Is it a SCAM if?

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

November 10, 2009


Categories: The Balancing Act

This post, by far, is my most read. I find this incredibly disheartening for a number of reasons (one is the vain hope that I write more interesting things than stumbling upon a scam). Regardless, since this is my most popular post, it clearly means lots of folks are getting hit with this awful scam. So, I am updating this post with some of the suggestions in the comment fields.

  1. Buyer beware, if it is an anonymous ad, be wary of giving out too much private information.
  2. Only give your resumes to companies you can verify, preferably with legit info in the ad. Second preference would be a company that you can search easily to get the legit information.
  3. Never, ever post your references to an on-line ad. Let’s protect their privacy too.
  4. If you get it on Craig’s List, make sure to flag it as scam.
  5. The Fountain Group of Companies, a.k.a. Mr. Edmund Wilson, are well documented scammers in Utah, and probably other states. Too bad they don’t mention that in the original ad. But, again, they are scammers.

The rest of this post details the original ad I responded to along with the response. Good luck, and don’t get scammed!

I’ve been looking for work for some time.  I’ve been out of school since June of 2008 with a graduation in August.  I’ve been looking for work since August 2007 when I was let go from the Forest Service.  I watch my son every day, so on one hand it’s no bother that I do not have a job.  But, on the other, it’s frustrating because I have school loans we want paid off.

I’ve used Craig’s List lately for my job search.  And, until yesterday, I have refused to send applications to companies that post anonymously.  Yesterday, I decided that I would apply for these jobs, but I would not include my address, only my email and linked in profile.  I did include my home number in the body text of the email for interview contact.  I hope that was a wise decision.

I applied for one job that read:

Administrative Assistant

Date: 2009-11-09, 7:19AM PST
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

Performs a variety of support functions to a Senior Executive (SVP) and his/her leadership team. Serves as an intermediary between the executive and management, customers and associates. Responsible for scheduling and preparing agenda for regular and special meetings, for securing requested information and for compiling various reports and analyses. Maintains the daily appointment calendar. Determines priorities and monitors the status of projects. Responsible for travel arrangements, meeting coordination and conferences. May act as a Meeting Recorder-summarizing action items precisely. May provide direction and/or oversee other department administrative/clerical associates Performs diversified and confidential administrative duties requiring comprehensive skill and knowledge of organization policies and procedures. Provides superior quality outcomes by taking ownership of administrative services to ensure quality work. Handles more complex administrative duties. Conducts research to assist executive with inquiries or issues. Demonstrates full competence in own area of work, including excellent organizational skills. Makes significant contribution to work team. Works without significant guidance. Performs other duties as assigned[.]

And, I received this reply this morning:

???????Dear Applicant,
We received your resume and your application for the post of an Administrative Assistant that we advertised on Craigslist on the 9th of November but we are sincerely sorry to inform you that this position is no more available.Our HR Managers have gone through your resume and due to some certain factors you have been picked as one of our possible candidate to be one of our Accounts Receivable Clerk which is the post that is available right now that is if you are interested.

We strive to ensure quality from crop to counter. To that end,Fountain Group of Companies
requires the highest standards and specifications, not just for product ingredients; every detail of production, transport,delivery, preparation and service is also exhaustively monitored. A focus on quality permeates every aspect of the business. Fountain Group of Companies standards lead the food industry, and we continue to wok with government and health officials to investigate improvements. Fountain Group of Companies also recognises the importance of a balanced diet and life-style and continues to seek quality new products which satisfy customers expectations for taste and value. We are independent and privately owned. We serve the entire United States , Your primary task for now, as an Accounts Receivable Clerk of the company is to coordinate payments from clients and help us with the payment process. You are not involved in any marketing. You would be responsible for receiving payments after we have offered our professional services to our numerous clients. After this has been done the customer has to pay for the service but in most cases we make our clients prepay for services. About 90 percent of our clients prefer to pay through Certified Checks or Money Orders drawn from the United States based on the amount involved. We have decided to open this new contract -to-hire job position for solving this problem pending the time that we will open a branch office in this area.

