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This is why we dont build on spec anymore
September 10, 2007 10:09 AM   Subscribe

Columbia Law grad is scammed, along with 78 other professionals, into working for free for weeks. Craigslist, some detective work, and the unusual motivation behind the scam all contribute to this interesting story of internets-related shenanigans.
posted by crunchywelch (64 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's really true that anyone can be conned and it's only after-the-fact that it appears so obviously a con. To the mark, anyway. Maybe other people, not involved, might better detect them.

This story is slightly reminiscent of how my father got conned when he was a college student (married and with a young child, me). Some guy came to town and went to the university's business department asking for pointers to a student he could hire to help him do research. My dad had a good reputation among the people the conman asked and so they just recommended him.

The conman had him working in the university library, doing various research, for about a week. He was to be paid at the end of the research.

After about a week passed, the conman had my dad cash bad checks around town—I don't recall the details of this highly suspect task and how it might have been not so suspicious. All the checks bounced, the guy disappeared, and my dad was left holding the bag.

Charges weren't, but could have been, filed against my father. Instead, he went to the president of one of the local banks and begged for a loan to cover all the checks. Then he worked at an additional part-time job—while he already had a full-time job and was a full-time college student—to pay off the loan in the required six months or so that it was termed for.

This has never been talked about by him, as far as I know, and I only am aware of it because I came across the newspaper clipping about it (which was pretty sympathetic to the “college student”) while going through a keepsakes box when I was about 20. Then I think my mom told me more details.

The thing is, though, is that my father is one of the smartest and most wordly people I've known. He taught me to be skeptical from my earliest memories. I've sometimes wondered if perhaps he wasn't so worldly and skeptical until after his experience being conned (and very publicly so, in a small town). But I sometimes use his story as a reminder of how easy it is to be conned.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:29 AM on September 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Huh. I think I wanted a little bit more.
posted by OmieWise at 10:30 AM on September 10, 2007


"Lawyer Discovers Own Greed" could've read the headline.
posted by jsavimbi at 10:32 AM on September 10, 2007


Wow. That's a story. Thanks.
posted by xmutex at 10:35 AM on September 10, 2007


Stealing Labor? Insane. Of all the things I think I've heard of stealing or conning I'd never heard of that. Wow. I guess it's pretty obvious.
posted by delmoi at 10:35 AM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Leech Suckered"
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:37 AM on September 10, 2007


A very enjoyable read, thanks! I was expecting the thread to be full of "hurf durf dumb lawyr" comments by people who ignored the fact that she'd preempted them with "Boy, had we been stupid!"; I'm glad I was wrong (except for jsavimbi—wow, dude, keep stickin' it to the man! glad you don't care about money!).

Good post.
posted by languagehat at 10:40 AM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


As I was reading it, the whole time I was thinking the guy at the top just wanted to fill websites with adsense-generating income, based on their obscure research topics. If there are no resources on Slovanian investing, wouldn't it be a pretty lucrative to run a site about it and be the sole source of info online about the topic?
posted by mathowie at 10:44 AM on September 10, 2007


The conclusion is pretty strange.
posted by delmoi at 10:48 AM on September 10, 2007


As I was reading it, the whole time I was thinking the guy at the top just wanted to fill websites with adsense-generating income, based on their obscure research topics. If there are no resources on Slovanian investing, wouldn't it be a pretty lucrative to run a site about it and be the sole source of info online about the topic?

That's what I thought too. And I still think that, actually.
posted by delmoi at 10:49 AM on September 10, 2007


"jsavimbi and Alvy Ampersand Are Dicks"

Did you guys even read it? The author had a lot of reasons for accepting the job. Not wanting to "take my dog for walks on the neighborhood beach and cried a lot" while being "officially too old to be blowup-bed surfing or living with my parents" is greed, now? You're a leech when you can't sell a book you spent a year writing?

