Failure is not an option. Scams make it happen to everyone.
Tweak your mindset to survive when it does.
Living on a farm, you don’t expect some scammer three states away to serve you with a legal form.
I was on the phone with a friend when an off-duty deputy rolled up in an unmarked car. So my friend held on while I went out of the farmhouse to see who that was.
The deputy asked me who I was and then handed me a manila envelope.
I’d been served.
Back inside, my friend on the phone was helpful. He told me about a kit I could get to explain how to deal with legalese.
It took awhile for the shock to wear off, through.
– – – –
Let me back up. All I’d been trying to do was to work out how to earn extra income online. Passive stuff was best, like how to sell the books I’d written and self-published.
In those days, the raging thing was eBay. This was before Amazon was anything. You used to be able to sell digital books on eBay, which changed just as I got into it.
I’d been punching along on the Internet, signing up for various things in order to get data about how to crack into volume eBay sales.
Unwittingly, I’d given my credit card data online for a $1.95 download + $3.95 shipping for a couple of CD’s. (Of course I found a month later that they were trying to charge me for a $39.95 monthly fee to have access to a worthless site. Yes, I got that canceled.)
What happened next was someone called me (yes, I gave them my phone, too – but wait, it gets even better…) and that guy started asking me:
– What did I really want to accomplish with that eBay data – would I be interested in a course that could tell me all about how to get what I wanted out of it?
– Well, yes.
– OK, then. A guy I work for would like to call you. Let’s set your appointment…
The next day I spent over two hours discussing with this guy all about how eBay worked and this great company he worked for where “every one was an expert eBay trader” and could help me set up a site with everything I needed to get going.
It only cost me several thousand dollars on a credit card, but he guaranteed me I could make it all back in 30 days. And repeated that last several times.
Some days later, I got access to the site and found out that it didn’t exactly work that way. It was going to take me three months just to get through enough of their training to get started on building a website. Meanwhile, their site builder was pretty dated. I could do (and had done) better on WordPress or even Blogger.
When I started to complain, I was kicked upstairs to someone who got me to continue on the basis that the company had “merged” (his words) with a new company who would be taking over my training.
So I got a new trainer. And told him I already had plenty of experience in website building (I’d supervised the roll-out of a 30,000 page website for the Syndicate in the late ‘90’s.) So I asked if I could build my own site on a WordPress back-end. He said, sure, go right ahead. And then I got that monthly billing canceled for the hosting.
Then I went back into their training and found they had really stupid lessons once I got to the point of picking out stuff to sell. None of this was really going to get me rolling to the point of making sales on eBay any better than I had before I signed up for that training. Essentially, I realized that I knew more than they were able to teach me.
But I was already out those thousands and had been paying that card off for over four months already while they were trying to keep me on board.
So I hit the refund route, again.
The support guy tried to keep me on board, but the bottom line was that they said Utah (where they were based) had a 3-day right of return law, and they weren’t required to do anything after that.
I was stuck to either being a good boy and finishing their training, or doing something else.
That was the beginning of the end for them.
I fired up my research and blogged what I found. All sorts of things came up. I found a prescription for refunds which essentially said: Complain Like Hell – Everywhere You Can.
Being a nice guy, all versed in self-help, I took it a step further. I laid out and wrote up all the exact steps to take, and all the places people needed to file their complaints, starting with the FTC, FBI, FCC, and then working down to the State Offices in both your state and Utah. Oh – and make sure you send a copy to the Governor and A/G of that state as well (Utah had a very nice online complaint box for the Governor there.)
I also set this up so anyone could get this list of places easily, with hyper-links and everything.
Then, I told them to pay if forward and help five other people get their refunds – Golden Rule stuff.
I also posted this Refund Recipe on not just my blog, but every single complaint forum I could find.
What was ironic is this scammer company was depending on it’s stellar rankings on the front page of Google which all said how great a company it was. Meanwhile, they were teaching their students how to research on the Internet.
Unwittingly, that spelled their doom.
Within a month or so, the listing for that scammer training company had been pushed off the front page of Google and had been replaced with a dozen complaint forums as well as their bad BBB listing.
What this list of actions also did was to flood the Utah Department of Consumer Protection with all these reports. And I do mean flood. My posting on those complaint forums had the long list of places to complain to. Those places all seemed to forward everything to that Department for resolution.
