Friday, November 9, 2012

Scam Artists on Linkedin? ACN Pyramid Scheme?

Updates below

Do you ever use Linkedin? I do, but not a lot. Recently though, I've been gettings tons of mails from Linkedin saying that, "this person" or "that person" had recommended you on Linkedin. What a hassle!

Why are people I don't really even know recommending me? What's going on? Is this an effort to get more people to go look at Linkedin more often? If it is, it's lame.

I've written what I think about Linkedin before here in "How to Make Six Figures a Year From Your Linkedin Account" where I wrote: 

Do you know what Linkedin is? Linkedin is a great place where you can connect with people you don't know or care about and brag about stuff that doesn't really matter. It's kind of like going to a high school reunion where everyone who thought they were hot stuff in school tries to impress everyone else that they are still hot stuff even though they now work part-time as a plumber or are on food stamps!...

I been wondering exactly what the purpose of Linkedin is anyway? I mean, if it is a site to look for a job then that's cool, but what's the point of posting your bio on Linkedin if the only other people who are going to see it are also out of a job and looking for one too? ....

Is Linkedin merely a place for unemployed men to be bragging to other unemployed men? 

Anyhow, I get these Linkedin notices all the time now. I hate it. But today I clicked on one and read this excellent article about how to identify scam artists on LinkedinI read the article (It's really good - recommended!) and then returned to Linkedin.

 I also saw this! What I saw at the top of the page made me laugh! What timing! Check it out. As soon as I saw it, the little devil horns at the sides of my head started to stick out. I thought, "These guys are extremely fishy!" Here it is: 

That's funny! There's so much wrong with this that I don't know where to begin! First off, a $5.5 trillion dollar industry? Is that so? Did you know that $5.5 Trillion dollars is almost the size (or even more than, according to the U.N.) than the entire GDP of the world's third largest economy, Japan, for all of 2011... Almost as much as China's? Wow! That's some industry, eh? But what does industry size have to do with this un-named business? Can I start a mom & pop hamburger shop and say, "I'm now a part of a $30 trillion dollar (food) industry?" I can? OK. So it's not exactly a fib... But not exactly an honest way to sell a story. Besides that, there's so much else wrong with this one paragraph that I don't really know where to turn next! 

So, I'll let the hilarity begin by showing you the entire thread between me and these two guys who, while probably very nice guys, sure are stretching facts and most probably not exactly the most reputable folks you'd want to deal with... I certainly wouldn't buy a used car from Joseph! But hey! You be the judge...Are these guys just confused? Big BS'ers or scam artists?... 
Read on and you decide!

OK. I'm a little mean (I did say the devil horns were sticking out of my head)... I didn't show it here but some other naive guy had answered this foolish post and said he wanted details! Suckers! There's one born every minute, they say! I don't show his post because I want to protect his identity and not allow all scam artists to know where they can find a big fish. But then I realized that this initial post was from over 2 weeks before and they had only gotten one response. Gee, ya thunk that's a failure in marketing? I added:

Chuckling, I left it at that. You gotta realize that if you post something about such a grand business opportunity in such a huge business and you only get one response from Zairbambwe, then you are definitely doing it wrong. It gets worse. Joseph got mad and wrote back to me which made my devil horns grow even larger... His partner jumps in too. Read this:

Thanks to Johnnie and the magic of the "internets" I was able to, within 15 seconds, determine the name of the company they were probably talking about. It looks like a company called, "ACN."

Something still felt wrong." I also did some checking about ACN. I searched, "ACN scam" here's what I found.... There's over 1 million results on a Google search of "ACN scam." This one stuck out the most:

A pyramid scheme? To read more about a pissed off former ACN sales person, read this. This guy's story is hair raising!:

