I Got Scammed

Well, here we are.

I got scammed. I did several thousand dollars worth of work, only to be ghosted after delivering the content, never to be paid, and never to be heard from again.

Allow me to vent for a few moments.

The world of content creation is a bit of…well, a bit of an anomaly. It’s the “new frontier” of marketing, and what makes it so tricky is that as people are figuring it out, the mediums are constantly evolving. Instagram, TikTok, Facebook — month to month, every platform morphs and changes, keeping the entire enterprise always on its toes, ready to adapt or shift at a moment’s notice.

Just as an example: all of last year, my income was comprised nearly exclusively of Pinterest content creation. I was making incredible money as one of their “Creators” and all of a sudden, on November 29, I get an email that starting Dec 1 (ie: two days later), they were ceasing their “Creator Program,” and just like that – that income stream completely dried up. No warning, no exit strategy. Just. Nothing.

So when it comes to content creation, things are subject to change, literally overnight without warning.

This constant fluctuation also makes this field ripe for scammers and con artists.

And well, let’s just say I got played like a fiddle.

Over the holidays I had a partnerships with a seemingly legit company… with a legit website, linked in profile, and reviews. I did several thousand dollars worth of work for them, creating content — including video, text and social media — delivered on my end of the bargain, and then…*poof,* they vanished.

I reached out and reached out and reached out for over three months, and nothing. I tried to email the email addresses found on that “legit website” and both came back with a big, fat, “Failure Notice” – that the email address “does not exist.”

I’ve called the number on the website, which goes straight to voicemail. I’ve looked up the LinkedIn profiles from my contacts at the “company…” nada.

Frankly, I am so furious about this. I feel defeated, I feel used, I feel stupid. And I’m just plain MAD!

So anyway. Thanks for letting me vent. You know how sometimes, you just need to TELL SOMEONE. Like, you just need to feel HEARD?

Well, that’s me right now. So thank you for hearing me.

And if you’re in the content creation world, please – ask for half of the compensation up front. I know I will be doing so from now on.

To hear my story, click here.

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43 responses to “I Got Scammed”

  1. Well, it probably doesn’t need to be said now, but… Get a contract in place stating payment terms such as deposit on the services, the work to be done, and payment before delivery. Get an attorney to help set something up that’s valid for your jurisdiction…

    So sorry to hear it. It’s fine to be angry at stuff like this.

  2. Oh, no!!! I’m not for sure, but is this something you could possibly report to the FCC. They are usually tasked with interstate communications issues. We successfully contacted them about some abusive phone call marketers, but that was YEARS ago. My son has been trying to report fraud of a different sort to federal and state agencies lately with no success. He has been told that “there is nothing they can do” or their hands are tied somehow. I am beginning to feel like we are knocking, but there is no one home.

  3. Oh my gosh, I am so sorry this happened to you, Caralyn! I would be furious too. I will never understand why people think that way, it’s so vile! Next time, you need some kind of payment up-front. Have a glass of wine and be mellow. ❤️

  4. Even a contract can leave you in a losing position. Agree with you to get 50% up front. Or tie compensation to small increments in the deliverables. Sad this happened to you. You bring so much light, joy and happiness to the world. You will be rewarded in this life and the next.

  5. The content creation business has not changed since the 1980s. I used to write custom software for clients. I had built my company up to 8 full time programmers. On the way up to that point, there was no shortage of folks that wanted a million dollars worth of work for $29.95. Later in construction, I learned the wrong magic rules of that trade which can be very similar. Rule #1 for the sub contractor – Never let the job get ahead of the money. Rule #2 – For general contractors – Never let the money get ahead of the job.

    What I learned from working with lawyers is, they take your case, do a couple of hours work, lay your case aside and send you a bill. When that bill is paid, they do more work on it, send a bill and wait for payment. A version of not letting the job getting ahead of the money…. The other thing I learned about working for lawyers is… DON’T… under any circumstances. You can’t find a lawyer that will sue a lawyer and as a class of clientele, they are the most likely to take you for a ride.

    Other than that, the best you can do is turn it over to God and go get more clients.

    ““You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭43‬-‭45‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

    Be blessed.

  6. I clicked the like button because I feel your pain. The con artists out there are a mile ahead of honest people, trying to find their angle as technology and the rules regarding it are evolving. I am sorry for your loss of this income stream.

