Unemployment Blues: The Month Of Scams

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It pretty much sucks to be me.

I have no job. I just graduated from college with a Bachelor’s in English (dumb, but what can I say, I like to read). I just got my first student loan bill (I’m in the grace period still, but shit, it’s daunting). I live by the country’s second poorest city, Buffalo, NY. This is Buffalo Central Terminal:

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According to a recent article in our local newspaper, The Buffalo News, only 13% of the companies in the area are hiring. To top it off, everyone seems to be trying to scam me out of the little money I have. To hear the rest of this story, click the link.

My story starts with a job offer I found in that same newspaper. The add was vague, but required no experience and offered better than average pay. I called the number in the ad and was set up with an interview that same day (this is a bad sign, I’ve come to learn). I put on my suit and tie and traveled to the offices of Fire Safety LaLaLa (not their real name), where I was placed in a room about the size of a cubicle. On the walls in the room were hand-written inspirational posters that looked more suitable for an elementary school classroom. Everything about the place was sketchy. After a while I was joined by Jim, another suit-wearing job-seeker, who, after introducing himself, asked me if I knew what the job was about. I didn’t. After filling out a short non-descript questionnaire we were given a demonstration of the company’s fire-fighting products. We were told that, if we were successful in the training program, we could have our own office and secretaries within 45 days. I had a brief interview and was offered a job. Here’s the catch: I was required to pay $165 for a demonstration kit of my own. The kit was “refundable” according to my interviewer, but a little research told me if I had forked over the money, I wouldn’t be seeing it again. In fact, the second entry on google for “Fire Safety LaLaLa” was on ripoffreport.com.

Thank god for the internet.

A week goes by, a new collection of job listings is posted and I try again. Another ad offers decent pay with no experience necessary. I make the call. What’s fishy about this phone call is that, while it’s happening, the person on the other line is slowly asking me for my personal information. She wants my e-mail address, home address, phone number, and I give them because I guess these are things you might want to know and it’s not like they were asking for my credit card number or anything. I’m offered an interview later that day (the red light starts going off in my head). I ask, “What is the name of your company?” to which the woman replies, “Vector.”

I’m a bit more prepared this time, I’ve got my computer in front of me. I type the name into Google and… it’s CUTCO KNIVES! They won’t even tell you that they’re Cutco anymore! They try to trick you with their other business name, Vector Marketing. I knew that I didn’t want to buy any knives so I told the woman thank you and hung up. What really grinds my gears (hehe) is that yesterday I got an e-mail from Vector telling me I had missed my interview (I never agreed to an interview) and could I please fill out a survey.

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*Menacing growl*

I know that Cutco isn’t technically a scam, but I also know that you have to buy a set of knives in order to work for them, and that I didn’t feel like wasting the time of my friends and family trying to sell them knives, however sharp they may be.

The final straw came today while I was on facebook.com. There was an ad claiming that the government would give me a grant for $12,000. Now I didn’t believe it, but I liked the image (below) and thought I’d check it out for a laugh.

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I was taken to mikesmoneymatters.com, where Mike explained how for only $1.99 he would send me a kit that would get me my well-deserved free money.

While obviously a “joke,” what frustrated me was how poor in quality the scam actually was. The website has the following picture on the site:

grant_check

It claims that this is the actual check he recieved. But wait a minute, I thought your name was Mike, who’s Jeffery Donahue? Secondly, THE PICTURE IS OBVIOUSLY PHOTOSHOPPED! I could make a better fake picture of a government check! If you’re going to try and scam me out of 2 dollars you should at least put 2 dollars worth of effort into your photoshopping! F*** you Mike… or Jeff! Whoever you are, f*** you!

*relaxing breath*

What I’m wondering is, do these scams actually work? Now, I’ve always been a smart guy, maybe I’m overestimating the average person’s ability to determine when someone is trying to screw them. The guy who owns Safety Enterprises is apparently worth 3 million dollars. Maybe I should start my own business of ripping people off. As the old saying goes, if you can’t beat them, offer them something you won’t deliver on and charge them for it.

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Would you like leprechauns to slip twenties in your pocket when you’re not paying attention? Just send $4.99 to Sean Lewis C/O MediaWhoreNetwork, Red Light District, Buffalo, NY, P.O. Box 6969

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