Council on International Educational Exchange Review

I was contacted by CIEE via email, stating they found my resume on Career Builder. They sent me an email asking if I was interested in a work from home position as an Executive Assistant to respond back to them with my full name, email address and phone number. I responded and was contacted again by Petra Novak by email and phone asking me to download and complete employment documents, including a contract for employment, reference check and previous work history and to send a copy of my DL to send to their security department for approval, this process would take 1-2 days and I would be contacted. I was contacted again by email congratulating me and informing me I would be on a 3 week probationary period at which I would be paid $25.00/hr, after which I would be paid $33.00/hr. and have access to benefits. I was asked to sign up on yahoo messenger and contact [email protected] for my first working day. I thought this all sounded too good to be true so I scoured the internet looking for information to find out if this place was legit, at that time there were no scam reports. No information on the phone number or the address that I could find. I did see there was another website for the Council of International Exchange located in Portland Maine and the website was different than the website I was sent to… vs. I was told this was a new location opening up hence the need to hire new employees such as myself. | I was sent my first assignment Nov. 10th, which was completed, another on Nov. 13th along with instructions on how to deal with incoming parcels and mail for me to handle, my next assignment was sent Nov. 20th and again, completed…each assignment had a 2-3 day window to complete. My last assignment was sent Fri, Nov. 27th. I was told a deposit was being sent to my bank account for me to pay a hostel which we were contracted with for student housing. They had my bank account information because she sent me an ACH form to fill out for me to be paid via direct deposit, I was to be paid on Dec. 1st which would be the end of my 3 week probationary period. I was sent an email on Nov. 25th telling me that a deposit would be coming to me and when she had more information on the transaction she would let me know, but wanted to give me a heads up. The morning of Nov. 27th she emailed and IM’d me asking if I received the deposit of $2400.00, to which I responded that I had. She asked me to go to my bank and withdraw the money and to let her know when that was completed. I did as instructed and withdrew the money, came back online and let her know…she told me she was sending me an email with instructions. The instruction was to take the money to a store here in town which had a bitcoin machine, I was given a QR code in email that was the “landlord of the hostel’s account” I was to scan the QR code and send him $2300.00, and $100.00 was for me to keep as a ‘bonus’. The transaction was completed and when I returned home I had received an email from Petra letting me know the ‘landlord’ received the deposit, thanked me for my work and told me to have a good weekend. | Dec 1st. came, the day I was supposed to receive my deposit for the work I have completed, I checked my account and there wasn’t any deposit made. I contacted Petra via IM to inquire as to when I should expect it and was told that the salary was being sent at 3pm. I waited, until after 3pm and still nothing, again I contacted Petra via IM and she told me to wait while she spoke with the accountant…she came back and said that the deposit was sent via wire transfer and that it may take a little time. I waited until the next day and checked again, still nothing…I sent Petra an IM at 8:16 am CST. she was not online at the time so I waited until I saw her become available….as soon as she did, I began sending her another message and she signed off while I was typing and has been offline since. I have sent her 2 emails and have called several times, to which I get no answer…I have left her a VM but do not expect to hear anything back. | Looking back on this situation now, I believe the money that was sent to my account on Friday was in fact my payment and she had me re-route it to an account that probably belongs to her personally….I don’t know how many people she has done this to or based on the other reports what she is gaining by having people do work that goes nowhere but I want to get to the bottom of this! I am intent on making sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else and that this lady gets what is coming to her….I have been out of work for 6mo. I have 3 children and it’s Christmas time. I am now facing eviction and have no source of income to speak of as I truly believed that I was working for someone that was going to pay me for services rendered….especially after having cash deposited to my account last week and receiving a bonus! | ANYONE else that has had dealing with Petra Novak/CIEE please respond and let me know what yahoo messenger IM name she used to contact you with, along with what email address she used. I see the phone number is the same and the website was the same (which is down now by the way). I would love for this to get to the media, police or anyone that can help stop this woman from scamming anyone else.


Name: Council on International Educational Exchange

Country: United States

State: Maine

City: Portland

Address: 300 Fore St.

Phone: 207-553-4000


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