Firefly Pointer Fiberglass Jacket: Calling out Scam Groups

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Calling out Scam Groups

 One of my biggest pet peeves is wasting time. Another one would be wasting time on a job, namely
a fake one. Unfortunately it has happened to me almost a dozen times. The good thing about time wasters is that they can teach you lessons. I certainly learned some lessons. The most important is to trust your gut instinct. Scam Groups are pyramid schemes that falsely advertise (computer related) jobs but are door to door sales. DO NOT apply there (unless you want a 100% commission based, bait and switched job of selling door to door 12 hours a day).

 My very first run in with a scam group was while I was still in high school. I was a junior or senior looking for a part time job and somehow came across an ad for "Vector." I was a clean slate and this was my first interview.  I got my grandma to drive me to the interview because I didn't have my license. I was dressed in nice clothes and trying to remember all the things I learned at career day. Some of the details have been lost to me in time because this was over 13 years ago.

 When I went into the lobby I saw a bunch of other young people like myself sitting in similar clothing waiting for the interview. When the actual interview happened I felt nothing but confused. The guy giving me the interview couldn't give me any specific answers to my questions. I was just trying to figure out simply what the job was. Something just didn't seem right. And even though I wanted a job badly there was no way I could take that one. I told my grandma what had happened and that was the first time I heard the words "pyramid scheme."

 I was very confused by this concept. Sadly this would be far from my last encounter with a vague job with fuzzy details. Fast forward to 2011, I just graduated with a degree in graphic design. I was excited to work and couldn't wait to get started. I was applying for any graphic design jobs, even internships which some I got. Some of the jobs I applied to were falsely advertised and ended up connected to a bait and switch situation. This bait and switch was done by "groups" that masquerade as "marketing businesses." Usually they end up as 100% commission based door to door sales of coupons. Seriously. I'm going to cut through some story telling and just get right to the things to look out for.
  1. Google them. Look up the company before the interview. Chances are you will find information through Better Business Bureau, Yelp or 
Scam warning signs

  • They post a job for entry level marketing but that job starts to change and becomes convoluted.
  • If they call you back right away [after just submitting your application]; this is a huge red flag.
  • They keep contacting you. They email and call repeatedly.
  • They act like they're in a hurry to get people in for interviews. They have a strong sense of urgency. 
  • They act like they have lots of if they can't give them away fast enough.
  • When you get to the job location often times the business name is not on the building or even inside. Things look as though they just got set up and very nondescript. It looks phony like a house no one actually lives in. More like a set.
  • The details about the job are vague. They seem to make big exciting promises with no follow through. 
  • Their website is vague, and their social media accounts look fake or frankly...staged. 
  • Something seems "fishy." 
Some bonus ones:
  • The old adage "If it sounds too good to be true it probably is." 
  • Reminder: You should never have to pay to work.

Below is my running list, if you have more to add please email me so we can get the word out and stop this crap. Please note that the * represents places I have personally had these scamming situations happen; the others would be ones I was warned about.

Scam Groups

  • Vector *
  • The Latitude Group *
  • The Creative Group aka "TCG" *
  • the name "Robert Half" * (Sources here)
  • Creative Circle *
  • Talent Avenue *
  • Grayson Carter *
  • Elevation Events Inc. *
  • Metropolis Management *
  • Smart Circle
  • InZone Marketing
  • NorCal Acquisitions Inc
  • Cydcor/DS-MAX
P.S. I found this HUGE LIST of companies!

 What makes it even more tricky is these businesses change their names. They get in trouble, disappear and then re-emerge almost exactly the same but with a different company name. Watch out because they also post rampantly on Craigslist, ZipRecruiter and basically any job site. I don't trust the few 5 star reviews for these companies on Yelp for example. Like any good pyramid scheme, a few folks will have a positive experience. "Like any good lie, there's a little bit of truth." That's a big part of how you keep a scam going (anyone watch American Greed?). They maintain a thin veneer of legitimate business. Like any good lie there is a bit of truth.

I put in these screen captures of some reviews of these companies on Yelp that summarize it well. 

Not taking my word for it is fine, but don't be foolish and do your homework

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