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.
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:
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 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.