my personal blog

September 21, 2006

Fun With Job Scams:

Filed under: business,work — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 6:48 am

I’ve been in an employment dry spell lately, and decided to take the plunge and post my resume at HotJobs and CarreerBuilder (via Yahoo! and MSN respectively). It wasn’t long before I got results. And naturally, they were in the form of a scam.

Dear Alfonso ,

I recently saw your resume online and feel you would be ideal for an immediate opening as a Casting Manager with our company. We are, one of the most exciting website launches in the last few years.

Alfonso , if you are looking for a real opportunity and a real long-term career with an exciting cutting edge company, you may be the person we are looking for. is a combination of a modeling and acting database and with much more. We offer Models and Actors the opportunity to gain international exposure, interface with the world’s largest entertainment industry network, and make money through online advertising.

And, best of all, TooSpoiled allows Talent to earn money instantly. TooSpoiled allows each member to earn money by displaying ads on their portfolio page.

Unlike many other sites in the entertainment industry, TooSpoiled is 100% free for Models and Actors to join.

Casting Managers work with Clients and industry professionals that are seeking Models and Actors. Your background makes you an ideal fit for the position. We offer our Casting Managers the following:

* Highly competitive salary
* Incentive plan that can add 40% – 60% or more to Base Salary
* Medical, Dental, and Vision plan
* Expense Account
* Paid Vacation
* Tuition Reimbursement
* Rapid Fast Track Advancement Program

The person we are looking for is good with people; detail oriented, very organized, and possesses excellent communication skills. A college degree or equivalent experience is required.

Alfonso , if you feel the Casting Manager position is right for you, visit the link below and fill out the online application. (If the link does not work in your e-mail, you may copy and paste the address in your browser.)

Once I receive your online application, I will contact you within one to two business days.

Bethany Reagan

Click here to be removed from any future employment offers.

Naturally, I was already expecting that this was baloney. After all, I’m not sure how making coffee at Starbucks for the past seven years, studying economics and digital media, and being an Internet geek in general qualify me as a “casting manager” for some kind of modeling website-cum-Myspace wanabe. Of course, how could one argue with a “highly competitive salary” with full medical benefits, paid vacation, tuition reimbursement and even an expense account? Yeah, definitely baloney.

Perhaps I should have stopped there, but I couldn’t resist at least a limited perusal of their website. After all, according to this e-mail, it was “one of the most exciting website launches in the last few years.” Wow, you mean as exciting as, or Flickr, Digg, or heck, even Google? I snickered to myself as I was met with quite possibly the worst logo of the web2.0 era:

It appears someone used an online Google logo generator, added a smiley face for no good reason, and finished it with a (not-trademarked) slogan. In case you’re wondering and already too disgusted to look it up yourself, the site wasn’t any better. It comes from the Myspace school of (bad) design, mixed with random stock photos and fonts–I counted a whopping fifteen fonts on the front page, and that’s when I stopped looking.

What is this Site Anyway?

I Googled “” and in the midst of countless “legitimate” hits for the dozens of “toospoiled*.com” sites the company had registered, found exactly what I was looking for: several mentions of TooSpoiled on scam forums. After sifting through reams of domain names and carbon copy e-mails coming from TooSpoiled in this thread on ScamFraudAlert, I found that TooSpoiled was something of a front for Impact Worldwide, itself an already notorious fake modeling site. It got even better. I found a mailing address for TooSpoiled, located just minutes from my home, right here in Orlando:

2295 South Hiawassee Rd (Ste. 308)
Orlando, FL 32835

In fact, it was the same address for Titan, a rather dubious-looking SEO website. After a quick map search, I found that they were in the Metro West area, just west of Downtown Orlando. Oh, I was definitely going to check this place out in person!

I also found some good dirt at this thread. Apparently, the dude behind TooSpoiled/ImpactWW is Ayman El-Difrawi, a.ka. Alec Defrawy, a.k.a. Alexander Simon, and that’s just a very limited list of his aliases. That’s where this thing gets really interesting.

Background Search

A search of “Ayman El-Difrawi” found some interesting information on this guy’s criminal background. Here is a sample:

In 1990, while working as the VP of a Maitland, FL loan company, Difrawi was arrested for illegally taping phone calls. He was arrested again in 1996 for fraudulent financial reporting after the FBI found that he’d receieved some $170,000 at a time he claimed he couldn’t afford an attorney. His rap sheet also includes such gems as conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, copyright violations, Internet fraud, and even the child abuse of his former girlfriend’s son! This is one bad dude.

