If I Was a Son of a Bitch I Could Earn a Million Dollars By the End of the Week
I posted the following article earlier this week and it struck a nerve:
20 Common Sales Scams Observed by a Former Salesperson Who Sold Everything
In pursuit of my writing career I worked 100 day jobs until I was able to sustain, many in sales. Warning signs follow.
Consider this one a sequel.
10 More Common Sales Scams That Scream “Rip-Off!”
Note: I have had personal experience with each and every one of the nonsense schemes as listed below. Not as a salesperson, but as a prospect who used to be a salesperson and knows better.
- Your doorbell rings. A complete stranger, usually flashing a placard or wearing a uniform that appears official, solicits a donation or sale from you. For example, he or she mentions the end of your driveway is about to be painted for clarity (“for a one-time fee”), or attempts to sell you on a new alarm system. As you explain your lack of interest, a partner of said salesperson is wandering in your backyard and looking through your windows. The next day, your house has been broken into. This scenario, by way of explanation, is the number one reason behind home invasion robberies in my city. Play it safe and do not accept door-to-door solicitations. And, if you believe this does not happen in apartments … you are wrong. If you are above the first floor, typically the salesperson will have a partner behind him to scope your place while your door is open.
- Be wary of any radio or television commercial selling you a product where a narrator speed reads the “small print,” which you cannot decipher, at its conclusion. This is done in the event the person/persons/company behind the commercial find themselves in legal trouble, due to a non-working product, or false advertising. The “small print’ can be something as simple as explaining “results are not guaranteed” to “this product is for entertainment purposes only” after preceding with nearly 30 or 60 seconds of dubious claims (or more in the event of an infomercial). The entity responsible for said advertising has an easy defense: A disclaimer was indeed read and it’s not their problem the purchaser could not comprehend it.
- You receive a phone call explaining you have “one last chance” to settle your tax debt. You may well have no tax debt, as neither states nor the IRS contacts U.S. citizens by phone.
- An email tells you a “legal judgement” has been filed against you due to a “bad debt.” It then says something to the effect of, “You have 48 hours to settle this debt or your social security number will be reported to the federal courts, your employer will be informed of your legal troubles, and authorities will come to your home and arrest you.” It’s a scam. Law does not work this way, neither in the U.S. nor most of the world. I receive emails such as this perhaps once every other month.
- Solicitations for donations, either by phone, email, or in person for non-existent political candidates. Do your diligence before you donate to anyone.
- Scam artists prey on the desperate, and many of us know someone who has suffered or passed from complications of Covid-19. Perhaps you have been personally impacted. Beware of anyone selling miracle cures, which many are saying includes hydroxychloroquine in their mix. Further, the shysters selling these “cures” are stating outright their “drug mix” has been available all along … but “politics” have gotten in the way of their dissemination. These scam artists are taking advantage of current politics, and political mixed messages. Don’t be a mark. There is no “cure” for Covid-19 at this time, regardless of your politics.
- Neither EDD nor any unemployment office outside of the U.S. will contact you directly to “verify” your social security or country ID numbers. Hang up the phone.
- To check suspicious emails — among them official-looking mailings (with company logos) asking you to “verify” your account information by sharing your social security number or debit/credit card information — click on the sender’s email address. That will usually tell the tale. For instance, “firstname.lastname@example.org” is not an official Verizon email address.
- “Your work ends and ours begins.” I saw this infomercial in reference to a book publishing company, and those opening words were an immediate red flag. I’ve written four novels, and a nonfiction book. I have friends considered “A-list” novelists. We all know once a book is published then the second phase of our work begins: extensive marketing including book tours and social media work, interviews and profiles, and so on. Paying a self-publishing service company an exorbitant fee — or any fee at all as far as I’m concerned — is a recipe for disaster. You will pay x amount of dollars for needless bookmarks, x amount of dollars for reviews (which are never negative), x amount of dollars for “marketing materials” … please don’t waste your money. Fellow writers, either find a publisher traditionally or publish the work on your own. Avoid service companies that charge for “extras” such as the above. They don’t work.
- Bypass anyone on the street offering a Scientology “personality test.” You will never pass that test. I use Scientology as a personal example here, though most cults have a similar seemingly innocuous method, which in reality is a gimmick, to draw you in and seduce you to spend money you don’t have. See here a story based on my personal example, back when I was a vulnerable young man in the midst of recovering from a failed relationship:
Once Upon a Time, I Fell Into a Cult
Guilty, as charged. When I've written about politics I've pejoratively referred to extreme-right supporters of our…
I needed answers, and I was ready to try anything.
That was my first mistake.
Over the years, as I mentioned in the first article linked above, in pursuit of my writing career I worked dozens of sales jobs. Finally, in 2005 I was able to sustain as a full-time writer … which nonetheless led me to study scams and warn others about what I encountered during my experiences.
If I took advantage and implemented any of the above scams today, and I worked around the clock, I’d earn a million dollars by Sunday.
Today is Wednesday.
As ever, keep your eyes open. Be smart.
You know the old saying, “What’s the quickest way to become a millionaire?”
Be a billionaire and invest in a scam.
Thank you for reading.
If you would like new stories and exclusive content sent directly to your inbox, please enter your email address to subscribe to my free newsletter. CLICK here:
Writing For Your Life
Honest, practical advice on the writer's life for both aspiring and experienced authors and screenwriters.
For those interested in a special emailed Sunday edition of “Writing For Your Life,” you can click here: