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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Employment Scammers

I recently wrote a piece on The Vanara Scam. Since then, I've had some entertaining brushes with more scammers, and I felt that it might be time to compile a list to perhaps aid other suckers out there who are looking for employment as well. I will continue to write about such scams when I encounter them.

Career Network, Inc.

These guys advertise for a position that might entice you. When you’re gullible enough to sign up with them (as I admit that I was), they write to you the next day to tell you that they think you just might get that job if you’ll simply fill out some additional information.

If you go to their site, you’ll find the additional information they want is five references, with as much information as you can give them about these references, including name, title, company, and email address. If you’re fool enough to give them this information (I wasn’t), I’m sure these people will be targeted for all sorts of scam mail.

The Federal Trade Commission slapped their hands so hard that they’re still sporting bruises. To read more about that, go here.

Additional information can be found about them on Rip Off Report.

Phoenix Promotions

Although they claim in their standardly issued emails and on various job boards that “Phoenix Promotions, Inc. has been working with clients from various Non-Profits and Charities nationwide,” they can only name one, which is a little-known children’s charity.

They also state:

We are looking to fill positions in:

Marketing
Promotional Sales
Product Demonstrator
Team Manager/Coordinator
Public Relations
Management


This is a complete lie.

I went to an interview, and found myself sitting in a dank room sloppily painted in an odd version of royal blue. It was hot, and the greasy young secretary behind the scratched-up desk was blaring rock music at such appalling levels that it was difficult to have a conversation with anyone there. Periodically she’d tire of one of the raucous songs and switch to another equally raucous one.

Most of the applicants that sat there looked vacantly at the various mold spots in the carpeting, as they continued to uncomfortably adjust to the cheap, hard conference room chairs while they waited.

Different ‘employees’ pranced through the waiting room at various times. One chubby girl who was in charge of the enterprise made quite an impression, although I doubt it was the impression she intended to make. She was in her very early twenties and squeezed into an unprofessional outfit of a tight t-shirt and Capri shorts which were at least one size too small for her. She tottered about on heels, giggling with the secretary at one point, and then dramatically disappearing into the inner recesses with a flamboyant wave.

This was a professional marketing group?!

The mature woman next to me looked equally unimpressed. When it was her turn to be led away for the interview, she was gone for no more than five minutes before she returned, looking disgusted, and mouthed “good luck!” to me as she left.

I was the only one left in the waiting room at this point. The man who’d been interviewing her went up to the secretary, retrieved my resume, and said jovially “Now then, would you be SaurKraut?” I looked into the pale, watery eyes of a consummate used car salesman.

He was fat, but it was the kind of hard fat you see on young men who eat well. He was pasty and sweaty, with a buzz cut and painful looking pimples peppered all over his face. His thick neck was stuffed into a tight blue shirt collar. His violently colored tie was atrocious, and he had no suit jacket. I would estimate he was in his late twenties.

I admitted that I was Saur, and reluctantly trailed him to his office, which was painted a hideous mustard yellow. This proves that Phoenix Promotions isn’t a marketing firm, as any self-respecting marketing firm knows that yellow is the most irritating color you could ever paint a room. More fights break out in yellow kitchens than in any other room in the home. You use yellow for warning signs or as an attention grabber, but you use it sparingly.

He proceeded to ask me questions that were destined to lead me down a certain path. They were all obvious questions, such as “Do you want to make money?” and “Do you want the chance to do good?” and “If you could have an opportunity that would lead to a management career, wouldn’t you want to take it?” I answered yes reservedly to all the questions, as I looked for the exit.

Finally I interrupted him and asked “What kind of money are we talking about, here? This is straight commission only, isn’t it?”

“Why yes,” he said. “At first you can only expect to make $200 a week or so. But if you keep your eye on the ball, and you stay focused, and you do what you’re supposed to do, you’ll have an excellent chance at promotion! Why, look at me! I’ve been with this company for three years, and for the last year-and-a-half I’ve been on this side of the cushy desk!”

He patted the desktop with pride.

He also added that there are never any other positions. Everyone has to start at ground zero.

