The need for recognition - be careful who you side with

2014-07-24 13:50

We all want it. That pat on the shoulder for a job well done or that firm handshake of congratulations for the degree received. And then there are the ones who goes that little extra - joining a professional association, social media and online professional networks to get the exposure that will drive your career. But be careful that this innate human need of acceptance does not cost you your hard earned money.

Recently, there is a scam running on LinkedIn.com. A company called worldwidebranding.com is offering a very exclusive membership community and you can apply online in three easy steps. Then they call you to "verify your submission" in a personal interview. All is well, and the product offering sounds like you will soon be a personal friend of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. But before your dreams come true, Robert Kalaf will ask you for your credit card details as they have a deadline to publish your professional profile today still.

Great!! For only US$899, why the heck not? It is not as if he can then go on an online shopping spree with your card details. They are American - they have the best security systems right? Yes tell that to the 911 victims.

And yes, I am expecting a third call from Robert. I too saw an opportunity - and almost fell for it.

I sent dear ole Bob a link to this article as my token of appreciation. He responded as follows:

"Dear Rudy,

We can assure you that Worldwide Branding is a legitimate organization and not a scam. We take pride in the benefits and services that we offer to the more than 600,000 individuals who comprise our membership base. While traditionally, the Who’s Who industry has been stereotypically associated with merely publishing names in a book, Worldwide Branding goes above and beyond this; we serve as a personal branding, PR, and marketing agency for our members, at a much lower cost than boutique firms.

Our members have found that being affiliated with us is a beneficial tool — they list Worldwide Branding on their websites, resumes and promotional materials as a way to show that they actively pursue professional growth beyond the workplace."

 I always say "if Google can't find it, it does not exist" and this prove to be true. A quick search on Google for the members who listed their association with Worldwide Branding returned the result I expected - it does not exist. I did however stumble upon a few posts and sites that also list the company and others like it as scams.

Risk assessments are not just something for Financial managers and Safety Engineers. Everyone should do an assessment of the risks associated with online media marketing. If it is not free - it is not legit.

You can check it out at www.worldwidebranding.com. It really looks very legit, but try to find the people listed in their Testimonials. They are as real as Santa Klauss, Superman and the voices in your head.

One thing I have learned from the USA is that besides their cyber-criminals, like dear ole Bob above,  they are always offering free stuff you have to pay for. A free trial, a free download, all after your credit card number is provided, and you can cancel at anytime, after they deducted your money.

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