A New Gift From Self-Help Gurus

A New Gift From Self-Help Gurus
Hannes Johnson

Scams are as old as time, but self-help gurus lowered the bar

Most self-help involves taking advantage of people who are already desperate. On writing sites, there are always articles from writers with vague suggestions on how to improve your work or SEO strategy, which are typically followed by an invitation to a free webinar, where you can learn how to sign up and pay for supposedly more informative webinars.

Now, several seemingly legitimate corporations appear to be doing something akin to the self-help gurus.

Desperate people need work, so these companies put up employment opportunities with no intention of hiring anyone. They just want to collect as much personal information as possible and sell it off to as many other scammers as possible.

I have a job, but I'm not happy with it, so I keep on looking, and try to be as careful as possible. I confirm the website and all of the other information is legit, but with VPNs increasingly in play and more automated call-in systems, it has become more difficult to confirm any "opportunity" or speak with anyone, and I started to see increases in SPAM after applying to work for corporations that are household names.

There is a lag, so I can't point the finger at anyone for sure, but if I see a job that's asking for references, I stop applying immediately unless I can confirm with an actual person that the job in question is real.

I used to write that references are available upon personal request via telephone, but that still involves leaving some of my contact information available.

I'm always looking for a better job, but places that were once legitimate are now selling courses or certificates in the guise of jobs. Unless you read carefully, these emails appear to be job offers, or links to apply.

Despite my due diligence, I've gone from receiving one or two SPAM emails a week to over a dozen a day.

It's annoying, as while you can report and block, there are an endless number of email addresses available, and these pricks always manage to find a way back into your inbox.

Even if you get a "real job," the pay is worse every year versus inflation and cost of living, As far as health insurance or the unemployment insurance we've paid for, good luck getting a health insurance company to cover anything before paying a now enormous deductible first, or getting unemployment insurance unless you're willing to go to court.

While I'm primarily a proofreader, a significant part of my day is spent auditing the clinicians who write the letters I check and edit, trying to figure out why letters have failed--or whether it was the clinician's fault or a technical problem--and with four different managers who are almost as screwed as I am, there's no one held accountable except for the other proofreaders and clinicians.

It's busy now, but even when it's slow, there's always something to do, and the more work you do, the more work you get stuck with. If I clean up my queue, they ask me to help on another, and if they're all cleared up, it's time for another "educational" module.

You never get a moment of peace, and it's insane how many modules I'm required to watch and be tested on concerning proper workplace behavior when I've never even been to the office. I'm working from home officially forever, or quitting if they ever try dragging me in.

For people who need a job, they have to role the dice and cross their fingers.

The more desperate and older people are, the more likely they are to fall for obvious scams, and while over 99% of SPAM and robocalls are unsuccessful--there's only 1 reply for every 12,500,000 emails sent--they still waste an enormous amount of time and energy.

If you go to shady websites and plug in your credit card number, you're fair game, but if you're trying to apply for a job with an A rating from investment firms that just about everyone in the US knows is--or at least was--relatively legitimate, what the hell can you do?

A lot of us put up our resumes on Indeed, Linkedin, Monster, or other employment sites, so our information is out there to be scraped anyway and most "legitimate" corporate jobs want a link to your Linkedin profile.

There's also nothing stopping most trusted companies from offering real jobs and maybe even hiring you, but selling your personal information anyway, and even if they refrain or are not legally allowed to do so, most payroll and insurance plans are outsourced, so no matter what you do, your information is going everywhere.

I left social media once I started seeing questions about your "porn name." It's the name of the street you grew up on followed by the name of your first pet or elementary school.

Do any of these questions sound familiar, like say when you're confirming your identity to your bank?

So now we have two-factor authorization, which is expensive, typically outsourced, and makes it a pain in the ass to log into work even if it's working properly.

The bottom line is that it's more work. If you want to log in on time, you have to start at least five minutes early just in case there's a technical problem.

I mute my phone while I'm working, but it still buzzes and I still have to check it. I have elderly relatives and can't afford to completely ignore the stupid phone, which has become a life-draining tether, and of course 99% of the time, it's a robocall or a SPAM text, but sometimes, it's a friend or relative who needs help getting to a hospital.

Taking advantage of a person's improbable dream is bad enough.

Adding more obstacles to them becoming gainfully employed is vindictive and kind of pointless.

What exactly do these idiots plan to do, steal your student loan or credit card debt?

They always end up going after my mom, and luckily, either my sister or I have been there to tell her to stop, or that she's in the middle of being scammed.

The only thing I've learned from self-help gurus is that partaking in that kind of fraud is a line I refuse to cross.

But you have inspired a whole new crop of scumbags, so congratulations.

I hope those webinar payments were worth it.

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