Contractors Beware! $99 Advance Fee Job Scam

It was announced yesterday that the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is alerting contractors across the country to be on the look out for telephone solicitors attempting to convince them to sign up for an online program that offers free job leads.

Apparently, numerous contractors have reported to the BBB about a scheme in which they paid a $99 background screening fee and received no work and were often unable to contact anyone within the company.

The announcement reads:

“The BBB suggests caution when dealing with Construction Crews (constructioncrews.net), Contractor Support Management (contractorsupportonline.com), Commercial Crews (commercialcrews.com), or any of several other construction lead companies requiring upfront fees to screen prospective contractors.

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Most of the companies appear to be based in California. One St. Louis area contractor said he was solicited as recently as two weeks ago.

A cleaning and debris removal contractor from St. Louis said he signed up for a similar program about a year ago through Contractor Support Management. After paying the $99 fee, he received no leads and was never able to reach a company representative.

Contractor Support Manaement, of North Hollywood, Calif., has an “F” grade with the BBB, the lowest grade possible. It has received more than 100 complaints, the vast majority from contractors who said they received nothing for their money.

A St. Charles Mo., electrical contractor said a salesman from Construction Crews of San Jose, Calif., phoned him two weeks ago. He told the BBB that the salesman said the $99 screening fee would give him weekly access to contracting jobs on foreclosed bank properties. The St. Charles contractor said he decided against joining the program because “I didn’t feel real comfortable.”

Attempts to reach representatives of Construction Crews, Commercial Crews or Contractor Support Management were unsuccessful, despite calls to several phone numbers listed by the firms. The BBB could find no evidence that any of the companies were registered in California.

Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said salespeople promising to deliver leads to contractors in exchange for a $99 administrative fee may be part of a scheme to take advantage of legitimate business people struggling to earn a living. “More often than not, these are hard working men and women looking for an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. For somebody to trick them out of $100 isn’t right.”

Complaints involving Contractor Support Management have come from across Missouri, including St. Louis, Florissant, Bloomsdale, Rolla, Stockton and Kansas City. Illinois complaints are from the northern part of the state.

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The websites for Construction Crews and Commercial Crews are virtually identical, with the exception of the companies’ names. Both sites list the same address in California and the same testimonials. The BBB could not confirm that contractors offering testimonials on the websites are legitimate businesses” – Source.

If you have been scammed and would like to file a scam report, please click here.

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