While in Atlanta on business this week, I mused with Bill Frech and Steve Jandrell of CandidAdvisors (candidadvisors.com - disclosure - I am also a member of their consulting team), that I had seen a repetitive bit of SPAM on Twitter announcing "Make $180 a day the easy way! I can show you how!" and how tired and frustrated I was that these leeches continue to prey on the recently downsized.
The too sad truth is that many recently downsized, severanced, gotta' roll my 401k over transitioned employees in this very tight job market are perfect targets for thieves, scammers and the pitiful, dishonest, manipulative bottom-feeders of the Web/Franchise/Affiliate/Whatever Marketing world.
Am I being harsh on these Marketers? Yes, yes I am, and I make no apologies.
I have run two businesses folks, and it's a wonderful thing to create a vision, a quality standard, a deliverable, and a customer base that trusts you. It takes work, focus, and a whole bunch of other stuff, but what it does not take is giving a stranger $x dollars to show you how they made millions with some passive Twitter/Facebook/Pyramid party.
The likelihood of your retiring on your yacht as a result of your $x dollar investment is equal to that emailing Dr/Barrister/Representative from Nairobi/Nigeria/Wherever who wants to send you $4.6 million from a long lost relative if only you'll pay the handling fees out of the initial (bad) check they send you. It ain't gonna' happen.
Please understand as well, that many of these folks who look so nice, have such nice bios, have pictures of their kids as their Twitter Avatars are robots - automated feeds owned by one person with many, many "spoof" accounts made up to fit your fantasy - your demographic profile - of what a trusted person looks and sounds like.
If I can tell you one thing, it is Please invest your time in your job search in investing in YOURSELF.
At the end of this month at his annual appreciation dinner, my pal Paul Zaio is having a speaker from the FBI present a talk on security and scams. Here's a bit from the FBI's website on this subject - specifically for Job-Seekers:
Here are a few of the most common work-at-home scams.
- Advance-fee: Starting a home-based business is easy! Just invest a few hundred dollars in inventory, set-up, and training materials, they say. Of course, if and when the materials do come, they are totally worthless…and you’re stuck with the bill.
- Counterfeit check-facilitated "mystery shopper:" You’re sent a hefty check and asked to deposit it into your bank account, then withdraw funds to shop and check out the service of local stores and wire transfer companies. You keep a small amount of the money for your “work,” but then, as instructed, mail or wire the rest to your “employer.” Sound good? One problem: the initial check was phony, and by the time your bank notifies you, your money is long gone and you’re on the hook for the counterfeit check.
- Pyramid schemes: You’re hired as a “distributor” and shell out big bucks for promotional materials and product inventories with little value (like get-rich quick pamphlets). You’re promised money for recruiting more distributors, so you talk friends and family into participating. The scheme grows exponentially but then falls apart—the only ones who make a profit are the criminals who started it.
- Unknowing involvement in criminal activity: Criminals—often located overseas—sometimes use unwitting victims to advance their operations, steal and launder money, and maintain anonymity. For example, they may “hire" you as a U.S.-based agent to receive and re-ship checks, merchandise, and solicitations to other potential victims…without you realizing it’s all a ruse that leaves no trail back to the crooks.
What can you do to avoid being scammed? We recommend you practice safe surfing by taking the following steps:
- THINK TWICE about telling all on your online résumé. Do you really need to provide detailed personal information? Consider posting your résumé more anonymously…with an e-mail address as your primary contact point.
- NEVER provide a potential employer with your bank account or credit card information, a scan of your driver’s license or other ID, or a detailed physical description of yourself. That’s just asking for trouble.
- NEVER pay upfront for any job opportunity (they’re supposed to be paying you!) and never forward, transfer, or wire money to a prospective employer.
- BE WARY of job listings with misspellings, grammatical mistakes, and terms such as “money transfers,” “wiring funds,” “package-forwarding,” and “import/export specialist.” Those are big clues that something is amiss.
Illinois Secretary of State - Get Rich Quick Employment Scams
FBI: Cybertheft Division