This FAKE Company Said I Could Make $100k/Month with ThemBuilding Wealth
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If you saw my recent video on Outlet Finance, you know that I’ve recently been receiving and recently more sponsorship requests than ever over the last few months. As I mentioned in my Outlet Finance video, I have some concerns about them, I didn’t think it was necessarily the best way to save your money, and I would hesitate to call it anything like a “savings account.” On the other hand, it seemed like an interesting business model, maybe a unique opportunity, and at least it appeared to be a legitimate company if in my opinion it took some liberties with describing itself as a savings account alternative.
Charity & BEYOND
Now sometimes when I receive these sponsorship requests, it’s tough to tell what’s legit and what isn’t. Online scams are getting more sophisticated every year, so it’s not like it was ten or twenty years ago where you could immediately tell something was fishy. So let me show you an example here and see what you think:
My name is [his name] from Charity & BEYOND, an international nonprofit charitable organization.
Your recent Youtube updates on Stimulus Checks and the COVID-19 situation have really resonated with us and we’re quite impressed with your work and the empathy you have for the plight of your audience, the American public.
I’m reaching out to you because we would like to partner with you on YouTube to enable us to reach out to your audience and drive awareness on some of our aid programs that have a relation to and are a direct response to the current economic situation occasioned by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Please let me know if you are open to a brand partnership and what your working terms are so we can discuss further the modalities of working together.
Thanks for your time and consideration.
So this email was a bit suspicious, it didn’t necessarily scream “scam,” but it did make me suspicious for a few reasons, let me highlight some of those issues.
Lack of professionalism
First, I noticed a couple grammatical and organizational points, I’m not sure if I would call them errors, but they don’t look like something I would expect to receive from a reputable nonprofit organization.
If you look at the little screenshot he included, it says “Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment,” which is kind of awkwardly phrased, almost like it’s poorly translated or something like that. Below it just says covid19impact relief, no spaces, there’s only one quotation mark and it’s not really in the right place.
Some of the phrasing in the email itself is a little messy, for example this is just such a jumbled, lengthy sentence: “I’m reaching out to you because we would like to partner with you on YouTube to enable us to reach out to your audience and drive awareness on some of our aid programs that have a relation to and are a direct response to the current economic situation occasioned by the global COVID-19 pandemic.”
Dubious legal warnings
Again there aren’t any typos or anything like that, but to me it doesn’t read like a very professional message. That note at the end says that “it is strictly forbidden to share any part of this message with any third party,” so I guess they don’t want me to be telling you about this email.
Now I’m not a lawyer, so any lawyers reading right now can correct me in the comments, but I’ve never heard of it being illegal to share an unsolicited marketing email you received, and I don’t think you can just write “it is strictly forbidden” in your email signature as if that was somehow legally binding. In my view this doesn’t look like the kind of email I would expect from a reputable charity.
What Happened Next
So yeah, this seemed fishy, but I went along with it and emailed the guy for more information. And then I got the works. He flat-out told me that if I partner with him I should earn between one hundred and thirty-six thousand, seven hundred and eighty dollars and twenty-two cents and one hundred and thirty-eight thousand, seven hundred and forty-eight dollars and seven cents (oddly, specific, I must say), over a month’s period. Yeah, scam.
The Charity & BEYOND website
So just to see how big a scam this Charity & BEYOND is, I decided to check them out online and do some more research to get a better idea of how they’re trying to scam people. I checked out their website and finally found the “appeals” portion, which seems to be the purpose of the organization.
Even on the Charity & BEYOND website, which you would think would be the most promising, there wasn’t much evidence of a successful nonprofit. The appeals section, where you can donate to active causes, contained a total of just four appeals, none of which have raised any money at all. Their donation limits were $30,000, $9,500, $200,000, and $4.5 million.
Again I would expect someone looking for four and a half million dollars to have a really detailed description of their plan, but there wasn’t anything like that. The only transparency was that they pledged to post all transactions on their Instagram story, but there wasn’t an Instagram account listed and I couldn’t find one associated with the cause.
I actually did find Facebook and Twitter accounts, again with very few followers and very little engagement. They did have one Facebook post that got a little traction, with around 700 likes. They laid out the process of applying for aid, here’s the first half of the post:
COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on families and communities across the country and around the world.
Our project RENT RELIEF COVID-19 KE, is dedicated to the well-being of children, families, and communities, during this trying period particularly those without resources.
Families are hurting, can’t make rent, can’t afford their bills to keep the lights on, taps running and are having to dig into their rent money for survival.
If this continues many might end up homeless due to being kicked out by landlords.
One thing that has given us resilience during this crisis has been witnessing the incredible acts of kindness and support happening around the country and world.
We are joining together as a country to provide #RENTRELIEF efforts and here’s how it works:
- If your family can’t make rent, has an unexpected bill, or is in a jam because you had to close your business, received a pay cut or you lost your job, comment on the Instagram/Facebook post link attached herein.
- Launch an appeal over at www.charityandbeyond.org, the money will be credited in your appeal once verification is done from where you can then withdraw the money.
When launching an appeal kindly post a photo of your residence or a photo of yourself.
You are also encouraged to contribute to your appeal and others if you are in a position to.
Someone asked how they planned to distribute donations fairly, and they replied that the program was on a “first come first serve basis.” They also redirect people back to the Charity and Beyond website to make an appeal, and they mention that you’re “encouraged to contribute to your appeal,” which sounds a little counterintuitive to me since the appeal is meant to be your application for aid, so it’s strange that you would need to contribute to your own request.
And when I went to the website to look into the appeal process, it actually says that you have to make a “personal contribution” in order to “activate your appeal.” Again it’s bizarre that you would have to pay them just to have the opportunity to raise money. If you use GoFundMe or KickStarter for example, sure they’ll take a cut of the money you earn if you reach your goal, but they wouldn’t charge you upfront, so this is yet another red flag just from a quick look at the Charity and Beyond site.
There’s another page on the website where you can apply for aid in either the USA or Kenya, but there isn’t much information about the difference between launching an appeal and applying for aid directly—especially considering that they don’t seem to have raised any money. And even there I noticed a few more typos—spelling “lose” as “loose,” “furloughed” as “furlouged,” things like that.
So at this point it was pretty clear that I wasn’t going to get anywhere with Charity and Beyond—they seemed at least somewhat professional at first, but it was too hard to find any tangible information, and I never ended up locating even a single example where they were involved in providing aid.
Logan is a practicing CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in July 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.