A couple weeks ago while shopping, I met a young, well-spoken guy who seemed to be looking to make new friends. We exchanged numbers, and I received a call several days later regarding a job opportunity. He was vague about this meeting other than to describe it as a business formal event (in retrospect I found the lack of details odd), but with little to lose or so I thought, I showed up at the 20th floor of the Renaissance Hotel last night for an info session, noticing immediately that a ton of Indians were attending (I would estimate they comprised over 50% of the packed ballroom). He said he would introduce me to one of his IT contacts at the end of the event. The weird vibe I got was later confirmed. I noticed that other participants were paying money at the sign-in table, but I was signed in by my host without paying any sort of fee.
After showing my yellow ticket (labeled “BWW E-Commerce Seminar”), I was given a seat in the front row, while my host sat a few rows behind. Shortly after, I overheard a conversation about “recruiting 20 people” and “MLM” popped into my head. Newcomers were encouraged to sit in the first few rows, and an Indian man took the stage and began a presentation about a “business opportunity” leveraging social networks. After squandering an hour making lame jokes and asking what people would like to do if they had extra side income (“where would you like to go on vacation?”), the presenter finally got to the nitty-gritty, drawing a diagram with the entities Britt Worldwide (BWW) and Amway Global and pointing out various products on a side table that included energy drinks and what looked like skin creams.
At this point, my main concerns focused around minimizing the amount of time wasted and the fact that the second hour of hotel parking was now costing me $6 instead of $2. I stuck around for another half hour out of curiosity to see how this scam was being sold. In a nutshell, $250 per month to own a small business, FTC-sanctioned, private franchises, blah blah blah. Annoyed, I walked out of the ballroom, determined never to speak to this new “friend.”
[Updated 2011/05/26] Re: IBO’s claims, a brief Google search turns up the following links: