Today a woman with a heavy New York accent called to tell me I was chosen as a Woman of Excellence for their Who’s Who Awards.
“Germaine, you’re such an accomplished woman in business,” she said with admiration in her voice, “we’ve just chosen you to be a part of our esteemed group that will allow you to network and connect with others of your caliber.”
I could feel the swell of pride inflating my chest. Well it’s about time this group (never really got the name) finally honors me! I was flattered, gushing and quickly started answering all the questions she started asking.
“How’d you start your company?” she asked, sounding so interested and amazed by me. “Do you accept speaking engagements or are you published anywhere?”
Before I could answer, she went in for the cash. “Now we’re enrolling you into our program, ” (what program??) “and sending you a membership login, password and a beautiful plaque.” (I don’t want a plaque…) “All you have to do is enroll in a lifelong membership for a small fee of $900.”
Suddenly, I came to. “But I thought you were giving me some kind of award,” I said. “Why do I have to pay for it?”
She should have said, “Because you’re a gullible idiot, Pollyanna!”, but she answered something about how it’s an honored membership, blah, blah, blah and I realized I was telling my life story to a scammer.
I immediately hung up and wondered how many times I fall for junk like this.
Six months ago, it was the executive producer for one of the Real Life Housewives telling me he wanted me to design a private-label clothing line for one of their “stars”. “We go for the best of the best and that’s why we chose MAJAMAS, Germaine.”
I thought, “Really? MAJAMAS over Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors or one of those ‘Bests’?” Don’t get me wrong, our clothing is just as beautiful (and ethically made right here in the USA, unlike those other lines) but MAJAMAS for such a “big reality TV star?” Wow! It turned out to be another scam (I know…surprise!) with the company promising to bring in sales in the millions if I’d just pay for the advertising and make the production without any kind of official purchase order or deposit.
When I’m in my daze, the little child in me starts thinking about how cool it’s going to be when I’m on the Jimmy Fallon Show or sharing my Spring collection with Ellen after my big rise to fame, but the reality of the situation crashes into my rational brain and I’m brought to my senses in an instant.
I may occasionally be a gullible, Pollyanna but I have to say, every once in awhile, it’s kind of nice to get a call from someone who claims to really want me. In the back of my mind, I always know it’s a scam and the conversation will end with my saying I’m not interested but for just five minutes, it’s good to pretend I’m getting that pat on the back and ego massage we all seek and need every once in awhile.
So go on and take that call from the Book of Who’s Who or that reality TV producer and play along. It might just be the mental boost you need to keep positive and remind yourself you’re truly someone special.
– Germaine Caprio, Company Owner & Designer
TO HEAR FROM YOU
Any other winners out there?
How’d you handle it?
When did you realize you were being scammed?
Please share your own thoughts with us – let’s get a conversation started in the comments below! Your comment may even win you a free MAJAMAS garment this week!