The Investigators: Warning for people looking to work with security firms

Investigative Reporter Sarah Wallace has more of her exclusive report
November 22, 2013 2:52:55 PM PST
One man paid hundreds of dollars up front thinking he was going to be placed in a job as a security guard. And he's still looking.

It's becoming a huge problem and the state is aware of it, people desperate to find jobs-trying to get into the security guard field, and saying they're being ripped off by pop-up companies.

The bottom line is you don't have to use a middleman or so-called placement service to get a job as a security guard. You can apply directly once you finish training courses and get a license yourself. And you should never pay up front.

You know you're onto something when people don't want to admit they're working for a company.

When confronted, they door was slammed.

In this case, it was Empower Security Services in Jamaica, Queens.

Donald Peeples: "I paid $439."
Sarah Wallace: "And you thought you were going to get a job."
Donald: "I thought I was going to get a job within that month."

Peeples says he thought after he successfully completed security guard training classes thru Empower, they would get him a state license and a job. He has neither.

"I was misled," he said.

Empower's contract is careful to state it is not a job placement agency and doesn't guarantee employment, but Peeple's says he was sent to various security guard firms thinking there was a job waiting.

He adds, "I filled out applications only to be told there was no job at that time, I realized I was being scammed during that point."

Peeple's went back to Empower with an undercover camera, this time a counselor offered to send him to another security company, Epic Security in Manhattan.

"If it goes right, you can start in 24 hours," said the counselor.

Mark Lerner is the CEO of Epic Security, one of the largest and most reputable firms in the area.

"Everyone goes through the same procedure with no preference to anybody and a fee to get preference here is a waste of your money," he said.

Security Guard Licenses are only issued by the state of New York after candidates provide certificates from licensed training schools. Peeples could have saved money by going directly to the school where he got his certificate, Rock Security, and not paying a middleman.

After days of trying, we finally tracked down the owner of Empower.

The owner, Stanford Lent said he would speak to Eyewitness News without a camera.

He apologized if clients didn't get what they've been promised and offered to make refunds.

LINK: 7 tips when looking for jobs in security field


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