I signed up with ACN about a year ago, lost my job was trying to look for steady income and tried something I've never done before.. As many of you know to join you need to pay $500.00, plus you have to get qualified with a ordered services which will give you the points. I got my "revolutionary" video phone for total price of little over $200..00, I got mypersonal page for 29/.99 a month, which I "really needed" to control and monitor for cash flow (as I was told by my sponsor) Total I had 3 points for about $68'.00 a month, but that wasn't enough to be qualified ACN rep|. I was looking for another 2 points to Qualify,. I was on the contract with Sprint, decided to brake it, paid early termination fees, (for which I'm not putting any blame on anybody) and signed up with AT&T through ACN WIRELESS to complete my points!. After I got approved and received my phone I was very disappointed as my phone was refurbished and had some of previous owner information in it:. I called ACN WIRELESS to complain, and I was "politely" told that if I want to exchange this phone, first I have to send my phone and wait for another to arrive which they didn't have in the stock at that moment.. I'm using my cellphone daily and couldn't afford not to have it for couple of days, so I agreed to keep it. The problems started in 60 days when my phone started to freeze, I don't want to go through all nightmare with ACN WIRELESS eventually I had to cancel my contract with AT&T and paid them 200.00 termination fees. I was happy that is over.. BUT IT WASN'T! Almost a year after, last week, I received a collection notice from ACN WIRELESS that I owe them $200.00 additional fees for braking my contract with ACN WIRELESS! Is it a JOKE?! Why this scam still continues? Anybody PLEASE STOP THIS RIP OFF! We are all trying to survive in this wick economy, and companies like ACN with their services pulling us down dipper in debts!

Awright! Another satisfied customer! Thank you sir, may I have another?

Also read this and see more information about the complaints against and money making prospects of ACN. They don't look too good: (PS: In Japan, MLM is only allowed to the 3rd generation, not the seventh! So ACN's plan has big hurdles in Japan if they ever launch here.)

Wow! Anyway, with a bit of knowledge, I went back and decided to see how these guys would react. Joseph's response was hilarious! I decided to goad him on. Check it: 

"I'll send you a bill for services later!?" Chuckle. I then did an investigative research job on ACN itself and found that, while what Joseph said about a "$5.5 trillion dollar industry..." and that " (meaning me) are already a customer..." wasn't exactly the whole truth, it is definitely an example of dishonest and misleading information. It would be called "twisting" if this were according to SEC rules. Meaning it is dishonest.... Well, we could already tell that Joseph has a "big mouth" and, well, isn't the most forth-coming and up-front person you'd ever want to meet. I certainly wouldn't buy a car from him... Nor would I allow him in my house.... 

So Joseph gets caught in what I think most people might call a lie.... I added:

So are Joseph and Johnnie big BSers? Probably. Especially Joseph. At least Johnnie is smart enough to keep his cool. Joseph can't probably because he can't "use ur brain." Or maybe his English is so tortured from texting back and forth with underaged girls! Chuckle! 

After this I wrote to Johnnie a few times (Joseph basically disappeared and ran away) and asked for his comment about Joseph's outrageous claims. Johnnie skirted the issue and wouldn't answer my quieries. He kept changing the subject.

Above, you can see that Joseph claims to be retired at 35. But a look at his online profile shows that he lists his job as "Regional Director. 

He tried this recruiting scheme on another Linkedin group where he listed his job description. I commented there:

"Hey! Wait a minute! You just told me you were retired at 35! Now you say you are management recruiter. Which is it, Joseph? Are you retired or not?" He hasn't bothered to respond.

Is ACN a scam? Well the TV news seems to think so. Are Joseph and Johnnie scam artists? I don't know. It's up to you to decide.... One thing I can say is that they are crap at writing catch copy, recruiting people and extremely dodgy in the honesty department...

If you wish to do business with these folks, be my guest. You've been forewarned.

Your investigative reporter, me! Good night! Your comments welcomed.... Especially if you've dealt with ACN!

This video will drop your jaw! Big Shot ACN salesmen who pleaded guilty in federal court for drug trafficking? Wow!

The data on the above video says, "Think ACN isn't a scam?? The state of Montana doesn't think so. 300 reps signed up in 2009 and ACN only paid out less than $900 among them (and don't tell me that they didn't work hard enough or were lazy or didn't follow the system...that's a stupid excuse since at 
least 1 of the 300 would've worked hard and did what they were told to do)"

UPDATE! One of the commentators of the above video wrote:

"Folks, ACN Gravy train left the building 17 years ago just when it first started. The first few IBO are only ones who could have made some money (if you do the math). People don't make money anymore. If you need proof, go to click "earning statement" link bottom right. (Canadian law force them to state average earnings). When you stop recruiting, the money stops. Residual income will only cover half of yearly renewal fees."

