How I Almost Got Scammed (Part 1)

In December of last year, I (a sophomore in college) decided to open up a LinkedIn account and get the ball rolling on networking. I go to a not-target school and realized (thanks to WSO and M&I) that networking was one of the best ways I could break into investment banking. So one night I sat down and sent out connection requests to a shit ton of people (in hindsight, at that time I had no clue what networking really was, to me it constituted of just sending out mass requests on LinkedIn to people who DID NOT even work in the industry......maybe I deserved what was coming) and went to bed all satisfied with myself for all the networking I did.....

The next morning I get a message from someone -Lets call him X- I sent out a request to saying "Did you get the message I sent you?"

Curious, I wrote back saying that I didn't get any message and told him that he might have me confused with someone else. X writes back saying that he is working with a lot of students from my school on a social media project and would like me to join (I should mention that his LinkedIn page says he went to my school and did his post grad from Harvard, TIP: For those new to LinkedIn, not everyone is who they say they are so proceed with caution). I was very excited to hear this as I only did one internship before and that was not in the United States. This would be a great addition to my resume.

So we message back and forth a few more times to get to know each other a bit better. X asked me what I was studying and what I wanted to do and I told him that I had an interest in banking. To my surprise he said that he worked in real estate investment banking (RED FLAG 1- his profile had no mention of investment banking and bankers don't contact random students). I asked him what his work is like and what project he was working on. He was reluctant to answer any questions saying he rather not discuss these matters over the internet (this should have been RED FLAG 2) and he would like me to speak to his associate and set up a meeting time to discuss about the project. I gave X my number and waited for his associate - Lets call him Y- to call, and the next day he did.

Now, Y had to be a scam artist in training (in my opinion) because he was not very good at his job, unlike X who was more convincing and consistent (although in retrospect, he wasn't that great either). Y and I spoke twice before our meeting. On the first call he said he was a senior at my school and was about to graduate. He was also in the same major I was and worked in real estate investment banking. He asked me if I would go to a presentation that X was doing for their investors about the project citing that bankers from JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, HSBC and Goldman would be there (I kid you not....and also RED FLAG 3). Although I was intrigued, I told him I would let him know because I had plans that night (I didn't but it was at 8:30 PM somewhere in Brooklyn and I was a bit suspicious that they would have business presentations that late on a Sunday). I later messaged him that I would not make it, expecting fully to get no further responses from him. He called me 30 minutes later asking if he could come to my place at a time when I'm free (I said no) or maybe meet at the university. And so finally, after a few more messages we agreed to meet near my school's library the following day.

I want to say that at this point I was pretty skeptical about their legitimacy ( I had received multiple messages from both X and Y about how great their plan was and how I could make a lot of money -RED FLAG 4- in-between all this) but I still wanted to hear him out, partly because I hoped it was a real project and maybe I could get some good experience out of it, although I was pretty sure it was a scam at that point.

I want to save my meeting with Y (where he pitches me their "grad" idea, what they wanted me to do, what I could expect out of the job and how I proceeded to mess with them) for part 2 of the article.

My question for you guys is, have you ever had any similar experiences and how did you deal with it? Has anyone tried to scam you and lave you ever fallen for it? Have you ever scammed anyone? Let me know in the comments below, these stories are always fascinating!

Check out my previous posts:

A Lesson In Bubble History (Part 1) - The Mississippi Bubble
//www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/a-lesson-in-bubble-history-part-1-the-mississippi-bubble

Wall Street Confessions
//www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/wall-street-confessions

Comments (41)

Jun 1, 2014

part 2 now plz

happy to give advice; no asking for referrals please

Jun 2, 2014

it'll be out in a week! Hang in there haha

Jun 1, 2014

You've hooked me in. Very interested to see the next part.

Jun 2, 2014

Thanks!

Jun 3, 2014

pyramid schemes are a dime a dozen in college. if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. no legitimate job will require you to put up your own capital as a means to make money (aside from things like suits, ties, metro card, etc.). the exception is things like licensing for which you'll pay but then get reimbursed, but there are companies (1 in my industry, based out of France) that actually requires its broker trainees to pay them before they are officially "employed," and they recruit pretty heavily at big state non targets.

Jun 3, 2014

so in part 2 you become a "brand partner" and "own your own business"?

    • 1
Jun 3, 2014
trippycannon:

so in part 2 you become a "brand partner" and "own your own business"?

yeah something like that

Jun 3, 2014

@"trippycannon", I laughed out loud at your comment. Sounds like someone has spoken to you regarding Verve/Vemma.

Benjamin A Gilman Scholar
Economics & Finance, Mandarin Chinese & Japanese
Small Business VP

Jun 3, 2014

Well, it sounds like they didn't kill you and wear your skin around, so that's good. Interested in P2 pleaze

Jun 3, 2014

Meeting at 8:30pm in Brooklyn on a Sunday night? Sounds like they were gonna kidnap you or something

Jun 3, 2014
Anihilist:

Meeting at 8:30pm in Brooklyn on a Sunday night? Sounds like they were gonna kidnap you or something

They even offered to pick me up when I told them I couldn't make it!

Jun 4, 2014

Probably just Uber drivers...........
"http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-uber-d..."

Jun 3, 2014

part 2 please

"The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer."

Jun 3, 2014

In part 2 they said you're movin' with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air?

Jun 3, 2014

This reminds me of the time this girl I went to high school with got this "awesome new job as an internet secretary"....

She cashed in about 10k in checks before they started bouncing...

Jun 3, 2014

unlimited income potential, bring a list of 100 prospects, and buy the training package

Jun 3, 2014

Make a shitload of money with little to no work, all you have to do is sell out all your family and friends. And even that only works if they're rich.

Jun 3, 2014

make money bang hos, i'd go all in, no risk no reward

    • 1
Jun 3, 2014

You don't want to be an "independent business owner"?? Is this Amway? Or one of the hundreds of other pyramid schemes? I've been pitched these "opportunities" at least 6 times during my time in school. One guy saw me reading a marketing textbook on the bus and had the exact same script-- "let's meet at your school and I can explain this business opportunity."

I'm too drunk to taste this chicken -Late great Col. Sanders

Jun 3, 2014
Winning Since 1776:

You don't want to be an "independent business owner"?? Is this Amway? Or one of the hundreds of other pyramid schemes? I've been pitched these "opportunities" at least 6 times during my time in school. One guy saw me reading a marketing textbook on the bus and had the exact same script-- "let's meet at your school and I can explain this business opportunity."

No this wasn't Amyway, come to thing of it, they didn't even have a name. Guess it was a startup pyramid scheme. So how did your meeting go? I'm curious.

Jun 3, 2014

Here's a few people have pitched to me: Amway, ACN (Donald Trump endorses it!), World Ventures (or some travel company bullshit), Cutco knives, a few others I can't recall.

Basically I gave the guy my number and he scheduled to meet on campus with me. He said he was trying to get students from my school to join this great "business opportunity" and already had about 10-20 students from a nearby school on his "team". Then he took out a notepad and started trying to explain that we buy everyday products (from Bestbuy, Amazon, Target etc.) and that you can drive your Facebook friends to your very own "website" and get them to click on Bestbuy (other companies) links and basically get your friends to buy through your website. It's the same thing with the ACN company as well. I told that guy I wasn't interested and he left me voicemails to come to these great "business" meetings.

I'm too drunk to taste this chicken -Late great Col. Sanders

Jun 3, 2014

There are so many pyramid schemes that target college students- I see posters and recruiters for various schemes all the time. The tip off is the ridiculous wage they claim you can make... "Make up to $10,000 a month this summer!"

Jun 3, 2014

There's one at our school that says the same thing, get money for painting houses. Forgot their name though

Jun 3, 2014

^College Pro Painters?

