The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has halted a countrywide scheme that falsely promised consumers help to get federal government jobs through exclusive listings.
According to the FTC, Frontier Publishing, doing business as American Data Group, targeted and charged consumers for information pertaining to federal government jobs (jobs that the federal government provides for free) but did not give them enough information to actually be able to apply for the job. Defendants have agreed to a settlement and have been sentenced a ban on selling any employment products or services.
American Data Group would place ads in the classified section of local newspapers and employment websites saying that government jobs were available along with a toll-free number. When consumers called the number they were informed of a $69 fee they would have to pay in order to receive the information about the applications and job listings for all of the federal jobs available in their area.
The FTC alleged that the defendants falsely claimed that federal job listings are not advertised to the general public and told callers not to worry about meeting the minimum job qualification requirements, because most or all of the jobs come with paid training for new employees. Consumers who paid the fee received a spreadsheet of federal jobs in their area, and a 120-page “Federal Employment Resource Workbook” that contained only general information. In addition, most federal agencies will not hire applicants who do not meet minimum job qualifications.
The FTC also alleged that the information the defendants provided to consumers is available to the general public – for free – on the U.S. government website www.usajobs.gov. Despite claiming that consumers could apply for jobs as soon as they received the defendants’ information, the defendants did not provide enough information for consumers to determine their suitability for a job, or instructions about applying for the jobs. In addition, the defendants claimed that they would provide sample questions and answers for a required “Federal Employment Test,” when in fact a standardized employment test is not required for most federal jobs.
William Clayton, owner of Frontier Publishing (American Data Group) has been ordered to pay a $7.5 million judgement that will be suspended when the defendants have surrendered $100,000 within 10 days of the order. The full judgment will become due immediately if the defendants fail to pay the $100,000, or if they are found to have misrepresented their financial condition – Source.
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