Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I try an Internet get-rich-quick scheme.

Spam I Am
I try an Internet get-rich-quick scheme
By Emily Yoffe

I have always been tempted by offers promising that my laziness and lack of skill are the perfect qualifications for making lots of money in my spare time. For "Human Guinea Pig," a column in which I explore intriguing, sometimes idiotic parts of life everyone wants someone else to check out for them, I decided to answer one of these e-mail solicitations and get rich, quick.

There were so many spams to choose from. One promised I could make $150 an hour giving my opinion. Since I sit at my desk and mumble it for free to my dog, this sounded unlikely. Then there was the classic—stuffing envelopes. But career advice books always tell you to push the envelope, not stuff it. Instead, I got sucked in by e-mail from a legitimate-sounding, techie outfit called Refund Recovery. The premise behind it is that both UPS and FedEx promise on-time delivery but don't always achieve it. For $77 plus $11 shipping and handling, I would get the software that would allow me to track late deliveries, recover the refund, and split the money with my clients. This would result in a "$50K a year income stream" for working less than 10 hours a week from home.

The site was filled with testimonials from people who quit their jobs to recover refunds—a nurse, a teacher, a "staffing assistant." George Milovic, a college student from Dallas offered: "It works, it really works, I'm actually making money working from home! I don't mean to sound negative, I know this is supposed to be a testimonial, but I didn't think it would work for me, I mean I hoped it would, but I really didn't believe it would." I looked up George's phone number in Yahoo! so I could get advice on launching my own career in refund recovery, but I was unable to find a George Milovic listed anywhere in the United States. He's probably living on a yacht in Monte Carlo.

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