Alexandre Silberman
Alexandre Silberman
Alexandre Silberman is a second year student at St. Thomas University, studying digital journalism and new media, political science and communications. Alexandre is originally from Burlington, Vermont, where he has worked for VTDigger.org, a statewide, non-profit news and politics website, and the Burlington Free Press, the region's largest daily newspaper. In April 2017, he was named a finalist for a Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, for a story on allegations of a harmful work environment for high school counselors. Outside of the newsroom, you can likely find Alexandre on the ski slopes or enjoying the outdoors.
October 10, 2018

Suspicious employment clipboards linked to multi-level marketing company

A University of New Brunswick campus security vehicle. | File photo by Bradley Parker

Campus security is encouraging students to be alert after a suspicious employment opportunity form circulated campus last month.

Clipboards advertising a “management opportunity” for summer work, listing average earnings of $15,000 to $20000, were spotted in several buildings on campus. The forms ask for personal information, including names, cell phone numbers and city of residence for the summer.

But there was a suspicious catch: the company name was not listed.

Don Allen, the University of New Brunswick’s director of security and traffic, said the clipboards were determined to be linked to a national painting company after identical forms were noticed in Ontario – including at Brock University.

Allen described the organization behind the ad as a multi-level marketing painting company that directs contact information to a call centre. He declined to name the company, which does interior painting.

“It seemed kind of off and it was a bit mysterious to us why they’re taking that approach,” Allen said.

UNB student Alexis Harvey said she saw one of the clipboards come around in one of her courses, and thought it might be potentially linked to human trafficking after reading an article online. Harvey reported the form to campus security.

One of the employment opportunity forms seized by University of New Brunswick campus security, compared to a form circulating at Western University (left). The sheet asked for personal information but did not provide the name of the employer. Campus security determined that the forms are linked to a national painting company. | Photo: Alexandre Silberman

Allen said campus security received three reports of the forms at UNB Fredericton and one at UNB Saint John. Security issued an alert to students urging them to be aware of anyone asking for personal information.

The document explains that the employment opportunity is with a Canadian company with 35 years’ experience. A highlighted line asks students to leave the clipboard at the back of the class.

“All kinds of things set up some flags and made some alarm bells ring,” Allen said of the description.

Campus security noticed a tweet from Brock University about clipboards circulating on their campus, and reached out to learn more details. Brock security informed UNB about the painting company.

Brock University identified people bringing the clipboards to campus and issued a trespassing notice against them. Nobody at UNB has reported seeing someone dropping off or picking up the clipboards.

UNB security recovered one clipboard with 29 names.

Allen said the company probably wants to give their pitch in-person.

“It seems like a new technique,” he said.

In a message to students on Oct. 4, campus security warned against providing personal information to an unknown person or company. The message further said that prospective employers should go through the Student Employment Office if they are interested in recruiting students.

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