Apparently, Difrawi gets his all his money from an offshore trust fund run by his mother, Rafiah Kashmiri—read: he gets an allowance from his mommy. He’s been running criminal enterprises under many names, such as eModel, Options Talent, Wilhelmina Scouting Network, Transcontinental Talent, Impact Worldwide, and of course now TooSpoiled.

Rafia Kashmiri runs a small defese contractor out of Orlando, FL called Modasco, Inc. A map search found three separate addresses for “Modesco, Inc.”, all in the Downtown Orlando area. Apparently, one or more of the various incarnations of Difrawi’s modeling scam even operated out of one of Modesco’s offices. In other words, a known criminal enterprise operated under the same address as a defense contractor for the United States. A criminal enterprise with ties to at least one Mafia thug, to boot. Why Homeland Security hasn’t seemed to notice is beyond me, but I hope they like reading blogs.

Apparently, the Wilhelmina Scouting Network was Difrawi’s most high-profile case; he and his equally corrupt buddies somehow managed to sell WSN to Orlando’s own boy-band-factory Lou Pearlman in 2002. Apparently, this guy doesn’t do background checks, and he got stung big-time for not doing so. WSN was investigated for about two years by the Florida Attorney General’s office (Charlie Crist, now running for FL governor). The fiasco was covered in more detail in this Orlando Weekly article, but essentially, Pearlman was somehow able to get through the investigation after Difrawi and his cohorts left the company, and he’s now trying to live down WSN’s bad name.

And Action!

After I felt I was done digging for the time being, I decided it was time to start being a good citizen. That meant reporting the scam to the Federal Trade Commission, the Internet Crime Complaint Center, TooSpoiled’s domain registrar GoDaddy, and the folks who let them have my e-mail address in the first place, CareerBuilder. I was hesitant to add the solicitation’s address to my spam filter, though, because I wanted to make sure I had any evidence in the future.

Next, I’m going to check out that address and see what’s going on there, and wait and see if I get a response from any of the organizations I complained to. Even if I don’t, it’s important that these people get a body of complaints if we want to do anything about these clowns at TooSpoiled.

Also, I’ll be looking in my inbox for legitimate job solicitation e-mails. I still need that job.


  1. I read your post with great interest.

    I know a great deal about this individual and his operations. Email me directly if you like.

    Comment by Ken — September 25, 2006 @ 10:39 am

  2. You wrote “Pearlman was somehow able to get through the investigation”. FYI, Canadian investigator Les Henderson ( just published the startling book “Under Investigation” about the WSN affair, revealing how Lou did it. Buying judges, State attorneys, your maybe future governor Charly Crist, you name it. Corruption galore!

    Compliments for your digging and writing skills. Mr Defrawy could use a guy like you at his office, if only you didn’t have scruples. I am curious about your visit. Did he try to hire you? LOL!

    Comment by Klaas de Vries Jr — September 26, 2006 @ 12:46 pm

  3. toospoiled has contacted me through Career Builder. What do I need to do?

    Comment by Laura — October 18, 2006 @ 8:28 am

  4. First off, don’t reply or send them any of your information!

    Second, complain at the links I mentioned, just so that you can add to the body of complaints, so that the justice system has something to look for when (inevitably) Defrawi goes to far and gets the police after him again.

    After that, make sure whatever job search you use, that you select to keep your information private. These sites don’t seem to be able to track illegitimate postings, so your private information is not safe there.

    Comment by asurroca — October 18, 2006 @ 1:45 pm

  5. hey,
    (saw your posting at

    I’ve gotten that same TooSpoiled email,and I’m noticing an increase of job scams coming directly to people’s inboxes. Whereas before, we’d click them and get roped in, now it’s becoming tougher to pick up on these things because they’re sending US emails making it look like they want us to work for them.

    Great post.

    Comment by dave — October 24, 2006 @ 8:06 am

  6. Well, naturally, nothing really came of reporting them. Once I get to Downtown Orlando, I’m going into phase two and checking out the building they’re supposedly located in.

    I’d say you should record the conference call; it would be great for a laugh–of course, without consent, you could never actually use anything said in the recording, but hey, we’re looking for a laugh, right? Seriously, ask them some interesting questions and see what their answers are. I’m sure they’ll be great.

    Comment by asurroca — October 27, 2006 @ 7:52 pm

  7. wow they contacted me – i have a conference call scheduled for tuesday for ‘casting manager’ – mabee it would make a good time to call them out – what do you think? also, what’s the status of your reporting this scam to the proper authorities?