Remind me never to fall on hard times, or at least never mention it on MetaFilter. Some of you may think I'm a shithole for not being an internationally successful cynic.

The punchline of the whole story is classic.
posted by Plutor at 10:53 AM on September 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


That's an incredible story, E.B. Con men prey on dreams and desperation. He probably had your dad cash the bad checks by telling him he'd get paid out of the cash, which is usually how these things work.

This stuff happens all the time - "design me website/logo for me, I'll pay you on approval", "do XYZ for me in your spare time, it's easy for you."

Ask the person for some very tiny amount of cash up front, as good faith. Not "let me take you to lunch." You want the person to go through the process of actually transferring money to you. This has the advantage of separating both the scammers and the cheapskates who never would have paid you anything ever.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:55 AM on September 10, 2007


When I was dating, I had a rule. The first time the thought "She might not call" came into my head, she was gone, she would not call. I imagine being scammed is the same way.

Enjoyable read, thank you.
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 10:57 AM on September 10, 2007



That's what I thought too. And I still think that, actually.
posted by delmoi at 1:49 PM on September 10 [+]


But the story said there were programmers. What program did they write? Can they release it to the public?
posted by Pastabagel at 10:57 AM on September 10, 2007


Anyone else thinking this John McDonald guy read The Great Gatsby too much?
posted by Mach5 at 10:58 AM on September 10, 2007


I am thinking that this story is about as credible as Gerald Edward. Perhaps I am just too much the cynic.
posted by caddis at 11:01 AM on September 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


That reminds me. I signed up for Match.com briefly several years ago. I hadn't even been active on this site when I was contacted by a member who sent me sweepingly-romantic poems dripping with affection and desperation. I didn't respond. Then somehow he figured out my e-mail address. My guess is that he Googled my Match username, found a site of mine, and went from there, but I'm not sure. From that point, he started e-mailing me as if he were interested in hiring me to work as a designer for his... get his... nuclear weapons development company. He had a contract with the government, he told me, and could get me top security clearance. I didn't respond to this or to any other messages he sent me, but the messages kept coming.

I researched his name and his company. He was registered with Dun & Bradstreet and some other business registries as a nuclear weapons contractor. Further investigation turned up results on a message board for my city where several people exchanged stories of their related experiences.

A few years prior, he'd been masquerading as a photographer with a "modeling agency" under the same company name. His specialty was child models. He promised he could get them into major ads and even movies. I don't know if he was exceptionally convincing or if the parents were idiots, but they were taking their kids to his office - which was a trailer loaded with photographic equipment and photos of young models. After he took their pictures, he promised he'd send them the proofs. These proofs never came. Neither did the opportunities. Nobody ever heard from him again until someone threatened to sue him. Then he responded with either threats or insults about their children.

The police got involved, and it was finally revealed that he was mentally ill. He did brief jail time but couldn't be held long. At the time he e-mailed me, he was living in his mother's trailer... just down the street from my apartment. I passed my findings on to Match, and he was banned. I canceled my Match account after that.
posted by katillathehun at 11:02 AM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


The author had a lot of reasons for accepting the job. Not wanting to "take my dog for walks on the neighborhood beach and cried a lot" while being "officially too old to be blowup-bed surfing or living with my parents" is greed, now?

With a college education and a law degree even, I really doubt that she would have had serious trouble finding a job to keep her out of her parents' house and not crying from poverty. A job that she wasn't too good to do, or a job that generated a huge amount of cash for not much real work? That might be harder to find.

As an example, after the scam broke she seemed to have no problem getting a position with a temp agency. It just didn't earn her 14k a month to sit at home naked and talk to Slovenia on the phone.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:15 AM on September 10, 2007


Did you guys even read it? - Plutor

I sure did! It was a good, interesting article, but saying "Hey, thanks for the good, interesting article!" all the time gets old, so I often resort to silly jokes to show my appreciation and interest.