I'm too drunk to taste this chicken -Late great Col. Sanders

Jun 3, 2014

Me: Think about it for a second, why would you get a better deal signing up thru ACN than what DirecTV offers you directly?

"Independent business owner": We are partnered up with those companies dirct tv came to us and asked for a partnership. our advatage is that we have relationship mareketing. we bring them customers by marketing their company. these companies spend millions of dollars each day on advertising through tv (now we have dvr where we can fast foward through them) and mail. ACN reps bring customers to direct tv, that is the advantage.

Competitive advantage for ACN!

I'm too drunk to taste this chicken -Late great Col. Sanders

Jun 3, 2014

So did you ever call them back or something? Or did they ever contact you afterwards?

Jun 3, 2014

Never called him back. He left one voicemail, but he never reached out again after inviting me to their business meeting. My friend has showed me so many people he knows from his high school who are in pyramid schemes (Multilevel marketing MLM) it's ridiculous.

Guy I hooped with at the gym said he used to work at Microsoft and now manages his "own business" and asked if I wanted to learn more about it. Met him at Starbucks and he made a whole 20 minute DVD about Amway for me...I never took him up on the "opportunity" haha.

I'm too drunk to taste this chicken -Late great Col. Sanders

Best Response
Jun 3, 2014

Part II Sneak Preview: InvestmentJunkie shows up for the meeting outside the library wearing his Sunday best, X and Y are there and look quite professional and show very well. He agrees to get on board and they tell him he can pick up a blackberry, business cards and bat signal in their van, which is parked close by (RED FLAG 5- there's no way a bat signal would fit in anything less than a 30 foot box truck). Once they get to the van he feels Y's arm around his waist and a damp cloth covering his mouth and nose. It stings his nostrils and he gets light headed and that's the last he remembers.

Fading into consciousness, OP wakes up confused and in a sweltering hot room restrained to a bed where he spends the next 3 weeks in and out of an opiate induced haze. After the 3 week heroin den, he wakes up in a black hexagonal room with mirrors on every side... he realizes his virgin anus is being auctioned off to wealthy middle eastern sheikh's sitting on the other side of the one-way mirrors. He'll fetch a handsome sum. Still woozy, he fades out of consciousness. He's sold for a Range Rover, two bushels of fresh dates and an 80CM alligator skin Birkin bag.

OP wakes up disoriented in the stateroom of the winning sheikh's yacht. He notices his clothes are different. He is perfumed and dressed in a rhinestoned belly dancer outfit. The fat middle aged sheikh enters, slaps him in face and calls him an American pig. He begins undressing him and shoves him onto the bed.

There's some ruckus outside and the sheikh waves his armed security to investigate. They go outside to check it out and all goes quiet. Suddenly, the door explodes open and there stands Liam Neeson who takes a piece of broken mirror and flings it at the Sheikh like a Chinese star, slicing his carotid artery, blood spurts everywhere.

OP crumples in into Liam Neeson's arms sobbing in a half dressed stupor. THE END

Moral of the story: don't network with the son of a deposed Nigerian dictator.

    • 3
Jun 3, 2014

Thats exactly what happened, Liam Neeson and all lol

Jun 3, 2014

Very impressive. A little much, but very well done.

Benjamin A Gilman Scholar
Economics & Finance, Mandarin Chinese & Japanese
Small Business VP

Jun 4, 2014

Taken 2 was a disappointment.

Jun 5, 2014

Lol at least he gets singing lessons afterward

Jun 3, 2014

part two needs to be release earlier by popular demand.

Jun 3, 2014

Working on it :)

Jun 4, 2014

I don't understand why this post has a Part 2. WSO should not grant the OP any more bananas for the second post.

Jun 4, 2014

Anyone ever come across Vector Marketing/selling knives? - another big scam out there.

Jun 4, 2014

This better not be some tree fiddy story

Jun 9, 2014
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