Category Archives: MLM

LinkedIn; How Many Different Ways Can You Spell Scam?

I remember the day she told me.

“I signed up for LinkedIn Pro.  I need it to apply for jobs. It’s cheap, less than $10 a month.  Don’t worry about it.”

Truthfully, I didn’t give it a second thought much less worry about it. In hindsight I wish I had.

A few months ago, I was trying to reassure her that we weren’t doing so bad, that her sideline work was bringing in some cash.  So I got her to start depositing her money directly into her business account.  The one her LinkedIn Pro draws off off.

I’ll bet you can guess where I’m going with this.

I needed to pay some bills, so that day came when I asked her (just like I said I would) for money from the business account. So I got access to the account. I do most of the money juggling, but I hadn’t ever needed access to her business account before.  I transferred the amount I needed.  While I was doing that, I noticed a $34 dollar charge from LinkedIn listed as having just posted a few days earlier.

Well, that’s odd.  It’s certainly more than the 9 plus change I was assured it would be; more than the amount that she had read it would be. In reading the webpage trumpeting the merits of LinkedIn Pro she noticed that the charge amount varies from refresh to refresh. Seems kind of peculiar, don’t you think?

What I find more than peculiar, downright infuriating even, is that LinkedIn charges jobseekers right up front; money that the poor, unemployed person really can’t afford to part with.  Charges them in a way that the vast majority of headhunting services don’t do.  Charges them when a good portion of assistance agencies are either forbidden to, or choose not to because what is being offered is a charitable service.

Now, I have run into these kinds of profiteers before.  Every person who has looked for a job over the years probably has. “You can make thousands of dollars a week if you just invest a few hundred right now and take our free training courses that show you how to make money using our system” They’ve even gotten clever over the years, disguising themselves as MLM or direct marketing, duping people into giving them money they don’t really have on the promise that they’ll win big in the end.  Some of them disguise themselves as headhunting services, they just need a few dollars up front, but they promise to find you a job eventually.

Where I come from we call that a confidence game, a scam.  Well, this scam that LinkedIn is running netted them over $400 from an account I wasn’t monitoring, but will be monitoring from now on.  I will be talking to authorities as well, because I remain convinced that what they are engaged in is usurious at best, fraudulent at worst.  

I’m onto you LinkedIn. I have canceled my account with you.  You clearly cannot be trusted with information in any way.  I encourage anyone currently using that service to remove themselves from it immediately, before you become a victim of their fraudulent behavior.

Multi-Level Marketing; No, It Doesn’t Pay.

Still going through the back issues of Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe. In addition to noting the passage of Perry DeAngeles (who’s unique take on the subject of skepticism marked the early episodes so powerfully) and running across the odd bit of trivia, the interviews are the things that keep me listening.

In episode #135 the interviewee is Robert FitzPatrick.  I wish I had run across this guy and his invaluable information before I signed up for Amway way back when; I would have saved myself a lot of pain, worry and expense.  Luckily the Wife and I are pretty savvy when it comes to counting pennies (I only wish I was that savvy when it comes to sales pitches. I’m getting there) and it only took a few months before we realized that the cost of the goods from Amway and their online presence Quixtar, even at the ‘discounted’ rate, was more than equivalent quality products available from any big box retailer.

So many of the things that Mr. FitzPatrick related in the interview reminded me of my experiences with my ‘upline’ and Amway, that I kept getting chills thinking about how close I was to buying into the whole twisted mindset of selling people something that I needed them to buy, simply because I needed them to buy it. It really is a cult mentality; and they are hardly the only group I’ve gotten in with that, when looked at through the lens of hindsight, look suspect on that score.

To this day, every time I’m confronted with a direct-selling scheme, I cringe. There are far, far more of them out there now than there have ever been in the past, and the internet appears to be the vehicle allowing these ‘businesses’ to flourish.  We’ve come a long way from the days when the Amway guy could show up at your door, selling soap at a price where, in rural America, it seemed like a bargain since you didn’t have to go out and get it.  Amazon may not pay me to buy products from them, but it’s hard to argue that their prices are driven by anything other than fair market value.  More than I can say for most direct sell products.


I wanted to add a shameless plug for Mr. FitzPatrick’s site Pyramid Scheme Alert.  It really is too bad that no one takes the subject of these schemes seriously.


John Oliver does his usual best take-down of MLM here.

Ever wonder what is in all those self-storage units? Think about it for a bit.