Please forgive me for my pithy lawyer joke, Plutor. And rest assured I would never think you a shithole, just occasionally priggish.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:16 AM on September 10, 2007


Totally bizarre. Seconding, delmoi, the conclusion is utterly strange: scamming for love with someone who is physically incapable of desiring you...

However, if the scammer has perpetrated securities fraud in the past, I'd be weary that he could still fiddle with my bank account if it did contain money and/or use my SS#. They should totally hunt him down and press charges.

That said, I can't help but admire people who hatch and execute scams ... something so brazen and elaborate and ballsy about it.
posted by Azaadistani at 11:19 AM on September 10, 2007


I am thinking that this story is about as credible as Gerald Edward. Perhaps I am just too much the cynic.

I don't buy it, either. Real life does not have hilarious and pithy endings. I feel like the only true story in that article is the one about the writer who is having trouble selling his book.
posted by tracert at 11:19 AM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


margaret sent out instructions that we were each to come up with a motivational quote and use it in our company email signature line...

"never give a sucker an even break."
posted by bruce at 11:22 AM on September 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


With a college education and a law degree even, I really doubt that she would have had serious trouble finding a job to keep her out of her parents' house and not crying from poverty. A job that she wasn't too good to do, or a job that generated a huge amount of cash for not much real work? That might be harder to find.

She was also able to find work in Guam. I don't think the problem was that she was unemployable, but perhaps she was kind of lazy and didn't want to do crap work. So what? I don't think that makes her that unsympathetic. We don't know the time frame either, between when she got back from Guam and started working at the 'scam'.
posted by delmoi at 11:24 AM on September 10, 2007


Actually I was wondering if Arin Greenwood was a man or woman, but google indicates that she's a woman.
posted by delmoi at 11:29 AM on September 10, 2007


This article was confusing, I needed to read it 3 times to understand everything that happened. What I kept noticing though were all the times the author noted how this "looked weird" and then just decided to shrug and go with it.

To be honest, I got "conned" on Craigslist once as well. I answered a post that was, to their credit, amazing well-written as not to look like a spam trap, and of course that evening I got a response saying to tale further I just needed to sign up on this particular website and search for (name here.) Knowing it was a trap I signed up with a Mailinator address and sure enough, it was just a marketing site.

So I understand how you can fall for something like that initially- but it just seems that there were so many moments when the author knew this was a trick and wanted to just ride it out.

I feel like, especially with Craigslist, you can avoid 99% of cons, both in employment and in personal ads and seller offers, simply by following some really simple rules:

1. If they're looking for "the best in the business" for any reason whatsoever, than they have no reason to be searching on a free website and not a professional job search engine.

2. If they're not willing to talk over the phone, they're scamming you.

3. If they want any excessive personal information before offering theirs, they're scamming you.

Basically, it really comes down to "is this person looking for a way to not give you any permanent contact information?" The more quickly that answer is "yes," the more likely it's a con job.

Also, katilla, I was really considering looking into Match.com, and I'd like to thank you for convincing me not to.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:30 AM on September 10, 2007


Real life does not have hilarious and pithy endings.

With proper editing it does.
posted by thatswherebatslive at 11:40 AM on September 10, 2007 [9 favorites]


I got sucked into some kind of a scam in 1991. My "employers" had rented a beautiful townhouse in the low 60s in Manhattan and had it decorated, to the hilt, by one of the most prestigous decorators in the city. During the few months that we were "in business", several international, adventurer types showed up to pitch schemes. Money was spent lavishly, we were paid sometimes, but no business was ever done. Every one legitimate associated with us smelled a foul odor and told me so. A threatening fax showed up one day to the effect that the full force of the USSR (last year or so of its existance) would be used against us if we did not turn over the townhouse to their representative. No one showed up but my boss left the country, and that was that. I returned unpaid for antiques, sold some of the paid for ones, and kept a few momentos.

I'm a Wharton School graduate, had a lot of expenses, and needed a job at the time.
posted by Marygwen at 11:51 AM on September 10, 2007


The police got involved, and it was finally revealed that he was mentally ill. He did brief jail time but couldn't be held long. At the time he e-mailed me, he was living in his mother's trailer... just down the street from my apartment. I passed my findings on to Match, and he was banned. I canceled my Match account after that.
Many many years ago, a friend of mine ran into Dennis Leary online. Or at least, someone who -- after chatting for a few weeks -- admitted to her that he was Dennis Leary. They flirted a lot and went back and forth and one day, he admitted that he had feelings for her. He'd written some poetry for her, in fact. Unfortunately it turned out to be poetry I had written and published on the web months earlier. And Dennis Leary turned out to be a mentally unbalanced woman named Nancy.
posted by verb at 11:54 AM on September 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


If it's a shaggy dog story, it's a great one.
posted by dw at 12:01 PM on September 10, 2007


That's a great story and a great ending.
posted by empath at 12:03 PM on September 10, 2007


I got suckered into attending a 2-hour Primerica recruitment meeting once, when I was between jobs. Despite the intensely creepy, rah-rah cult-like vibes and the insipid "YOU can live your dreams!®" patter, I remained convinced that at any moment someone would finally say "OK, here's how much we pay, you'll be doing some filing and some data entry...", which I kept believing right up until they mentioned the $200 "one time, fully refundable licensing fee". I beat a hasty retreat feeling like I'd had my head literally in the lion's mouth. It was only two hours but I still curse myself for even giving them that much.
posted by anazgnos at 12:06 PM on September 10, 2007


I wonder if the people who sued him ever got anywhere.

The thing I always find depressing about scams is the number of people who, having been scammed, just roll over and give up. It's probably the biggest thing that allows scams to be successful: if people always fought back, the risk/benefit for the scammer would be very different.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:06 PM on September 10, 2007


Hm. Now I'm thinking that I shouldn't accept the unsolicit4ed email job offer that I just received from the China Metal Lurgical Company.

And I though I would have been a very a capable and dynamic Sales Adviser, too.
posted by googly at 12:16 PM on September 10, 2007


I got suckered into attending a 2-hour Primerica recruitment meeting once, when I was between jobs. Despite the intensely creepy, rah-rah cult-like vibes and the insipid "YOU can live your dreams!®" patter, I remained convinced that at any moment someone would finally say "OK, here's how much we pay, you'll be doing some filing and some data entry...", which I kept believing right up until they mentioned the $200 "one time, fully refundable licensing fee". I beat a hasty retreat feeling like I'd had my head literally in the lion's mouth. It was only two hours but I still curse myself for even giving them that much.

Ugh, a friend of mine just got into that, (like three days ago) and was telling me I needed to re-do my student loans. I'll have to ask her about the $200 fee. The this site seems to indicate they are at least somewhat 'legitimate' but it seems very scammy.
posted by delmoi at 12:29 PM on September 10, 2007


Primerica may be "legitimate" under the letter of the law, but they're just very, very creepy people. The only people who seem to work there (as in stay for more than a week or so) are people who have these totally delusional Willy Lomax x1000 attitudes.

The company makes a lot of their Citigroup association (their corporate history is pretty convoluted) and goes to great lengths to combat accusations of being a cult or Multi-Level Marketing, but if anything is, they is.
posted by anazgnos at 12:34 PM on September 10, 2007


Mach5: Anyone else thinking this John McDonald guy read The Great Gatsby too much?

