Thursday, October 20, 2005

Ripping off the unemployed poodle?

I was downsized from my job in August...there are parts of my life and body that I would much rather be downsized instead of our household income, but thems the breaks. So, I've been looking for another job while going through the different stages of the Downsized Blues (grief, anger, vengeful thoughts, acceptance, more vengeful thoughts, etc.).

I dutifully posted my resume on and, as well as sending it out directly to other companies. Since I've posted my resume online, I've been getting spam from companies who want me to pay them for posting my resume...what are they thinking? I have no income has been severely curtailed, I gave up the dry cleaners and bought an iron, and you want me to give you money for something I can do myself? Puhlease.

Today, I got my first spam telephone call for employment. A very nervous-sounding woman told me she was from PFS and asked if I had heard of PFS? I hadn't, so she proceeds to launch into a spiel about how she is looking for people to train people for her company, which provides financial services. That I didn't need to have knowledge of financial services, just that I had to have good people skills, because that was something that couldn't be trained, blah, blah, sounded like she was reading a very poorly written script. I started asking her questions about what type of training--classroom, web-based, etc., and she really got flustered and couldn't really say exactly what type of training she wanted me to do.

Anyway, she was yammering at first about an interview, but then she started calling it a "business briefing," and said that the next one would be held on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. The alarm bells started jingling, and I thought what company does interviews on Saturday? And, who the hell calls an interview a "business briefing"? She tells me to dress business style and bring a piece of paper to take notes with...notes in an interview? Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice. She then tells me she will let her secretary know I am coming. I'm still trying to figure out when in the conversation that I agreed to show up for the "business briefing," but what the hell...I can always not show up at all.

After we hang up, I Googled the address and lo, behold, find out that PFS = Primerica Financial Services, and one of the first websites that pops up is with links to some highly entertaining reading from people bitching about how they were ripped off by Primerica's pay for employment scam.

According to the posts on, it seems that PFS wants to recruit you into their financial services pyramid scheme...they will ask you for money to pay for a license and want you to provide "references" i.e., your friends and former co-workers, that they will then try to hardsell their services to and recruit them as well, and evidently tell your friends that YOU gave them up for this scam, which gets them around the Federal Do Not Call list. The noirve of some won't have any friends left after the 2nd or 3rd call from these folks. Nothing like being social pariah on top of unemployment.

So, I call the number's busy. What company in this day and age has a busy signal? Small business owners maybe... Bud's Bait & Tackle probably doesn't have a multi-line phone system, but a company that is hiring trainers should probably have a second or third line, don't ya think?

I try again and get the same thinks she is her own "secretary," don't you? Anyway, I tell her I can't make the Saturday gig, and when she asks if I want to reschedule, I tell her that I did some research on their company and don't think I'd be a good fit. As soon as "fit" is out of my mouth, she hangs up the phone. Gee, wonder why? If the Rip Off Report postings are any indication, she's probably been instructed to batten down the hatches, wipe the hard drives, and shred all paperwork as soon as anyone says "researched your company."

The real kicker here is the folks who get sucked in by this type of scam. Several of the postings I read on the Rip Off Report site had a familiar tune--been laid off, benefits running out, and someone suckered them into coming in for the presentation when they thought they were being interviewed for a job, etc. I can see why people might sign up for this, because they are desperate to get money flowing in...the mortage is due, hungry poodle eyes looking up at you when you ration out the last of the high-priced kibble...but it seems morally and ethically wrong for these companies to prey on people's misfortune.

A job is not a job when you have to pay to work.

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