010920091146Him, “Hello Mr. Callerwarl…” He sounded Asian, but I couldn’t be sure because of the way the American accent bounced off his tongue right into my ears.

“Hi, just call me Kola.” I said. I was busy with some translation work on my laptop, and with a few more people in the chat window.

“Yes, Mr. Callerwarl… you recently tried to register for Google ATM, so we are calling to give you more information about Google ATM, and how you can make money with it online.”

My instincts on this one clearly warned me to hang up the phone, because from the haze of my memory, what I read about Google ATM already raised red flags in my mind. They are not affiliated to Google, yet they use the name as if Google put them up to it. The company’s name only rhymed with Spam in my Nigerian mind. But I remained a little calm.

“Really,” I said, “I’m sorry I think I cancelled the registration. I wasn’t interested anymore.”

“That’s what we thought, and that’s why I’m calling, to explain more how the program works and how you can make money using Google ATM.” He replied.

I was truly busy, and I wasn’t interested. Haven’t I already proven the second fact by not completing the online registration?

“I’m sorry.” I said. “I’m really busy but if you could give me a link online where I can read up everything about it, I’ll be more than glad to read it up at my spare time. I don’t think I found plenty information about it when I checked, and right now, I’m pretty occupied. Do you mind?”

“Mr. Callerwarl… I am calling to explain it all to you. You see, I can tell you now how you can make money online with our service. We’ll send you the kit in less than 24 hours.”

Then I had a worrying thought.

“Wait a minute. Am I paying for this call?” I asked. It’s always good to be sure.

“No.”

“Okay.” I said, assured. “Let me also ask, just to be sure. Have I agreed to any part of your service yet?”

“No. That’s why I’m calling so as to tell you how.” He said “You only need to pay a dollar and …cents for the package that will be sent to you in less than 24 hours… ”

“So it’s not like I’ve agreed and signed up. No? Good. Please continue.”

Have you heard of Craigslist?” He asked.

“Yes, I have.” I said.

“You can make money through the website by advertising.” He didn’t care to explain. He only asked again. “Have you heard of blogging?”

This one flipped me.

“I think so.” I replied.

“Those are ways to make money through our Google ATM… We will send you a complete package as soon as I sign you up…”

“Oh, thank you.” I said, stopping him once again. “As much as I would have loved to hear you go on, I really have to work. I may sign up. I may not. But if I could only get your website, I can go and read more.”

“Let me have one and a half minutes of your time, and I’ll explain it to you here how…” he continued.

“Really, I wish I had that much time. Do you not have a website link where I can check all I need to know?” I asked.

“No, but I can tell you…”

“I’m sorry. I can’t talk now.”

“Is there any other time when I can call you?”

“No, not really.” I said. I’d rather you let me read it up myself.”

“Okay, no problems. Thank you for taking this call, Mr. Callerwarl…” He said, sounding a little disappointed, and hung up after I thanked him too. He didn’t give me any internet links. Apparently, to such an important and customer-friendly company, an assuring phone call is a better way to get loyal clients than robotic internet pages. Oh America!

My restless Nigerian fingers immediately went to Google to read more. Here among other things was what I discovered in the fine print of the agreement everyone signs at that point of registration (All emphasis mine):

“By submitting this form I authorize Google ATM (DRI*GoogleATM) to immediately charge my credit card $1.95 USD for the setup of the Google ATM Home Business Kit. I hereby request that Google ATM (DRI*GoogleATM) activate my account and authorize them to advance funds as indicated. Monthly Service fees will commence seven days from the date of this purchase, and will be billed monthly thereafter. After the seven day trial you will be billed Sixty nine dollars and ninety cents USD monthly for the continued access to the Google Money Making System. No refunds will be given for failure to use the requested and provided services. We reserve the right to transfer your billing to a third party Merchant of Record.”

See, it is sometimes good to have come from Nigeria. You read everything before you sign it. Well, almost everything.

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