*Raises hand*

Pathological liars and con men are so damned interesting. He's also reminiscent of Tom Ripley.
posted by Skygazer at 12:36 PM on September 10, 2007


Willy Loman x1000 attitudes

aaargh...
posted by anazgnos at 12:40 PM on September 10, 2007


Paging David Mamet to thread #64577,
posted by basicchannel at 12:41 PM on September 10, 2007


Hm. Great story. But if I think about how much free consulting work legit companies have screwed out of me during the "interviewing process" when I applied for jobs then these scammers don't look very good. Two weeks of free work? Pfff...
posted by yoyo_nyc at 12:53 PM on September 10, 2007


It's unfortunate because the sort of low-cost, temporary employment offered by sites like Craigslist can be great both for companies and the legions of workers out there looking to make a little more money on the side. It should be SOP in this case to simply insist on a little money up front. Any decent firm should submit to a reasonable retainer or the equivalent (ie some sort of preliminary consultation) and it's the surest way to drive off scammers.

But yeah, $50m to blow through by the end of the summer and an attempt to buy the WSJ... hilarious.
posted by nixerman at 1:03 PM on September 10, 2007


Ethereal Bligh writes "He taught me to be skeptical from my earliest memories."

Which suggests me that he really "felt scammed" , meaning that his self confidence was harmed by that event. I think some people have emotional traces , even after years, of the feeling of being powerless and (expecially) out of control. I guess a young father/mother with quite some sense of responsability toward the young child and the companion could feel some unhealthy sense of guilt for not being able to protect himself from a scammer , becoming overly defensive (because of the inconscious sense of fear).
posted by elpapacito at 1:03 PM on September 10, 2007


I don't buy it, it could be done in small numbers but with that many people all communicating with eachother they'd catch on before that.

Prove me wrong though: Anybody found the craigslist post referred to?
posted by fvw at 1:11 PM on September 10, 2007


Primerica is about as legitimate as Amway and about as lucrative.

I got sucked into one of those some years ago. I actually called their office by accident when I was a telemarketer, and talked to a woman named Adrienne Bowman. Adrienne Bowman asked me what I did for a living and what I was going to college for. I told her about the degree I was working toward at the time, and I was given a pitch about how they were hiring "computer people" like me, and asked that I come by and talk about opportunities.

I drove out to the "interview" one afternoon, and had a presentation about Net Worth and retirement and money and junk, and it all sounded gravy until she got to the $200 fee. I noted that $200 is a sizeable portion of my at the time $7/hr salary, to which Adrienne Bowman responded "Oh, if spending $200 is a problem, then you definitely need this program." I, young, and polite to a fault, declined again and again, and she went on some chiding tirade about opportunity and 'if you walk out that door now, you're NOT coming back.' I agreed with her, and left, only to have her say "If you ever change your mind, you have my number!" I felt so damn icky after that.

On the way home, my transmission died and I had to have my car towed. I'm pretty sure Primerica had nothing to do with it, but the association stands. The whole experience was a grand waste of time, and was extremely discomforting, being cornered and pressured in such a fashion. At risk of sounding dramatic, I felt violated.

I'll never forget the name Adrienne Bowman for as long as I live.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 1:12 PM on September 10, 2007


“Primerica may be "legitimate" under the letter of the law, but they're just very, very creepy people. The only people who seem to work there (as in stay for more than a week or so) are people who have these totally delusional Willy Lomax x1000 attitudes.”

There's always these sorts of people/companies that prey on the people who will believe the hype. It's weird. I went to one thing like this, some insurance thing, and I was sure it was some kind of pyramid marketing thing before I went. After about three minutes, I was sure, even though there wasn't direct evidence of it. Basically, it the message is "get rich doing nothing! It's easy! Get rich! Did I mention getting rich?” then it's pretty obvious. But so many people don't wonder how it is that it could be so easy to get rich doing nothing and no one knows about it even thought he people telling you this are trying to tell everyone about it.

