This post is intentionally titled "Primerica Scam" with nothing else. Because I feel like I need to do some sort of public service announcement. And hopefully I can save one person from falling into the trap I almost did when they search on "Primerica Scam" like I did.
As most of you know, I'm looking for work. In recent months the effort is increasing at an increasing rate (or so I told Professor Joe over the phone when he asked). Since my resume is online I get semi-frequent calls and emails. Most of the calls and virtually all of the emails are off target (I'm sure I won't have the energy to write about them tonight, but hopefully I'll get to them soon. They're amusing).
So, onto Primerica. "Primerica Financial Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Citigroup, is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia. It is the largest financial services marketing organization in North America, with more than 100,000 licensed independent representatives." That sounds reasonable, right? Citigroup is the parent organization. I can deal with that. In fact, getting a little bit of financial background would be nice.
The conversation went something like this (I'm leaving out lots of pieces because I don't feel like writing all night):
Recruiter: Are you looking for work?
Recruiter: Great. I'm with Primerica. Are you familiar with Primerica?
Recruiter: Primerica is a wholly owned subsidiary of Citigroup... blah, blah, blah.... And we already have 15 offices here in Orange County. We're looking to expand to 45 offices. We need managers for the additional offices and that's why I've called you. Would that be something that would interest you?
Me: (Actually kind of flattered but very, very skeptical)... Well, sure.
Recruiter: Tell me a little bit about your previous job....
Me: I was working with... (at this point I know the dude has completely zoned out, at which point I ask him)... Before I get into the details, are you familiar with the IT industry?
Recruiter: Me? Well, no. Sorry.
Me: (Realizing that this seems really strange)... Do you have my resume in front of you?
Recruiter: No. You were given to me by our "Regional Vice President". He was very impressed with your resume and passed your information along.
Me: (I'm probably the only idiot who really thinks, "Wow. This could really be a great opportunity for me. I wonder who this Regional Vice President is. And I wonder what on my resume really stood out.) I probably said something here, but I don't remember and I don't want to make up any more of the details than I already am.
Recruiter: Well, I've been very impressed with you so far. We would like to bring you in for an office interview. We're located in Santa Ana. We have openings (he rattled off a bunch of times over the next few days all an hour apart). Would you be interested?
Me: (I'm still an idiot here and I'm flattered. It's also a short drive from where I live and I have nothing else to do.) The 3pm slot tomorrow works great for me.
He proceeds to give me directions and his cell phone number and that's that.
Alright. I have an interview. That's good. It could be a new opportunity in a new field. That's also good. The phone conversation still didn't seem quite right, almost like the guy was overly eager to get me into his office. Especially since I didn't really talk a whole lot about myself and, regardless of what I said, he was thrilled with the answer.
I wanted to be prepared for the interview, so I research the company. The first result is their website, as you would expect. Then I check out Wikipedia (which isn't always accurate, but it might give a little different insight). I find out that Primerica is a Multi-Level Marketing company.
What's a Multi-Level Marketing company? It's a Pyramid Scheme. So I continue with my searching, wondering what search terms I should use to get more information on a potential pyramid scheme. I've got to either confirm or deny this, right? If you have Google Toolbar on your browser, you'll know what I'm talking about - I started entering "Primerica" and they give you a list of the most common searches with whatever you've already entered. Fourth on the list... "Primerica Scam". Bingo.
The first search result was key - Here it is. This guy went through the same thing I was about to. And as far as the "Regional Vice President" liking my resume? "In Primerica, you are not a Regional Vice President for the company itself. These people are independent agents at which they are at the Regional Vice President level."
The following morning I was unsure whether I should just cancel the interview or not. I wasn't thinking about going for the normal reasons, like I had already committed and am obligated to go or that this might be different than what I was reading online. I wanted to go because I was bored. And I wanted to just mess with this dude. Not in a mean way. But in a way that I would ask the exact questions that he wouldn't want to answer. And I would keep asking until I got an answer to my satisfaction. At around noon, I started looking up local news channels, thinking that maybe they could give me a hidden camera and we could "out" Primerica and what they're all about. Long story short, my mom talked me out of it. And I left the guy a voicemail. It was something real simple like, "I'm calling to let you know that I need to cancel today's interview. I did some research on Primerica and it's not the direction I want for my career. Thank you for your time and the opportunity. Best of luck to you."
So that's that. My apologies to the thousands of people that make their living with Primerica. This post isn't intended for you. This post is to be informative for people like me who are looking for work and have their resume online. You may very well get a similar phone call. And I hope that this post will help better inform you of what's in store. As always, your input is welcome, whether it be a story like mine or a defense of Primerica.