    Comment by Rick Marshbanks — October 27, 2006 @ 3:39 pm

  8. Wow. I also have a conference call on tuesday and am starting to believe that all this is true. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this. I suggest you e-mail me.

    Comment by Jose — October 29, 2006 @ 11:46 pm

  9. I came across your post by searching toospoiled through myspace.. yours was the first to pop up. I also have a conference call scheduled for friday. I was leary about the whole thing in the first place as I have been scammed before. This time I found it very hard to find scam posts about it, well until I came across yours. You are very believable and I applaud your research, etc. Thanks.

    I am curious though what the scam really is? Is it that they email you without your permission or much more? That information I have been unable to find. If it is a scam Id like to know more. My experience with scams is usually wanting money to start, etc. I havent seen any of that so far from toospoiled. Maybe I will during the conference call.. I dunno. I also worked in the modeling business for some time and what they say they offer seems legit and though much cheaper then other agencies, it is plausable.

    You are right though, the logo is hilarious.

    So I’m basically asking.. what is the Scam?
    (sorry for rambling)


    Comment by Stephie — November 1, 2006 @ 1:40 pm

  10. Steph, perhaps you should use a real search engine instead of myspace. Some pretty good analyses out there.

    Comment by Klaas — November 2, 2006 @ 11:14 pm

  11. TooSpoiled spams job applicants with e-mails on file at job sites with scout manager positions.

    People sign up to be scout managers, and are then encouraged to get as many people signed up as talent scouts as possible.

    Talent scouts troll hang-outs looking for wannabe models, and get them to sign up for

    Wannabe models have to pay for booking if they actually get any booking requests. Apparently, there are even fake casting calls where they try and get them to pay a few hundred bucks for something or other.

    Now, if/when said model gets booked, $1 of their fee goes to the talent scout who scouted him/her, and $0.25 to the scout manager who scouted the talent scout.

    Sound like a pyramid scheme yet?

    Comment by asurroca — November 3, 2006 @ 4:37 pm

  12. Well, most of the people are asked to be a casting manager, and go find talents. Today I got an e-mail from them and they want me to be their site moderator, and the e-mail was send from a name signed as Bethany Reagan.

    Fake or real? Please let me know before I waste my time with them.

    Comment by Mike — November 6, 2006 @ 3:20 pm

  13. Hey,
    I also got an email from Bethany Reagan to be a site moderator…how does a site moderator fit into the scam??

    So I guess I want to know also…Fake or real?

    Comment by Ceci — November 15, 2006 @ 9:34 am

  14. You know, Ceci and Mike, I’m stumped on that one. However, since all their job solicitations have the same template, just with a different job title, I’m going to guess that they’ll just ask you to sit through the same “conference call” and try to get you to recruit people, despite the job title.

    Comment by asurroca — November 15, 2006 @ 4:12 pm

  15. Wow, you and must be on the same page because I just got an e-mail from them stating “That I’d be a great candidate for the “Talent Scout” position”. Mind you that I’m a college student with only two previous jobs on my resume that they happened to see on I have no experience or for mentioned skills in “scouting talent” so I decided to glance at their trashy site. Needless to say I quickly marked them off as a scam of some sort. I’m glad you did your research and shared it with the world.

    Comment by Sederis — November 20, 2006 @ 10:55 am

  16. I looked for jobs on craigslist and this one contacted me.I thought right away it had to be a scam because I have no photos or info about modeling or acting related work that would result in somebody saying I looked like a candidate for this kind of work.So far, looking for jobs on craigslist has given me nothing but scam spam.Anyway, I don’t open photos/files attachments in email or click on links in emails…so thanks for doing the digging into this scam!

    Comment by T — December 4, 2006 @ 6:24 pm

  17. I also received an e-mail from toostupid oops I ment was offered a position as a Site Moderator. The funny thing about it is that I was qualified for the position. What caught me on was after I filled out the application. These on line universities were calling me. Then I did some investigating…. I guess I was gullable…Thank you very much for taking the time to have something like this for people to look at…GREAT JOB GETTING THE WORD OUT LIKE YOU DID. It’s December, so Marry Christmas and have a great new and safe year!!!!! God Bless you Brother!!!!! From T.D a little bit wiser and causius..

    Comment by Teri Davis — December 5, 2006 @ 8:08 pm

  18. they just emailed me too….Bethany Reagan in fact…This should be interesting.

    Comment by Dave — December 5, 2006 @ 8:18 pm

  19. I just posted my resume on monster and got the one from bethany reagan. seeing as i’m only in my first semester of college and very under qualafied in the IT industry, i doubt i’d be a very good or effective site moderator.

