The same as it ever was: a scam.
Last Saturday, the Washington Post ran an article about USAVOICE titled:Taking the Bait On a Phish Scam - Job Seekers Are Targets, Victims of Sophisticated PloyHere is an excerpt:
Since June, the Better Business Bureau serving Metro Washington has logged more than 8,000 inquiries about USA Voice and a related entity, Instant Human Resources. USA Voice lists a downtown Washington address; Instant Human Resources lists an address in Rockville. Both locations turned out to be a service that forwards mail for other businesses. Instant Human Resources' parent company, Internet Solutions, says it is based in Orlando.
The Better Business Bureau has received 20 complaints about the three companies, and all share similarities. USA Voice, Instant Human Resources and Internet Solutions advertised such positions as "gossip reporter," "IT assistant" and "quality control administrator" on employment sites such as Monster, CareerBuilder and Yahoo HotJobs, and contacted people who had posted resumes there. But after being enticed to give up personal information, job seekers never heard from the companies again and instead began getting inundated with spam.
"These firms purport to provide employment opportunities. Consumers allege that the only thing they have received is bulk unsolicited e-mail. Based on this, it would appear that the given companies are . . . a scheme to amass and sell personal contact information," said Edward J. Johnson III, chief executive of the Better Business Bureau of Washington.
Actually, according to a whois search, the organizers had registered worldvoicenews.com on Feb 7th, three days before the Post article hit the net, so it appears that they knew they were going to be faced with some seriously bad publicity over this. It's the same site, same information, same everything, they've just changed their name. How clever.
We attempted to contact Rick McIntyre, the Editor-in-chief at USAVOICE (or whatever they're calling themselves this week) but - surprise, surprise - Rick was rather uncooperative and refused to comment on any of the recent developments unless we provided our own mailing address and phone number.
The irony over this request was astounding. Here is a company who purposely disguises and forwards their real address - accused by its own employees of not communicating with them - requesting OUR address before commenting on their own controversy.
Wolves in Sheep's Clothing
In an attempt to put some positive spin on their little operation, the developers (or should I say perpetrators?) have established several websites to help convince consumers that they are really the good guys:
These are identical to the websites they created to defend themselves when they were called USAVOICE. The sites are still up as of this writing:
Each site contains relatively the same information - expounding that they are merely innocent targets of hate groups and professing their legitimacy. The developers have also spent a lot of money to make sure their sites are placed prominently above any search for their name.
But why would a legitimate news website feel the need to create not one, but three separate websites all saying the same thing, then completely change their name and identity without any notice?
Here are a few claims they make in their website, along with our comments:
· WorldVoice was launched in 2006 as an independent news site that is independent of any corporate control.
This is False. The company known as USAVOICE launched in August of last year. Due to the bad publicity they've been getting, they changed their name just this past week. However as far as we can tell, the company appears to be owned by a single person, or group of people that as far as we know have not formed a corporation of any kind.
· WorldVoice is 100% free to join as a member and to post comments to stories.
True. They don't ask for any money except to say that all employees are required to have a business phone line installed in their homes at their own expense. They also suggest that each employee have business cards printed up that show their affiliation with WorldVoice (and of course, WorldVoice has a service where you can order 1000 business cards through them for $39.95)
· WorldVoice shares advertising revenue with reporters submitting stories.
So they say. But since launching their operation last year, not one employee has seen any money from advertising revenue. Ed-in-chief McIntyre explained this the first month, stating that the company hadn't made any money off of advertising yet. Since then, there has been no explanation for the lack of payment every month for the past five months. Not even any excuses, just a total lack of communication from the Editor in Chief. Apparently, the latest hoop to jump through is that not only do readers of the articles need to click on the advertising, but according to claims made by some WorldVoice employees, those readers also need to purchase the product of whatever is being advertised as well, otherwise reporters receive nothing.
· WorldVoice has never been involved in any legal action by any local, state, or federal authority. Further WorldVoice has never been involved in any manner or capacity in any civil dispute or litigation. WorldVoice has never been sued in any court of any jurisdiction.
While legal action hasn't been taken yet, in addition to the BBB, we have been told that WorldVoice is also being investigated by the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and the FBI. We are also hearing unconfirmed reports that several former WorldVoice employees are attempting to file a class action lawsuit against the organization. It's current status is unknown.
· WorldVoice is not owned, operated or managed by any criminals or criminal enterprise or organization. WorldVoice is owned by Internet Solutions, a for-profit a corporation.
Internet Solutions is a web hosting company. Doing a whois lookup on both usavoice.org and WorldVoicenews.com does indeed return "Inernet Solutions" as the registrant, however, we contacted a customer service rep with Internet Solutions who states that they only host the website. They do not own the company as WorldVoice alleges.
· WorldVoice has never been the subject of any complaint to any Better Business Bureau.We'll give them the benefit of the doubt on this one as its POSSIBLE they weren't aware of the more than 20 complaints filed against them, or the other sites that are associated with them with the BBB.
Wait, no we wont give benefit of the doubt here: THAT'S PURE BULLSHIT. It is our opinion that they knew they had complaints against them and they figured when the time was right, they would just change their name and continue with the con.
We wonder how long it will be before they have to change their name again. Maybe this will be a monthly thing where they operate under one name for a while, wait until the public starts becoming aware of their crooked operation and they change their name again.
No matter what name these guys operate under, their operation is a total scam, preying on the weaknesses of job seekers by promising big money and good benefits, yet delivering only spam.
We have said it before and we will say it again: if something is too good to be true, it probably is.
Stay tuned to Media Morgue as we continue to uncover the truth behind these con artists.
For a list of all the articles about USAVOICE on Media Morgue, click here.
For an ongoing discussion about USAVOICE, check out the thread over at scam.com.