Have you ever a sign like the one above while you are out driving? Ever wonder what the deal is with them? Recently, I’ve received a couple requests to write about this scam, so here’s the deal.
What we have here is a multi-level marketing scam.
Nearly always handwritten on cheap plastic posterboard and zip-tied to signs and posts, these signs are found nationwide, utilizing different phone numbers.
To me it’s intuitively ridiculous. Why / how / would / could anyone even consider an “opportunity” like this, given the poor level of presentation?
But you don’t have to be a former Federal agent or a professional private investigator (like me) to have an internal BS meter that goes off, screaming “this is a scam”.
And in fact, what we have here is a multi-level marketing scam.
The signs want you to call a phone number for more information. This is the first thing you should not do, even if you’re curious about the scam, as you will end up on their robo-dialer callback list.
The “seminar” is where the swindle from the high-pressure salesmen really begins.
We visited one of these seminars in Los Angeles at the beginning of the year. The hype at these events is insane. There is a frenzy of emotions generated by the carnival-barker moderator, who uses every psychological sales trick in the book to manipulate you into paying into a multi-level marketing scheme.
It is truly amazing how gullible and/or desperate people really are, and most of them seemed to fall for the scam.
If you interested in the details of what actually goes on at these events, Realtor Bill Petrey has an excellent write-up over at his blog, Really Rotten Realty.
While we’re on the topic of handwritten sign scams, maybe you’ve seen the sign that reads “STUDENT SEEKS CAR FOR $1500”, handwritten on cardboard. You might also notice this sign posted all over multiple towns in your area – so the “student” obviously has a car. This is simply a play off the emotions: The con artist wants their mark (often seniors) to sell their car at a price much lower than market value because they are supposedly a student. Buy low, sell high.
Do your community a favor: If you see these signs posted in your area, take them down and trash them.
An update on the Michael Ryan Peterson case.