When I think of scammers, I imagine a group of people who live out in the woods, wear dark clothing, and spend hours daily interacting on craigslist. While my description is likely 100% accurate for at least one group of friends, the reality is, scamming comes in many different forms. Since the unemployment rate is so high in the U.S., I imagine some folks probably hop on the trend, as way to creatively make some cash...this seems like the likely explanation for the story you're about to read.
I received a first hand bizarre account of how a friend of mine almost got scammed through a woman she met at a yoga conference. She wanted me to share her story with you.
This story is written by Jessica Walsh, owner and blogger at YogiDance.
I recently was almost the victim of a scam. There are many of them out there, and I’ve heard stories, but never experienced it until last week. Let me start at the Yoga Journal Conference in NYC. I met a seemingly nice woman there who I chatted with for a short time. I exchanged information with her since I visit the city fairly frequently and thought we could get together next time I was there. I thought it was cool to meet someone who seemed so nice, and only thought good things; not associating people who go to yoga events with trying to scam you. Well, I was wrong!
About a month later I was in the area and we met up for lunch. We had a nice conversation, she told me about herself and I told her about me. I went on about my business and career goals. This is when she told me that in a few hours she was going to this event called, Superstar Machine. Where successful career and business people help you achieve your goals and give you advice. “It’s by invitation only,” she told me, and I thought, wow this is really cool. What a great opportunity that would be. Unfortunately I had to get home and was not able to go with her. I was bummed, but said maybe next time I could come to it, because it’s monthly.
We caught up after a few weeks with a phone call. I was telling her what was going on in my life, and shared a situation I was having with a guy I was interested in. “What do you think I should do?” I asked her. “I think you should come on International Hot School!” She exclaimed. I never heard of it before and she told me that it is a monthly conference call, like a talk show type thing where you get advice to help with your “man woes” and it totally transformed her relationship with her boyfriend. I’m always interested in improving how I handle my relationships and thought it would be interesting to check out. She said she’d see if she could get me on the call because you have to be invited. Low and behold, I was invited to join the call one night.
I called in, and was joined by this girl and her friend who were, “super hotties” and they told me and whoever else was on the call how great it is and how much better your life will be and guys will just be so attracted to you, and you learn how not to be a “crazy bitch.” That’s about when I realized that she was selling to me. Which I thought, okay this is a little strange but I’ll just go with it. I thought this girl was my friend and I wanted to keep it that way. After they hyped it up, and sold it completely over the top for a good half hour, we finally get “International” on the call, the man who gives advice to these women, supposedly. They cut us off early and we go into the “party room” another line where they try to really sell it to us. That’s when they finally say that it’s $100 a month.
I immediately start thinking about how I’m going to tell her nicely that I’m not interested. They go on and on about how it’s such a great energy, and no more crazy bitch and the most over the top stuff, but really targeting women’s weaknesses and being super manipulative. Finally they say that they have to discuss whether or not we’re the right fit to join International Hot School and they will let us know tomorrow, then we have one day (or something like that) to join. She calls me the next day so excited to tell me that I got in. Wow, I was so surprised, obviously not. I politely told her, “I am on a budget and do not have the money for that right now, but thanks so much for thinking of me and sharing it with me. Maybe in the future I’ll consider it.”
Well, she wasn’t hearing it, so she got her other friend on the phone and she was supposed to take my payment. I reiterated that I’m not able to do it right now, and they then told me it was lame that I couldn’t afford it. To which I thought was rude. She said it would bring me money to do this, and would be so great for my life and career. Then I asked, is there a website for this? Do you have online resources? No to both. I told them that I wasn’t comfortable giving my credit card info over the phone. She was like, I understand that. I continued to say that I would expect to see a website, so there’s some credibility and I just don’t think this is something I can do, sorry.
Then their whole nice attitude quickly changed and they were like, uh I guess this isn’t right for you. Well, good luck out there! So we hung up and I was really surprised at the whole thing and not sure what to think of it all. Then half hour later this girl, who I thought was my friend calls me. I answer and she says, “what happened on that call? You were acting really lame!” I thought, what is she trying to do, this is so strange. I said I was sorry and I just didn’t feel comfortable doing it. “Don’t be sorry for me, I’m sorry for you! You are going to have such a hard time. Good luck out there. Bye.” That was that, and I was glad it was over!
I just couldn’t believe what lengths this girl went to to try to sell this to me. They mentioned that the Superstar Machine is run by this same “International” guy, so she was trying it right from the start. It was really a shame to know that these women are perfectly fine with exploiting other women’s weaknesses and I just had to share my experience. I hope that no one else falls for this, and if you hear of either of these things, RUN!!