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How NOT to Get Screwed (like I did)


I got taken. I was had. Screwed six ways till Sunday.

I’ve exhausted legal options, appealed to a conscience this ‘person’ doesn’t have and now completely accepted defeat. But I’m going down swinging – hiding under a rock is NOT my style. Instead I’m sharing what I learned – with the strong intention that I don’t want this to happen to you, ever.

Oh, and do all of the things I’ve listed below, because I did ‘some‘ but that wasn’t enough. Slime is slippery and you have to work hard not to get covered in it.

11 Ways to protect yourself from scum

1. Google the company and the person. Dig deep and follow up if you find something bad – even if it’s just one thing.

2. Did you get that? I mean really DIG. Even the biggest slimeball can have proper looking LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. accounts filled with tons of upstanding followers – and these listings will show up on Google first. It’s frighteningly easy for scumbags to appear to be good people.

3. Get references and call them. Find out who these reference people are and make sure they have no vested interest in giving a good referral.

4. Ask for proof of success. Demand real numbers. If they won’t show them, they do not have them.

5. Don’t buy the privacy/non-disclosure argument – it’s likely a big old smokescreen. If they can’t show your their work or tell you what they’ve done and claim it’s because of privacy, I’ll bet you a lot of money that they’re lying.

6. Read the fine print.

7. Get everything in writing. All of it.

8. Document everything – all conversations, promises, agreements. Email is a great tool for this. Beware that phone conversations, which aren’t typically recorded, mean nothing legally.

9. Ask your trusted network for their insights, opinions, experiences. Twitter is really, really, really really good for this.

10. Listen to your gut. There are actually thinking cells in your gut and they are very smart. Pay attention to yellow flags, red flags and that intangible ‘feeling’ that something isn’t quite right. This is the time to trust yourself.

11. If it looks to good to be true…You know I like to stay positive, but…there is something to that old saying. I’m not saying it can’t be true, I’m saying, ‘If it looks to0 good to be true, do your homework and make sure it is that true..and that good.’

Good luck…and my lawyer said that I can’t write mean truthful anything about the scumbag that got me, but I can tell my friends all about him in casual conversation. So, feel free to call me: 413-281-6013 anytime…I’m always up for a friendly chat.

Oh, and DS: Karma’s a bitch, baby.

Image courtesy of Toasty Ken

Join the discussion 16 Comments

  • readergirl says:

    sorry that you got screwed, sweetie! been there, done that and what you have to say about really digging is so important. wound up in court over our issue- no fun!
    hang in there!

  • Scream, pound the pillow, rip the head off of an old stuffed animal – so sorry. What goes around comes around and hope they get theirs soon.

  • LoneWolf says:

    Wow. It’s too bad that there are so many people like that out there. It is really hard to filter them out since, as you point out, they can say anything without meaning it.

    Hopefully you’ll be able to get something back someday, but probably not. Maybe the slimeball will get whats coming 8=)

  • Lorraine says:

    Always good to be awakened from complacency.

    This is a timely caveat emptor: my friend was just asked to edit a physician’s memoir–he lists prominent hospitals and appointments, etc.

    But she can’t find a trace of him on Google.

    Something definitely wrong with THAT picture–and she’ll proceed cautiously.

    Thanks for sharing your terrible experience.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Lorraine – make sure she’s paid upfront – or at the very least in upfront installments…

  • Jacqueline says:

    I am SO sorry this happened to you. I just had a client disappear. Of course without paying. I have tried EVERYTHING to rouse them – terrible feeling. Yours sounds more like you were the client and you didn’t get what they said you were going to get. That is not good!

  • Tish Grier says:

    wow, Julie–I’m really sorry to hear this.

    You’re so right about dig, dig, dig! and read that bad review–find out who left it, and even try to find out why. I once got contacted by someone on LinkedIn about doing social media consulting. And I dug around. On the surface, he looked legit, with good recommendations, etc. Until I dug around some more and found out the good recommendations were all from one employee, who seemed to be seeding the social media world with positive stuff. And you’re oh, so right about digging for the bad stuff. When I finally talked to the guy, I hung up withing a couple of minutes of the conversation, as the things I read in the bad feedback about attitude proved to be true.

    I hope things work out for you. Thanks again for sharing your experience

  • Toni Anderson says:

    Sorry to hear that you got taken advantage of. If there is anything that any of us can do to help please let us know!! Just remember that Karma’s a b….., they’ll get theirs!

  • Barbara says:

    Sorry to hear about that. Karma is a bitch.

  • Oh my goodness, this must have been REALLY bad. Thanks for the advice and chin up!

  • Julie, what a bummer. I also believe in karma, and they will get theirs. Good for you for using your energy to help others avoid similar pitfalls… I’m paying attention! :)

  • Yikes! I’m sending (((hugs))) and I am pissed off for you, whatever happens. Good for you for standing up for yourself!!

  • --Deb says:

    Ouch. I almost don’t want to know what happened to generate this post!

  • :o(( Julie: Sorry you had such a bad experience. Don’t let this person steal any more of your time or energy. They are not worth it. Good points to pre-qualify people we do business with. I always check out clients beforehand. If my “spidey sense” is tingling, I walk away. It has taken me a while, but I have learned to trust my gut.

    Don’t forget: Living well is the best revenge.

  • Sandra Foyt says:

    Well, now I’m really curious!?! Sounds like you’ve been hit by one of those learning experiences, the kind we need to actually go through before really taking this advice seriously. Still, I’ll keep this in mind. There’s no sense in getting burned myself to respect the fire. Thanks for sharing good advice!

  • Lindsay says:

    Love the last line! So sorry to hear about your screwing. It sucks being taken advantage of, but just remember it’s all a learning experience and without sharing our writing experiences, we’d all be in the same boat. Thanks for the heads up!

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