's that much harder since a lot of people do not know how and where to report scams, and some may not even realize they've been scammed. If you sign up on such sites, I strongly suggest you use a masked or special-uses email address instead of your regular one in case they spam you, and never give out your main phone number. She gets her money by affiliating with these sites, which earns her a commission each time someone signs up.

More Good News!

After "signing up," I got an email telling me that they want to share their secrets and to create a free account and start training.

Hiding in the Shadows

An additional disturbing note is that I looked up the owners of this fraudulent site on ICANN: (AOJ). They are concealing all of their ownership and contact info.🚩

You would never see this on a legitimate site.

They are listed in numerous cities on CareerBuilder. I did get an address for them from an email: 325 Marquis Ct, Nekoosa, WI 54457.



(Images from Google Maps. No street level images available.)

As an aside, they violated CareerBuilder's policy of one job title per posting 🚩 so, between these two things, I clicked on that nifty "Report this Job." :) On 3/18, I sent in a complaint to [email protected], DreamHost, the company that is hosting them, but got no response, so I left voicemail on 3/22. 😈 As the next step, I have filed a complaint on the Internet Crime Complaint Center and will do so on the FTC's complaint site if necessary.

Update: Apparently, CareerBuilder doesn't take this seriously, because AOJ is still posting on CB under the company names AOJ, AOJJ and AJ. They have removed the jobs I've flagged, but they are not proactively blocking the posters as I just flagged another (a week later).

On 4/26, 4/27 and 4/28, I received one email each from Tom Rowe and TNJMedia claiming that the HR manager had seen my resume and is interested, but the links are to the same nonsense I described above. I continued to get an email a day from them until I marked them as spam on 5/4.

6/13/19: I continued to receive one email almost every day from AOJ, which my spam folder happily consumes. ;) I received a job posting notice from CareerBuilder yet again for AOJ and sent in a complaint.


This article took me the better part of a day to research and write.

If you appreciate this article, please upvote/like, resteem/share and share it to Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn and wherever else you can!

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You went through a lot of work, so thanks for the heads up.

You're welcome - if my effort helps others to avoid getting scammed, then I'm happy! If you don't mind, tap that upvote button.

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