The job market is tight and fake-your-career services are in bloom. Buy a Job Reference, which describes itself as a “shameless service,” boasts that in the first six months of 2010, it assisted nearly 400 clients in gaining employment (but links to success stories do not work so maybe the stories are fake too.) For the low price of $59.99, payable through credit cards and PayPal, the company will supply a personalized fake employer name, phone number and address, suitable for any occupation you choose. And if you need a new apartment to go with that new job, for $29.99 the company will set you up with glowing previous landlord references.
CareerExcuse.com, a self-proclaimed “world’s largest network of job reference providers” since July 2009, is more expensive with a $65 set-up fee plus an undisclosed amount for a 30-day answering service, and a $20 monthly subscription. This basic package includes a “professional voicemail system that many banks and large companies use, calls that are returned from voicemail within 24 hours armed with positive references provided by you, and a toll-free number and e-mail addresses for your references.” If you really want to impress a prospective employer, there is a premium plan for $195+ that will upgrade the verifications to a live receptionist. But once you land that dream job, most likely you will have to wait a while before you accrue any paid time off. Guess what? For $35 you can get some bereavement days with CareerExcuse operators standing by to verify that your designated relative is deceased, and avail a real funeral home Web site and address for flower delivery. CareerExcuse apparently wants to be a one-stop shop for all your fibbing needs, as it also provides links to instant “real university degrees.”
According to several Internet sources, including ABCNews.com, Alibi HQ also is or has been in the fake reference business; however, its Web site address, www.alibihq.com, leads only to a spam-type search page. ABCNews.com said in its August 2009 article that Alibi HQ charges $199 for the first 90 days and $50 for each additional month for the fictitious declarations. Mark Stevens, a purported Alibi HQ spokesman, told ABCNews.com that the company, which also offers fake landlord references and fake doctor’s notes, has been operating for several years, and that customer interest in employment references has skyrocketed over the last year (2009) with calls from people seeking Alibi HQ’s services quadrupling.
So how do these companies get away with such slippery handicraft? Each claims that it will not do anything that defies the law, including providing references for loan purposes. CareerExcuse contends that in a segment by KENS-5 in San Antonio, the Better Business Bureau did not question the legality of its services, although it did not give the company a “ringing” endorsement. But legal experts say that such companies and the clients they serve may ultimately find themselves as defendants in lawsuits filed by duped employers.