  7. My heart aches for you. My degrees are in Design, and so I understand what you’re talking about with the digital fields and fluxuations. It is a bold new era for cons and creeps. It is harder and harder to avoid the cons.
    Let me provide a little advice that may help in the future. It was given to me by a friend who went through what you have. After receiving the brief and estimating your potential hours of labor, request half upfront—or no deal. Period.
    With this, both parties are invested. Sure, you can add caveats about additional charges with additional hours (or whatever, as required), but for the most part, you should be good. It can help weed out the filth. If they really want you, they will do it. If they just want someone, then they might leave. If they are scammers, they will leave.
    God bless. You will overcome. You have before, you will again.

  8. So sorry. I find myself not advertising my writing anymore on-line because I am being inundated with “companies” trying to “help” me sell my books and I have no idea who to trust anymore. I don’t know how you keep from getting scammed on the internet.

  9. I am so sorry!!! I know it’s hard to think about right now, but try to hand it over to the Lord. He will seek vengeance on your behalf. He will give you what was yours. And He will work something good out of this. I am standing in prayer beside you! 🙏♥️🙌

  10. There are some sad things about the internet world. I feel your pain. I let someone I thought was my friend talk me into opening a cafe/bar. I worked my ass off while he kept telling me I didn’t understand his role as marketing. Long story short, I never even got his agreed-to seed money and I ended up losing almost all of my retirement fund. My only relief is that I’ve been able to blog about it on wordpress and facebook. Venting does make me feel a little better. I hope you feel better.

  11. So sorry that happened, C. Seems like that’s becoming the norm in business. There’s no longer a sense of trust and doing business for the long term. Just what can I get right now, no matter who it hurts. I pray your new way of handling clients works for you. I’m sure the legitimate ones will understand and work with you. 🤗🙏💛

  12. So sorry to hear you got taken. I’ve been talking with my buddy in LA. He’s been a self-employed musician his whole career (with a lot of background work years ago too.) He plays at the Omni downtown, and they are constantly behind on paying him. And he’s done many jobs over the years where he plays a gig and never sees the money. Even in my job it was always a matter of customers literally extorting me/my employer for things they didn’t deserve, but that was the only way to keep from losing then to my competition. At least I still got paid.

    This is the way of the world. People have been cheating other since the beginning. Sad but true.

  13. I’m so sorry this happened to you. That just stinks! I’ll pray and ask the Lord to bless you ten fold. He did that for Job, replaced what was stolen. Hopefully you won’t have six hundred oxen coming your way. 🙂

  14. Wow. That sucks. Yes. You do have to be careful with such sites and other stuff. I am so sorry that happened to you. I wish there was a way to catch them. Hang in there Caralyn. 💜✨️

  15. Like the others who have commented, “So sorry you had to go through this.” Here are some things to remember:
    1) You are a child of the most high God.
    2) As I have been posting lately, He Knows! God knows what has been done to you and how bad it hurts and how angry you are, but go ahead and tell Him anyway.
    3) God’s word says that vengeance is his. (Rom.12:19)
    4) Ask Him to get vengeance on the ones who stole not only from you but from Him. For everything we have comes from God. If you do and can then walk away from it you will feel satisfied. I know, it’s weird, difficult to understand until you do it.
    5) Call the money back in. Meaning, out loud ask God for all of the money to be returned, restored, or reimbursed. You don’t have to try to figure out how that’s God job, and He’s good at it.
    6) Like others have said, “Learn from it and share with others what you have learned.”

    Blessings, Caralyn

    PS: And don’t stop creating content because you’re good at it!

  16. I am so sorry this happened to you. The evil prey on the innocent, and it sucks. Thr Lord will make it right and they will be punished in His timing. I just prayed for wisdom and discernment for you and God’s provision.😃❤️

  17. It’s becoming more prevalent around the world. A retiree just up from where we live got scammed out of 5,000 which she certainly cant afford to lose. The internet may have its conveniences but can be a dangerous place now. Even the very alert can get scammed with some of these sophisticated schemes.

  18. I’m so sorry that this happened to you on both accounts. It really will be a loss for Pinterest because I follow you there and your pins and recipes are incredible! Such a bummer about the scammers too. This has happened to me a few times and it is very upsetting. I hope that more doors will continue to open for you.