    Comment by Josh — December 11, 2006 @ 10:44 am

  20. i got an email from them too, but they job they’re offering is in their accounting department.. this whole thing is a scam??

    Comment by Layla — December 13, 2006 @ 3:27 pm

  21. I got the offer, went on the conference call, watched the presentation, applied, got accepted and even ordered the business cards off their website. I’m looking to see if the cards will be posted to my card I will cancel the transaction. I will hate to destroy the card as well. Everything SEEMED legit until I checked the website itself as a wannabe actor/model. Then I knew something was up this thing barely worked at all. And the online college crap was unavoidable. That’s when I got a clue and looked this all up myself. I’ll see if I get thousands of dollars charged on my card tomorrow if so I will be in hell with online theft.

    Comment by Daniel — December 21, 2006 @ 10:32 pm

  22. The whole Bethany Reagan thing… involving the college, asks about outstanding student loans.

    Since half the spam reports I viewed on this mentions “getting their employees to work for free”… I’m willing to bet they’ll offer work to people to “pay off their loans” without paying them. This most likely includes at least some of the people working at these casting calls where they take money from people.

    I don’t know for sure. I got contacted by them through and after clicking their link, I got real suspicious.

    Comment by Anarchos — December 28, 2006 @ 1:20 pm

  23. This guy found my resume on Aparently my 9 years in the Marine Corps makes me the ideal casting director – who knew? Thanks for the leg work and heads up. It stunk of scam and you confirmed. I know some posters are asking what the scam is: Past performance is the best predictor of future behavior.

    Comment by Brian — January 2, 2007 @ 9:23 am

  24. layla I got the e-mail for accounting also. It all seems like a scam to me.

    Comment by Steve — January 2, 2007 @ 3:06 pm

  25. Wow…Bethany must be a busy woman! She has emailed me as well about a site moderator position. I did respond prior to digging up the dirt on these guy so we will see where this goes. I am interested on how the site moderator position fits in with the whole scam? My guess is that they will say that all moderator positions have been filled but they can offer me a talent scout position. We’ll see!

    Comment by Mike — January 3, 2007 @ 9:40 am

  26. Thank you so much for posting this, because I got an offer for the Site Moderator position, I applied and then they said they could not offer me the position at this time and offered me the talent scout position and that I must attend a conference call. I am glad I did some digging so I did not waste 45 minuted of my life on this scam…Thanks again!

    Comment by D — January 18, 2007 @ 8:32 pm

  27. Bethany is a very busy girl! I just rec’d an email invite from her to be a Customer Service Rep. Interesting that my career backround is Finance and I’d be “perfect for this position in the modeling world”!!

    Too funny…seems like a joke. Sad that the legitimate sites like Monster, Hotjobs, etc. are just funnels for these scam artists.

    good luck everyone-don’t bite!!


    p.s. the address that I found is listed as lower manhattan-a couple doors down from the salon i get my hair done at! maybe i’ll pay them a visit next time i’m down there :):)

    Comment by Sarah — January 22, 2007 @ 10:54 am

  28. I got an email for a web developer the reason to suspect a scam are obvious every time I get an email for job solicitation I check it out first. If you decide to go to the site I would suggest that you have upto date antivirus/antispyware since it may be possible that the scam can be you going to the site they install a trojan or some other type of malware and get your information.

    just keeping you on the line laters

    Comment by spyder — January 22, 2007 @ 11:31 am

  29. I received the same email, reluctant at first, I decided to give it a try. I have worked with them for over 30 days to receive a commission check for $5.00! I immediately contacted this Michael B person three times today and yesterday and I am still waiting for a response. I also asked for a direct phone number for him. I am keeping my eyes wide open now and will advise

    Comment by Kay Ladee — January 30, 2007 @ 1:17 pm

  30. I was contacted by as well for a job as a Talent Scout. I attented the confrence call and watched the slide. I was very hesitent about giving out info, but everything form the 90 minute training call seemed legit and they didnt ask for a set up fee. Once I saw the site and how poor quality it was I figured this must be a scam, because what Company would have such a cheezy site especially for a modeling agency. My red flags went up before I started recruting people to get beat for their money or even worse I get beat for mines I decided to do my home work. I appreciate all the research and if anyone knows anymore info on the Company oranyone that has worked for them and knows if they even pay their employees for work done. Thank you for this very informative post.
    S.W in CT

    Comment by Sharon — February 4, 2007 @ 4:50 pm

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