Newspapers and websites need to open their eyes and stop the growing phenomenon of con artists posting ads for scam related jobs. I am disgusted by the increasing amount of these jobs in the Star Telegram, careerbuilder.com and monster.com. My fianc is currently unemployed and has been trying to sift through jobs on these websites. There are jobs promising "$600- $1,200 a week!", or "entry level position working in the entertainment industry!". I am weary of such ads because I was a victim myself.
Last fall, I applied to an undisclosed company who's ad on monster.com sounded too good to be true. Turns out, it was. The headline read, "Entry level position working in sports and entertainment marketing and event planning". I thought I had hit a gold mine and immediately applied, not knowing that there were probably 15 more ads for the same company. I got a call no more than an hour later requesting an interview the next day. I could hardly wait!
When I went to the interview I was surprised to see five other people in the waiting room. That was it, game on. I was going to beat out these losers and get the job of a lifetime. The waiting room was a soothing blue color, smelled like incense, and had The Black Eyed Peas playing in the background. I thought I had arrived. I was called to the back office for my interview and I laid it on thick. I was outgoing, bubbly, excited, everything I thought I needed to be to land this job. So excited in fact, I did not even ask what the job entailed, the pay, nor the hours.
The next day, success!! I got the position! Work started the next day at 7 am. I lived and hour away from the office, an hour and a half since I had to drive through rush hour traffic and battle 35N to 121. So, I got up at 5 am and was ready to go. Since this was my first day, I had to train with one of the team leaders. I did not know it, but this would be my final interview. This is where I got to really see what this company was all about. I was introduced to two guys about my age. I was told that I would be following them to the days location. We drove for about an hour to Arlington. We stopped in a parking lot that housed a popular bowling alley that I was told we were doing promoting for. I was lead to believe that we would be doing promotions for this company, possibly handing out flyers for advertising. This made sense to me, even though it was not the entertainment field I was expecting. When we arrived at the shopping center and walked into a coffee shop I was a little confused. This sound have been the first red flag.
I was wearing nice slacks and a button-down blouse with heels, dressed to impress. The guys I was with were wearing the same, a tie being the only difference. My trainer walked up to the checkout desk and asked to speak directly to the manager. I was thinking, ok, maybe this is legit. However, when my trainer pulled out a coupon booklet and started a pitch that went something like, Hello sir, you look like you like to have fun, dont you? Well on average, Americans spend $30 to $40 dollars on a trip to the bowling alley. What I am going to offer you is the opportunity to take that same trip for ONE THIRD of that price! Isnt that awesome?. This is when I decided there was something fishy going on. I was about to become a door to door salesperson!
After we had pitched to the unsuspecting manager who told us that there was no soliciting allowed, we sat down for our final interview. I was very skeptical, but I needed a job so badly! My trainer showed me this diagram of how the company worked. He told me that your pay depends on how many coupon booklets you sell. There was no base pay. But wait a minute, I thought the ad said that I would be making $600- $1,200 a week. I didnt even think about how odd it was that I never filled out a W4 for this Fortune 500 company I was now working for. I didnt care. I was so hard up for money that at that point it didnt matter.
My trainer told me that I was invited to the Mavs game later that evening. The company would have a private suite. Sounded pretty cool. I was in. Worst mistake of my life.
The Mavericks game was great, I think we even won. But after the game, the head of our division gave us a speech about our new campaign the Mavs. Great! I knew this was a good idea! Until they passed around a coupon booklet. Yes, I was going to be selling coupons for the Mavericks. Better than a bowling alley, and as I would soon find out, better than anything else I would be selling as well.
Bright and early that next day, I came into the office, ready for work. We had a team meeting around 7:30. Then we split into groups. The owner of the office, well call her Amanda, handed out Mapsco printouts of different areas around DFW. Some of these maps stretched all the way out past Rockwall, a two hour drive from where we were at. I hopped in the car with a cute girl about my age and we were off to Southlake to sell some Dallas Stars tickets. The first few businesses we went into didnt bite. They either told us to leave or were simply not interested. Then I was on my own. Going into restaurants, department stores and anywhere else I saw. No luck. It had been three hours and I hadnt sold anything and not only that, but my feet were killing me! By the end of the day, I had managed to sell only two booklets, amounting to about $20. We returned to the office around six that evening. I went home with not even enough money to pay for gas.
The best part of this job is that you get to work Saturdays too! Same hours, no pay. After a couple of weeks of this torture I was done. Maybe it was the time I was left alone of the street in a bad part of town and I got mugged. Maybe it was the time I had a man come up and grab me and tell me I was doing the devils work and tried to kidnap me. Whatever it was, I had had enough. I collect my training pay and left.
Sounds awful, doesnt it? Would you want your son or daughter out on the street working for no money and putting their life in danger? Honest people given false hope of a good job with great pay, only to be subjected to slave labor? When you go onto monster.com and careerbuilder.com, it is not hard to find these companies. There are now over three of these companies in DFW alone. They constantly change their names and locations, but they are all part of the Smart Circle Scam. As if this wasnt enough, there is a new scam called the White Van Speaker Scam, people who sell cheap speakers and tell people they are worth more than they really are by putting fake price tags on the boxes. They advertise on websites and in the Star Telegram claiming they install electronics. If you google White Van Speaker Scam, it is not hard to figure out which ads are related to the scam.
My point is that there are too many good, hard working people out there that will buy into these scams, like I did. It needs to stop.
I should also note that I have found multiple names in the DFW area alone. They are D.R.S. Marketing Firm, Universal Endeavors, DFW and Associates, Moxie Marketing Inc., Impact Inc., and Novelook Marketing, just to name a few. More and more appear everyday.