  19. Hi Carolyn, these are tough lessons for us aren’t they but God can bring good out of this experience too. Hand it over to him, ask God to meet your needs that have come out of this time and let him teach you how to handle the loss and disappointment. Don’t let it stop you though from doing what you have been gifted to do. I’ve learnt as well to ask for a payment up front over the years. The ones who have refused to pay and walk away to get it “free” elsewhere are just a drain on your resource and don’t value what you do. The labourer is worthy of their wages. What you do is very valuable. Always remember that. You are not doing someone a favour so they can abuse your gifts and steal from you. Remember your value and be bold.

  20. My heart goes out to ya girl. I pray that this spiteful use of your talent will not discourage you nor distort or dampen your creativity. Our Lord does not waste a hurt. As painful as this is He can still bless you and grow you through this. I know you know He is faithful. I pray his peace, guidance, and blessings over you.

  21. Sorry to hear you got scammed. Surely linked in or the site you were working for can track them down. This is outright fraud and if you persue it you may prevent them from doing the same to some other person. Not to mention you getting the $$ you so richly deserve.

  22. Caralyn, I hated to read of your experience for a couple of reasons, but mostly because of what I’ve come to think of you as I read your work and seen your heart. One of our daughters is in content business. So far she’s only worked with organizations she knew or were referred to her by people she trusted, but even that can go south on someone in a hurry these days.

    Several people above commented on reporting this incident in one way or another. None were very positive and I understand why that is the case. If you did want to report it, the Federal Trade Commission if probably the best place to report. Even if they cannot help you, the information might help someone else.

    Of course, as I wrote that last paragraph I remembered one of the worst identity theft experiences I’ve had was caused by a federal agency not securing my data properly when I was doing contract work for them.

  23. First, I do apologize for what you’ve been through. Your anger is understood.

    Secondly, you are NOT in no way Stupid, Sis. Even I had been scammed before BUT… you need to continue to be stronger than them. Of course, money comes and goes, but things will go better for you pretty soon. How I found out that I was being scammed out of money was that I daily checked my bank account statements online. So I get a head start on knowing what’s in there before a transaction is made. Then when a lot of my money was being taken out, I went into my bank’s institution and reported the problem to them. The bank helped to replace most of the stolen amount and made sure to block/stop them from taking anything else out.

    So make sure to report to them the issue, and the bank can help to replace what they can. It just simply sucks that more and more scammers are trying their best to fool us and take what they can from us. It’s frustrating… but we will always come out on top. Stay Strong, Sis! 🙂

  24. BBB,

    Indeed frustrating as heck.

    BBB, please consider sharing more details about their approach, the invite, their motto, their method, their practice, in order to raise red flags in the minds of others… it would be really helpful, not only that, but that’s the best way to catch these jerks.. raise the red flags, then as the next client is about to do the content delivery – trace them, find their location, or find another avenue.. but first identification is essential.

    God bless

  25. Hello Beauty Beyond Bones, I haven’t visited your blog in a long time. As much as I enjoyed your blog, I concluded that since I was working on my personal blog, you weren’t the appropriate choice for me as my “go-to” blogger. Yet, I respect you enough to keep an eye on what you’re doing.

    Consequently, when you said you were the victim of a scam, I wanted to reach out to you and say that is very disappointing. It shouldn’t have happened to you. I have never met anyone nicer than you.

    I am a Canadian reader of yours who you might have forgotten all about. Bloom was a gift I gave to a neighbor a few years ago.

    I wish this scam hadn’t happened to you. Maybe I’ll start reading you again and see if I can lend some moral support.

    I hope you’re doing okay in life. It has been a long time since we last spoke. If a man takes $100 from you and you never see him again, that $100 was well spent since that’s all he ever took.

  26. So sorry to hear this. It is tough and you do deserve to get paid for your work. Have you considered asking for a lawyer?

    I read on LinkedIn that a man worked very hard and was about to close a $10 million contract that would given him a $1 million commission. All of a sudden he was fired with vague reasons like not respectful to his executives. All because the boss didn’t want to pay that commission. Life is so unfair at times that sometimes we just want to give or get bitter.

    Hang in there. God is not ignorant of your plight.

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