I also wrote a few books based on my research and blog posts, and gave them away for free. Put them up in places where they could be found and downloaded for free, all licensed as “share and share alike.”
Within two years, I’d gotten my refund and helped 10 other people get theirs.
That’s what resulted in my being sued by that scammer company, and having to agree to take down my blog and forum postings as part of my settlement. But not before other people were already spreading the same list of steps over and over.
A few years later, the company registration was pulled by their own request. That company didn’t exist any longer. Ironically, their name was Thrive Learning Institute.
And if you want the full blow-by-blow of how it went down, with all the recovered blog posts, I’ve set these all up for free download (you don’t even have to give an email – see Appendix.)
But what does this have to do with beliefs and success?
Mainly that this was the second time I’d been badly scammed, and I thought I knew my way around.
The key part to this was how I dug myself out and who I found to help me.
There’s this psychology professor Robert Cialdini, who had gotten a bit tired of coming back from stores with more things than were on his shopping list. A friend came in one day as he tells it, and asked him why didn’t he just take them back. Cialdini replied, “Because I’d wind up coming home with even more.”
So he started studying what they were doing. 12 years of research later, he came out with a book that’s been in print ever since and through several editions. It’s called “Influence”. The purpose was to help people recognize these 6 techniques sales people used and proof them up so they didn’t have to buy stuff they didn’t need or want.
The funny point is that people started using his book to work out how to influence others. There was so much demand for it, he had to write a sequel.
I’d first read about Cialdini’s 6 Points of Influence when I was studying up on “Internet Marketing”. Of course I figured it was another scammy technique until I actually got a copy of Cialdini’s book.
The techniques were good, they were effective. But while anyone could actually learn how to become “scam free”, scammers now had a textbook they could use to improve their “conversions.”
Well-intended research was being twisted to the dark side.
Now this didn’t answer all the questions I had about getting scammed.
Another widely-touted idea was that there were two basic motivations for human behavior: pain and reward. This really stemmed from some very old studies Freud had done on crazy people. And anyone who’s covered psychology even slightly knows there’s a lot more data out there than that simplistic view.
So I dug in – and along came Abraham Maslow and his studies of motivation. Maslow started at the other end. He studied people who were operating at their peak, and the successes they had, plus what made them achieve better than anyone around them. His breakthrough paper in the 1940’s essentially laid out a scale of motivational behavior which went from mere subsistence (just staying alive at all) at the bottom to self-transcendance (existing only for the benefit of others) at the top.
Now we were getting somewhere.
From the side, I’d been sent some material about Lester Levenson. His story was one of being home to die and was told to not even get out of bed. That was their solution for severe cardiac problems in his day. But as he had an active mind, he pulled himself up into a chair and started thinking. Three months later, he had essentially cured his heart problem. And meanwhile, he had achieved a high state of existence that it took him another 18 years to figure out what he had done.
What he had uncovered was a simple way to release things that are bothering you. They are usually along the lines of wanting or wanting to escape from: control, security, or approval. Just find these and let them go. And then they quit bothering you. Yes, it’s that simple. (See links in the appendix for more data.) Just recently, I ran across a book by Catherine Ponder who recommends the same actions. In order to get more prosperity in your life, she says, you have to let go of the things that are holding you back. Her idea is that you create a “vacuum” by getting rid of things you’ve accumulated, both physical and spiritually.
Now we had the solvent for the glue that was sticking all these scammer’s efforts to you. Cialdini had the intellectual side figured out. And Maslow could explain why you did things. Levenson (and Ponder) showed you how to simply release them.
This means anyone and everyone can get scam free. (Yes there’s a free book for you with that title also linked in the appendix. You’re welcome.)
Why do you need this stuff?
If you start looking through your life to find out who is trying to control you, force you to approve, or threaten your security, then you start finding who is actively working against your success.
Make a list of these and you may be surprised. Or not. They are pretty blatant at it.
But if you practice releasing regularly, and then work up your skill at this to be able to release every moment during the day, you’ll acquire a skill that will take you a long way.
In fact, this is one of your key skills in sorting out your beliefs so that you can succeed all you want, at whatever you want, to be whatever you want to be and have whatever you want to have.
Getting scammed isn’t fun. But there’s a book waiting for you that can help. It’s called “Make Yourself Great Again.” Click here for instant download. (And make sure you check the back for other bonuses like the audio book…)