So I’d have to work a year and a half at less than minimum wage outdoors at various events, trying to sell key chains and other small gimmees, for the opportunity to sit in a hot mustard-colored room with spots on the floor, behind a battered desk, suckering others with the same lines in the hopes that they’d be as gullible as I had been.

Wow. What a career opportunity.

I left as quickly as I could, after asking him why he’d bother to invite someone with my credentials to come in for an interview. Even people who sling burgers at McDonald’s make more money!

“Well,” he said patronizingly, “We’ve had people with higher degrees work for us before.”

“Not for long,” I retorted, as I headed out the door.

WH International

WH International is owned by Geoff Coy, who in the past has also owned the Geoff Coy Management Group. This is a group that has or is currently being sued in various states for taking gullible peoples’ money (anywhere from $3K and up) to ‘train’ them to be better interviewers and polish them up. When a candidate fails to get a job and eventually complains, they’re told that they didn’t learn to apply all the valuable lessons that WH International made them privy to.

Currently Dan Stuecher works for WH International locally. Dan has a poor reputation at best, as he’s a defrocked minister who formerly was the flamboyant preacher of Harborside Christian Church in Safety Harbor, FL, until he decided to have a very public affair which ended his career fleecing the flock, and sent him in another direction. He now fleeces business candidates.

9 comments:

The Lazy Iguana said...

I went to some sort of "management opportunity" thing that I saw advertised in the paper. It was a short job ad with no description.

So I went.

The office building was some anonymous looking building in a cheap rent place.

I was less than impressed with the staff.

In the main room there was a bunch of other people waiting.

The first guy to give a pitch gave it to everyone. He was a younger guy, probably mid 20s. He was dressed in a snazzy looking suit, all pressed and shit.

The "management opportunity" was selling fake perfume door to door. Well I listened to the pitch, and about how I could make all this money selling fake perfume and cologne and stuff.

The formal "interview" lasted about 30 seconds. The first interview question was "can you be back here at 8 AM to start". No, actually I can't. I can not possibly sell garbage that I would never buy myself.

And left.

I also went to a place that was selling coupon books for some restaurants (I think it was a Pizza Hut) for $20. Now actually it was not a bad deal, as the value of the coupons was much more than $20. It was a "buy one meal get on free" type thing. I had actually bought some coupon books for a steakhouse.

But I do not do door to door anything. F that.

So after watching the circus for about 30 minutes I told the guy driving the truck that I was out. So he had to leave the other "trainees" out on the street and take me back to the company HQ.

The 30 minutes were sort of amusing. But once it started to get warm I was out of there.

I recently applied for a job at the zoo. It will be cool. It is for "exotic reptile zoo keeper". I imaging that this will involve cleaning up a lot of lizard and snake shit. The job description does not say this point blank, but I know that will be part of the job. Ill also have to feed the snakes and lizards, as well as look for signs of sickness.

And keep the exhibits all neat and tidy. With a rake. And in the case of the Komodo Dragons a shovel.

I have never actually seen alligator poop, but there are alligators at the zoo and they are reptiles. So Ill become an expert in that.

There are also Nile Crocodiles.

The plus side is that if I get it Ill get to hang out with Komodo Dragons. Without having to actually go to Komodo Island in the Indian Ocean.

Exotic reptiles are better than working with people. Reptiles never bitch and complain. They never report you to the boss for slacking off. They do not care if you tell "offensive" jokes. They do not care if you say "shit". And they never make noises if you fart - no matter how foul it smells.

It does not pay very much, but it is a way into the zoo racket. Ill be able to apply for other zoo jobs that pay more and do not involve poop cleaning as they open up.

OR - and this would be really cool - it may lead to a curator job. Where I get to select new animals for the zoo and pitch new exhibit ideas. THAT would be totally awesome, and well worth cleaning up after a zoo full of various over size lizards - both of the semi-aquatic and land dwelling variety.

I think the zoo needs some coconut crabs. The world's largest land dwelling bug. They eat garbage, dead stuff, and coconuts. Miami has an ample supply of all three. So the crabs would be cheap to keep. They would fit in, geographically speaking, right next to the Komodo Dragons.

Coconut Crabs would be my first pitched idea.