But people are credulous when they see what they think is an opportunity. That's how these things are sold, right?

elpapacito, you might be on to something with that. But he was pretty cynical from the get-go.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:19 PM on September 10, 2007


Yeah, it is easy to be scammed via Craigslist jobs. Mine never came to anything, btw - they got figured out, noone ever tried to take any money from me, it all just sort of went away. And now I don't think I'd ever even bother answering a Craigslist ad for online work again, which is a drag, because I could still use some.
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:27 PM on September 10, 2007


"My brother said, 'You know, it’s that kind of cockiness that would make someone brazen enough to cheat a bunch of lawyers. You all think no one would cheat you, so you let down your guard.'"
posted by ericb at 2:04 PM on September 10, 2007


I don't know why people think this guy is such a leech/greedy bastard. I mean he had no real job prospects, had to live with his parents, etc. So he takes a miserable 10-12 hour a day job doing inane research that seems basically pointless for a big paycheck. I mean that's what being a lawyer is. And he is a Columbia law grad, I mean that sort of money is what starting lawyers make at big firms.

I mean some alarm bells should have gone off when he couldn't google the company, but the guy chose to work a boring job, rather than sit on his parents couch and play nintendo until his "big break" came.
posted by whoaali at 2:20 PM on September 10, 2007


Real life does not have hilarious and pithy endings.

Just like you to come pithing on the thread.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:45 PM on September 10, 2007


The story reminds me of Janet Malcolm's book, The Crime of Sheila McGough. Great book, and, like this story, gets into the mentality of con artists as well as the mentality of people who fall for them.
posted by jayder at 2:49 PM on September 10, 2007


Great stuff. Hard to imagine a Columbia law grad being as broke as this cat and unable to do anything better about it. But then again, maybe it isn't. I laughed my ass off anyway, so thanks.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:10 PM on September 10, 2007


She whoaali, she
posted by ob at 3:12 PM on September 10, 2007


I thought Arin with an A was masculine? but really I have no idea.
posted by whoaali at 3:46 PM on September 10, 2007


XQUZYPHYR, as for your rules of craigslist employment: popular, well-known employers like Google look through and hire from craigslist. And they only hire "the best of the best" I wouldn't knock it. That said, they definitely follow your other rules.
posted by kenneth at 4:36 PM on September 10, 2007


I can't laugh at them, since I've been suckered into at least one stupid-assed business venture online.

Mine was a little different - leasing a webserver from a punk in Amsterdam - I was able to get my money back by way of alerting my credit card company. Still can't believe I fell for it. Only desperate people fall for stupid-assed cons, and I was pretty desperate at the time.

Live and learn, and learn again.
posted by rougy at 7:25 PM on September 10, 2007


Craigslist scams are pretty common. For translators, there's the sample scam: tell someone you need them to translate a page of material to make sure that their work is up to par. If you get enough respondents to each translate a page for free, you can send in the whole document and PROFIT!

People who are just getting started as freelancers can be desperate enough to believe something like this in spite of their common sense.
posted by bijou at 8:22 PM on September 10, 2007


Only the best need apply. $21k for full time

is it just me, or does that, on craigslist no less, automatically jump out on the bs meter? esp for a lawyer?
posted by fuzzypantalones at 9:21 PM on September 10, 2007


Frankly, I initially found the story unbelievable - it took several leaps that made me think the whole thing was fiction.

I did some searching, though, and I was able to find an earlier ad from the same company (google cache).

So at least part of it checks out. I still suspect that the ending is phony (beginning with her obtaining the "fooledyou" password) but if I was involved in something like that I'd want to imagine that I finally uncovered the answer to the whole thing too.

I imagine the perpetrator's real motivation was either an investment scam or mental illness. I have trouble believing he Did It All For Love.

I still think that craigslist ad should have set off a hundred red flags for just about anyone...
posted by mmoncur at 11:56 PM on September 10, 2007


Interesting story. I can easily understand how someone desperate could fall for this, and I feel some sympathy for Arin and her (arguably) desperate employment situation. However, by choosing to move to Saipan and work on a novel for a year, well, that's the choice that she made, to give up the 160K/year starting salary and lifelong career track available to nearly all Columbia Law grads, to live on a tropical island and have more personal time to be an artist. It's a risk, especially if she still has lots of law school debt. But, even so, you know, it's not that hard for an admitted attorney, especially from a top school to get temporary legal work making $25-40/hour, plus overtime. It kind of sounds like she just wanted to work from home in her PJs instead of biting the bullet and getting an office job. Again it's a lifestyle decision...