Is this true? OK. Let's check. Here is a screen capture of the link at At the very bottom right it says "Earning statement." I click that and this is what appeared:

Average earnings of $500 a year? When it costs $500 just to join and well over that to run the business? I don't know about you but I think if you go to a "Sales meeting" and you hear the words, "Upline," "Downline," or "ACN" you'd better run like hell and not look back.

POST-UPDATE: The Better Business Bureau does list ACN, but ACN's rating is not the top. In fact, it had 295 complaints last year alone! Compare that with Amway (not a big fan of Amway either) who had zero complaints in the last year (

Amway is rated A+. The highest rating:
On ACN's page ( there's even an "Alert" warning. The Amway page shows no such alert. The Alert talks about ACN and problems in Montana (as evidenced in the video above): 

That's bad enough, but 295 complaints? Terrible!

Here's more on ACN legal battles (From the BBB):

Government Actions
The following describes a government action that has been resolved by either a settlement or a decision by a court or administrative agency. If the matter is being appealed, it will be noted below.
On October 8, 2010 the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance and ACN, Inc., a direct seller of telecommunications services, announced their resolution of an action alleging that the company was operating in violation of the Montana Securities Act.
Earlier this year, the Commissioner's Office filed an action alleging that the company was in violation of the code that regulates multi-level distribution companies in Montana. In the course of the Commissioner's Office's investigation, the Commissioner determined that the actions giving rise to the Commissioner's concerns were not part of the ACN business model, but were taking place by ACN's independent representatives working in Montana.

In a joint effort to protect Montana citizens, the Commissioner and ACN have agreed that ACN will implement additional training with its independent representatives, to assist them in better understanding their responsibilities as ACN independent representatives. ACN will also contact its Montana video phone customers to assist them with installation of their service and continued technical assistance.

Both the Commissioner and ACN are pleased with this positive outcome, and the Commissioner's efforts to protect Montana residents. 
The Bureau of Consumer Services in Pennsylvania got complaints about "slamming" - switching to different provider without consent, and "cramming" (overcharging).
At 2004 Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigated the Australian Communications Network Pty Ltd (Australian ACN). Alleged breach of Trade Practices Act from 1974. At 2005 ACN Justice Selway judged that australian ACN attempted to induce people to take part in a pyramid selling scheme. But federal court appeal reversed decision and ruled that "recruitment payments" did not fall under the definitions of the law. ACCC appealed, The High Court of Australia refused the ACCC's appeal.
SAS ACN Communications France was said to be gulity of misleading advertising by the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris at 2007 and ordered to pay 15,000 euros.
ACN complained against Pacific Bell at 1997 for violating 202(a) and 252(i) of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. 202(a) and 252(i).
UPDATE #2: Now Joseph threatens me with physical violence (along with his bastardized English):

This guy has to be the perfect poster boy for this company. What a great representative. How inspiring!


Anonymous said...

I didn't do ACN but my dumb (but now wiser) friend did. He lost $499 and a lot of time... Probably a pretty cheap lesson in life, I figure.
-Stephen Lee
Redondo Beach, Calif.

Anonymous said...

ACN is a fraud and these two guys seem quite oily. ROFTL!

Zanchito said...

This is golden comedy! Thanks, Mike!

Anonymous said...

Yo! This shit is the bomb! LOL!!!!! Where do I sign up?.... NOT!

Anonymous said...

ACN is a scam. They've tried to start in Japan and announced a launch in 2010... then again in 2011... People have paid money, yet here it is, almost 2013, and NO ACN in Japan.

It's a scam!

Anonymous said...

I've never joined ACN..I almost did but thank God I didn't..but I've seen rep after rep after rep never making it since 2008.... You are doing people a favor here with the report. - Cgasucks