Your First Primary task (Collection of Payments):
1. Receive payment from our Customers or Clients.
2. Cash Payment at your Bank .
3. Deduct 10 % which will be your percentage/pay on Payment processed
4. Forward balance after deduction of percentage/pay to any of the offices you will be contacted to
send payment to, you have a lot of free time doing another job, because this job is part time, you’ll
get good income .But this job is very challenging and you should understand it. We are considering
your application because you satisfy our requirements and we are sure you will be an earnest assistant till we start running our branch office in your state.

-You do not have to go out as you will work as an independent
contractor right from your home office.
-Your job is absolutely legal.
-You can earn up to 3000-4000 dollars monthly depending on time you
will spend for this job. You do not need any capital to start.
-You can do the Work easily without leaving or affecting your present Job. The employees who make efforts and work hard have a strong possibility to become managers. Anyway our employees never leave us.But the problem we have is trust but we hope we can trust you. Get back to us with the requirements below if you are interested so that we can add your mailing address to our Regional database and forward it to our customers for them to send payments after conducting background checks.

All filled requirements should be forwarded to the company’s email address which is


Full Names_______________
Mailing Address(P.O.Box Not Accepted)_________________
Apt Number if available_____________________ ____________
City__ ___________________
Postal Code______________
Phone  Number____________________
Email Address____________________
Present Occupation (If any)_______________

Once again,all filled requirements should be forwarded to the company’s email address which is

Your response to this email is needed, so that we can reconfirm your mailing address  details we have  in our database. We will be updating you as soon as the payment is being sent to you and you will be directed as to where to have the remaining 90% of the money sent to, after the deduction of your 10% pay on any payments received and processed by you. A swift acknowledgement of the receipt of this email will be appreciated. thanks For Your total understanding and moral cooperation. Fountain Group of Companies is an equal opportunity employer!


Peter Anderson
Personnel Manager
Fountain Group of Companies

I am not kidding.  This is not a joke.  This is the first website that shows up in a Google search:  Not quite the same thing.

I attach Mr. Anderson’s name to the search, and what do I find?  A SCAM ALERT.

This is why one should exercise caution.  I still don’t really know what to do about anonymous postings.  I suppose, I could no longer leave my home number.


  1. AJ

    I am sorry to hear about your situation. I stopped submitting resumes long ago through most offers listed online due to the amount of fraudulent offers I received. I received the same response as above to the Admin Pos. Amazing that they have reviewed my resume that I did not submit. The only way I will submit my resume is through an actual email I can prove either via the company website or by calling the company. I removed my physical street address from my resume as well as my references to protect their privacy. There are an abundant amount of people looking to scam those of us who would like to earn an honest living. May I suggest you Flag the post as prohibited on Craigslist whenever you come across a scam. I do and I am certain the rest of us job searchers will appreciate your effort. Good luck with your search, I pray you find success!

    • Michelle

      Flagging! Such a “D’oh” moment! My husband is notorious for flagging inappropriate listings, you’d think I would transfer it. Yes, I will flag those listings. That one day was the chance I thought I’d put out for anonymous postings, since I’ve seen so many that have seemed like good jobs. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Andrew

    Edmund (Ed) Wilson of Fountain Group Of Companies Of Utah, Inc. is one of the largest ponzi schemes around. This master con artist set up a platform funding program in 2007 which required developers and investors to pay him $80,000 each up front. Guess what? Not one of them have been funded nor have the investors received one cent from this scumbag. Everyweek it’s a different excuse… The funds will be here Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, nextweek. He has to go Hong Kong to sign paperwork. Oh, there’s going to be a delay with the funding because of the bad weather in Hong Kong,etc.. He has financially ruined many innocent people. I would recommend anyone who has invested with this company to get all your documentation, contracts, wire transfer information, etc. and get with an attorney, the SEC, and the white collar division of the FBI. I’m sure Mr. Ed Wilson will make many new friends in the big house where he belongs. Another piece of information… He also did work alongside Ross Pacific Trade Corporation… Please beware…

  3. gw

    Mr. Edmund Edward Wilson of St. George, Utah has done this too long. We must put a stop to this.

    • Michelle

      I’m sorry you had a bad experience. I am closing comments to this post, as I have never met the man and was only responding to simple internet research. Thank you for reading.

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