Then anacondas.

Then sea snakes.

Oh yea, I would also pitch, and help capture critters for, an interactive learning exhibit - "Poisonous Snakes Of Florida". So zoo visitors could see all the poisonous snakes found in Florida, with special attention given to the 4 found in South Florida.

Field trip! That I get paid for. To capture at least one eastern diamondback rattlesnake, one pygmy rattlesnake, a water moccasin, and a coral snake.

The timber rattlesnake and copperhead only live in North Florida, so that field trip would involve going to the panhandle area.

The zoo has been looking for an elephant zookeeper for a long time. The job is still open. You can lie and claim you used to work for a small circus and have "elephant handling skills", and get the job.

WARNING!!!!

Elephants produce more poop in one day than all the reptiles in Florida (in zoos and in the wild) combined. You will require a much larger shovel.

M@ said...

I once worked for a day as a "vendor" at Wal-Mart.... Never got paid. :)

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I signed up once (many years ago) to sell bibles from door to door. My first assignment was to read obituaries from about four newpapers, get the names of the recently deceased. I did that, then asked what they were for.

"We emboss bibles with the names of the deceased then take them to the heirs. All you have to do is tell the folks that this was ordered by "John" as this address, tell them the price and they will almost rip it out of your hands>"
Guess how much longer I stuck around?

krok69 said...

Saur,

If you are as hot as you say you are why don't you marry a guy with money? And don't tell me it's because you are only attracted to crack heads. If you'd do something with your hair, start using Scope daily and try to conceal your know-it-all personality you should be able to get a mainstream guy.

Test out my strategy and let me know how it goes.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Krok, ;o) I am not destined for marriage. So, I guess I'll have to do what men have done throughout history, and be the primary bread winner.

I always surprise people who meet me in the workplace - for some reason everyone thinks I'm a party animal. In reality, I'm highly reclusive, and prefer the company of very few friends and family.

Groucho Marx once said "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member." I have similar feelings toward marriage.

3 Score & 10, How ghastly. I've heard of similar scams.

m@, That is exactly what Phoenix Promotions is hoping their victims will do. It's so evil to prey on others like that.

Lazy Iguana, Oh so you've had some very similar experiences!

I cannot imagine buying perfume from a door-to-door salesman! I've never heard of such a thing, but in a tough economy...

Yeah, I don't like door-to-door sales of anything either, but coupons are OK. Statistically they come out ahead cuz a large percentage of people never use the coupons they buy. I'm one of them, I hate to say.

It would be AWESOME to be a zookeeper! If you get the job, I am so coming down there to get a tour!!!

The Lazy Iguana said...

The job would not pay much. I assume there would be overtime. In fact, I would count on overtime. For some extra bucks.

Even so the job would not break $35k. It may only barely break $30k. Base pay is less than $30k.

But it would come with benefits. So that is good. If I got bit by a poisonous snake at least the hospital care would be covered. On or off the job.

But it would be a starting point. Once in it would be easier to break into other jobs that pay more.

And in the meantime, it would not be so bad. I have paid money to get into the zoo before, so getting paid to go there would be cool. The work has to be done by someone. And it is not like they can just cut these jobs out. Someone has to clean up after the animals, and feed the animals.

Unless of course entire exhibits are removed and the animals shipped somewhere else.

The zoo offers various behind the scenes tours. For extra money of course. I went on one once and it was cool.

gazufl said...

Thank you for saving me a lot of time and aggravation. I had an interview with Dan Stuecher today and was actually contemplating it. Nothing worse than a preacher who prays on the down and out? This might be why I don't go to church here!

Gazufl

Saur♥Kraut said...

Gazufl, My pleasure. I'm sincerely glad to hear it! Good luck out there - it's a very tough market.

zrwoodard said...

I was happy when I saw Don would be replacing my WHI counselor. New blood, I thought could be a good start. I spent the past year finishing my book. Now that its done, I'm ready to go back to work full time. I admit being concerned after finding a bunch of references on writing religious books. Then your blog amplified my concerns. If I could find dirt on this guy in 20 minutes, it concerns me that he won't be effective in helping me. Thanks for the head's up.