Alert: Fake Mario Kassar Hiring Scam

There’s been a film industry hiring scam going around for about two years. Evidently, the scammers are tweaking their craft as they’re being exposed.

The crux of the scam: The impersonation of a legitimate production company, but with a slightly different domain for their e-mail address.

It’s important to realize Mario Kassar is not at fault here. They’re a perfectly legit production company. They, too, are a victim.

Where The Mario Kassar Scam Exists

A reader submitted this as a potential scam after responding to a seemingly normal job posting ad on Craigslist in the Atlanta region.

About the Mario Kassar Hiring Scam

Like the original film industry hiring scam, this is too good to be true:

Hello,
After carefully reviewing your application and resume, I am pleased to inform you, we would like to offer you the role of (Part-time or Full-time Assistant) depending on which best fits you at Mario Kassar Productions.
About Me. I am David Peter the Divisional Director for Mario Kassar Productions, I am originally from Texas and i was just moved here for the new office we had set up, We are in the construction of a little office branch here in ATL where we will be needing you to work.  You will be working directly with me .
About Mario Kassar Productions
We are a small organization that is passionate about providing the physical basis for work in the realms of the performing arts, new media art, film, television, radio, and video. As a CSR initiative, a sub-division that provides training and equips teens with the skills that they need to excel within the media and creative arts sector has been created.
About The Role
The role you have been short-listed for is that of an Assistant for myself, The Divisional Director of the mentioned sub-division. Seeing as it’s presently in its incipient stages and we are short-staffed, there are several administrative and logistic related tasks that I will need you to assist with. The tasks you will be required to perform on a weekly basis are as follows,
Tasks
-Liaising with clients via telephone both here in ATL and other parts of the world
-Managing emails
-Payment of bills and mailing of parcels (Please note monetary provisions will be made in advance for the payment of all bills and sending of parcels whether through
Fed Ex, UPS or any other means)
-Parcel pick-up/drop-off
Requirements
-You will be required to work 15 hours a week
-You will be required to work on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (maximum of 5 hours or less daily)
You will be paid an hourly fee of $25 and bonuses will also be provided twice a month if you adequately fulfill the aforementioned tasks. Additionally, if your performance is exemplary, you will be offered an opportunity to take on a full-time role with us, where you will be meeting with our top directors and Movie Producers officially, the aim of this is to help you understand and build a proficient career
Upon my arrival at the end of next week, We will have a proper sit down and discuss relative development ideas directed at just how well your intellectual properties might impact our Company as we move forward.
You are required to start work immediately if convenient. Kindly respond to this email with acknowledgement, You will have 2 weeks trial which after that you will be working at 730 Peachtree Street Atlanta as soon as our modifications are completed.
Best regards,
David Peter
Mario Kassar Productions
Divisional Director
Visit Our Head Directors Page at : www.mariokassar.com

How To Tell This is a Scam

Oh man, where to start.

  • The tone and jargon and over-explaining of everything is a huge red flag.
  • Unless you’re an established pro or have a mutual connection, you will RARELY be hired over email without a face to face interview first.
  • The hours are insane. 5 hours a day, 3 days a week? Yeah, right.
  • NO ONE TALKS LIKE THIS: “You will be paid an hourly fee of $25 and bonuses will also be provided twice a month if you adequately fulfill the aforementioned tasks.”
  • No one new to the industry will make $25/hour. It’s usually a day rate of $125-$200.
  • NO ONE offers to introduce a complete newbie to the industry to “top directors and Movie Producers” through e-mail like this….
  •  “We will have a proper sit down and discuss relative development ideas directed at just how well your intellectual properties might impact our Company as we move forward.” I don’t even know where to begin with this, this is so off base and ridiculous. Again, NO ONE TALKS LIKE THIS.
  • And, lastly, the biggest tell tale sign: The email address is from a different domain than the actual production company’s domain. Anyone who is actually staff for Mario Kassar would have a @mariokassar.com email address, not a weird offshoot like @kassproductions.com. (A freelance producer will sometimes hire per project, and their email address would just be @gmail.com or @me.com or something generic.)

How You’ll Get Scammed

I think they’ll try to pay you in advance (another red flag, this never happens), and they’ll somehow tap into your bank account via fraudulent check. As you can tell, I’m still trying to figure out. Anyone with any additional insight, please get in touch or leave a comment!

Help Others: Report Scams

Are you the target of a potential industry hiring scam? Feel free to reach out so I can share it here for others to find. Join our Facebook group, The Production Meeting, for discussion and mutual support.

Author: Laryssa

Laryssa has spent 6+ years working on an assortment of film and television projects. She writes about her experiences to help (and amuse) others. If she's not working, she's either traveling, reading or writing about travel, or planning travel. Follow , Twitter, or Facebook.

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8 Comments

  1. This happened to me in Portland OR…identical Craigslist ad, other than the city. They wanted me to email my driver license and bank account info to get started “tomorrow” at $25/hr. The new hire paperwork didn’t even include W-2 or I-9 forms. After 2 weeks working at home, I was to start working from their office. They said they would direct deposit funds in my bank account to cover my tasks. Yikes!

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    • Yikes! I hadn’t heard the scam involves acquiring bank numbers for direct deposit. That’s so bold. Yeah, the person that shared this with me found it on Craigslist in Atlanta. Was this recently?

  2. Yes, mid-December the ad was posted. I have now reported it to Craigs list with the posting ID#. The first email I received was almost word for word as you relayed. Today I received the second response with fake new hire paper work, including a form for direct deposit and asking for a copy of my ID, with the offer to start work tomorrow. I was told $ to cover my tasks would be put in my account in a couple of days, and that after two weeks working from home, I would be working in their new office downtown. The email also stated that potentially it could be full-time with a possible bonus monthly.

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  3. They are now on ZipRecruiter

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  4. There is a post on Craigslist right now. It is for admin asst. for Mario kassar business director he says his name is Javier moncayo. I emailed all the info and realized thanks to this website and froze my acct. they just text claiming to direct deposit $750 to my account and to withdraw it once the bank opens. They will give further instruction afterward. I think they will have me do an “errand” sending the money elsewhere. And my bank will inform me the funds were fraudulent after a few days. Ultimately making me owe the money.

    Post a Reply
    • It is for Chicago

    • Oh geez! I’m glad you were able to freeze your bank account before they took advantage!!

      The link didn’t come through, but I think I found the posting:

      ***
      The primary role of the Production Assistant is to support the Associate Production Manager and Coordinators in various administrative tasks for the department.

      Essential Functions/Responsibilities:

      =Supporting the Production Supervisor and Coordinators
      =Managing calendars and scheduling meetings
      =Prepping for meetings (agendas, room set-up, etc.)
      =Assisting with running of meetings (run equipment, etc.)
      =Taking clear, concise notes during meetings and rounds
      =Distributing meeting notes in a timely manner
      =Ordering and picking up lunches/dinners for meetings
      =Photocopying, faxing and shipping
      ***

      From what I can surmise, they’ve pulled the job description from what I think is an actual job listing for Blue Sky Studios in CT? And that post is all over Monster.com, LinkedIn, etc, but also, BlueSkyStudios.com, which certainly looks like a real site.

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