Is Design Masters Inc Houston Texas Real Or A Fraud?
A reader contacted us and asked us to investigate a company called Design Masters Inc supposedly located in Houston Tx. after they had received an email from a recruiter claiming to be a representative offering them a job.
Here’s what we uncovered…
The website for Design Masters Inc was just registered 2/18/16 for one year to someone named Michael Kitts, 3715 Northside Pkwy NW, Atlanta Ga and is located at yellowtopbrix.com. However, the address on the website shows the business to be located at 611 Walker St. Houston Texas, 77002 which is the Bob Lanier Public Works Bldg where Houston’s public utility companies are located. Below is a screenshot of the website at yellowtopbrix.com:
The website states that Design Masters Inc has been in business since 2006, however we were unable to find any information other than this website to validate that claim nor can we even find a business listing anywhere in the Houston area with that name. Plus the Phone # 832 699 0169 found on the website does not cross reference as a registered phone # for any business in that area as one would think a legitimate business phone number would… especially if they have been in business for 10 years!
The address, 611 Walker St, like I mentioned above, is the headquarters of the Department of Public Works and Engineering. However there is no listing that can be found anywhere for Design Masters Inc. at this location. Below is a streetview photo of this address:
What we found to also be suspicious is that another website, twowarpgreen.com used in a previous web design scam we recently reported on CBX Web Designs, was registered to someone named Thomas Simmons using this same address, 611 Walker St. Houston Tx. although that business claimed to be located in Louisiana!
No Right To Transact Business In Texas
Since Design Masters claims to be a registered corporation by using “Inc.” in their business name, we checked the State of Texas’ list of registered corporations and below is the screenshots of what we found on Design Masters Inc.:
Not only do you not see 611 Walker St on either listing, but you’ll notice the 3rd line down says “FRANCHISE TAX ENDED” where it states “Right to Transact Business in Texas”. Below is a screenshot that explains what that means:
Franchise Tax Ended clearly means the entity (business) has ceased to exist or ceased doing business in the state of Texas! Therefore the statement on the website saying they were established in 2006 and their headquarters is located at 611 Walker St Houston, and the fact that address does NOT appear anywhere on the listings above, pretty much screams FRAUD!
And lets not forget to mention that the website with an odd name that doesn’t fit the business.. yellowtopbrix.com, is registered to someone named Michael Kitts, in Atlanta Ga! Hmm, Why didn’t they just use designmastersinc.com as the domain name instead? My guess is they are trying to make it harder to be found and therefore exposed to the unsuspecting job seekers they are targeting with a phony job offer. So instead of using the business name for the website domain, they are now making up some name totally unrelated to the business.
I truly doubt that the REAL Michael Kitts is aware that his name has been used to register this domain just as I doubt that the REAL Thomas Simmons was aware his name was used to register the domain twowarpgreen.com!
It certainly appears to fit the same pattern as all the previous scams we have reported, and based on what we have discovered there is no doubt that Design Masters Inc is yet another money mule scam cleverly disguised to appear as a legitimate web design firm to potential victims! So Beware!
How The Scam Works
After sending out the initial “recruitment” email to job seekers with resumes posted on job sites, they follow up with an email written to appear as coming from a legitimate company however, the offer is always too good to be true offering a work from home job with excellent pay, bonuses and a full benefits package including 3 weeks vacation the first year!
They require the “employees” bank account supposedly to deposit the employees paycheck (of course the employee never receives) but actually as they tell you later, a checking account is required so the employee can receive funds from “customer orders” and then send the funds to their “out of country programmers” to begin work on the customers order.
The employee’s task is to withdraw the deposited funds, go to Western Union or Money Gram, document and wire the funds to the programmer in another country which is usually several thousand dollars! However, the funds the scammers deposited in the employees bank account is stolen of course and the “out of country” programmer the employee wired the cash to, is actually the criminals who then vanish, leaving the “employee” holding the bag to repay the stolen funds out of their own pocket or possibly face prosecution once the stolen funds has been traced back to the employees bank account.
Watch this video on our Facebook Page HERE to learn more!
What To Do If You Are A Victim
If you have fell victim to an employment scam like this, you need to contact your bank immediately and close your account IF you have provided your account information to the scammers. Next file a police report with your local authorities and then file a complaint with the FBI’s internet crime center at http://www.ic3.gov/
If you provided your personal information like ss # birthdate etc , you need to contact the 3 credit bureaus- TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, and place a fraud alert on your report. These criminals can steal your identity and may try and obtain credit in your name. Doing this will alert you for at least 90 days about any suspicious activity.
In the hands of a thief, just your name, address, Social Security number or date of birth, can be used over and over months- even years down the road to:
Open new lines of credit
Seek medical attention
Drain savings and retirement accounts
Provide an alias when arrested
Get a job or file false tax returns
Get Payday Loans in your name
Obtain service agreements for cellular service or utilities
Obtain Government Documents such as a drivers license or passport
That’s why I highly recommend you get some sort of ongoing identity theft protection such as the services offered through companies like LifeLock-Visit Their Website Here or Identity Force-visit their website here! LifeLock and Identity Force are both reputable companies that monitors your accounts and alerts and protects you from identity theft.
Have you received a suspicious email offering you a “job” with Design Masters Inc in Texas or other work at home “client or account manager” or “operator” job that you never applied for? Feel free to copy and paste the email in the comments so we can help alert and prevent others from becoming victims.