The closest experience I have had involved "bartending school." When I first moved to NYC, right after 9/11, with a liberal arts BA, I was rapidly running out of money and needed a job. I thought being a bartender would be fun and the money sounded good, but I had no experience. I thought the only way I could break into the business was to go to bartending school. I visited one of them and was ushered into the office of this guy who told me all about their success in placing people, told me a few glamorous stories about the places he's worked and the money he made, and then asked me if I was ready to sign up for the $800 40-hour course. When I hesitated, he offhandedly mentioned that they only had a few spaces left and that when those filled up there wouldn't be any classes available for a few months. I ended up signing up right there.

I wouldn't exactly call the school a scam, but from my limited experience in interviewing for bartending jobs after completing the program, I don't think the "certification" was very useful. I interviewed at about 20 places over two weeks, and while I got a few signs of interest, ultimately nothing ever came of it. I kind of wonder if these bars and clubs (which I found though the "job openings" website that enrollment in the school gave me access to, a big selling point of the program) had some kind of understanding with the bartending school that they would feign interest in its graduates.

Ultimately another job came through and I stopped looking for bartending gigs. But when I was unemployed in Manhattan, with a one-month sublease rapidly running out, I WANTED so badly to believe that $800 and a "bartending certificate" would be my ticket to a glamourous, high-paying bartending job that I went for it without much critical thought. I still see lots of ads in the "Resumes" section of NY Craig's List of people who want to be bartenders, and whose only qualification is a certificate from one of those bartending schools. As long as there are desperate people moving to Manhattan, I think those schools will be printing money and the scams will work.
posted by banishedimmortal at 12:00 AM on September 11, 2007


More verification of the story:

- A comment (scroll down) from someone else about this scam in July

- The lawsuit the writer referred to

I'll stop being skeptical now. Also, even if it was partially fiction, it was very well written and I wish the author the best.
posted by mmoncur at 12:03 AM on September 11, 2007


A good story, well told. Thanks.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:00 AM on September 11, 2007


If there are no resources on Slovanian investing, wouldn't it be a pretty lucrative to run a site about it and be the sole source of info online about the topic?

There are actually; plenty, in fact. She seems to have made it seem more strenuous and obscure than it actually is. Just off the top of my head: Slovenia Business Week, The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, The Slovenia Times, and Slovenia Partner all have reams of information about investing here. And all of them are in English.

I find it hard to believe that she would need 8-12 hours a day "trying to figure out" if Slovenia has a stock market. (It does)

Nor can I imagine that a random page about investing in Slovenia would turn out to be very lucrative, although I could be wrong...
posted by Ljubljana at 4:58 AM on September 11, 2007


I find it hard to believe that she would need 8-12 hours a day "trying to figure out" if Slovenia has a stock market.

Maybe that's the point. Anybody with "google-fu" that weak is bound to get scammed. If she had a more unstoppable google fighting technique, she could have figured out the scam in five seconds.
posted by jonp72 at 9:37 AM on September 11, 2007


I still suspect that the ending is phony (beginning with her obtaining the "fooledyou" password)

Particularly since admitting to using the password to knowingly open and look through someone else's e-mail account is admitting to a crime, whether they scammed you first or not. Seems like it would be bad for her future prospects and bad for the lawsuit to admit that.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:08 AM on September 11, 2007


I love that someone can post a comment here about Slovenian investment websites and within hours someone else links to four of them off the top of their head. I'm not being sarcastic...I genuinely love that about this place.
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:46 PM on September 11, 2007


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