AARP pushes pyramid scheme onto retirees
AARP’s stated mission is to “empower people to choose how they live as they age.”
For some reason part of that mission is pushing a pyramid scheme onto its members.
AARP is a non-profit and charges $16 a year for membership.
AARP membership provides access to targeted financial, employment, community, shopping, health and insurance services.
The organization has a feature-rich website, which provides a ton of information to members and non-members alike.
In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, retirees are among some of the most vulnerable members of society.
In what appears to be an effort to provide solutions to retirees coping at home, ib April 24th AARP published an article titled “19 Jobs You Can Do Without Leaving the House“.
The article is authored by Stacy Rapacon, a freelance writer in New York who claims to specialize in personal finance.
At first glance Rapacon’s job suggestions don’t raise any eyebrows. Some, like “mock juror”, even sound intriguing.
A reader wrote in to ask about Rapacon’s twelfth suggestion though, “Negotiator”.
Sounds innocent enough, and even the provided description is pretty tame.
Who’s hiring: Path One Group
Average hourly pay: $17 to $25
If your communication skills are particularly persuasive, becoming a bill negotiation advocate could be right up your alley.
Through its Autopilot product, the tech company Viv, a subsidiary of Path One Group, aims to help people lower their monthly bills for cable, cellphone plans, internet and other utilities.
And they need negotiators to do the dirty work of haggling with the likes of Comcast, Verizon and other service providers most people would prefer not to talk to themselves.
The company is looking for both full-time and part-time negotiators and states in the job listing that the role can earn $50,000 to $75,000 a year or more, based on performance.
At first I thought AARP had seriously published an article pushing Viv, an MLM opportunity.
That’s not the case though. The “negotiator” position involves calling up utilities providers to get a cheaper billing contract on behalf of Viv’s clients.
The problem is Viv in all likelihood operates as a pyramid scheme.
The “negotiator” service is sold through Pro Memberships, which is required to qualify for all commissions paid through Viv’s MLM opportunity.
This lends itself to signing up as a Pro Member, recruiting others who do the same and getting paid for it. In MLM, this constitutes a pyramid scheme.
Granted AARP aren’t pushing participation in the pyramid scheme itself, but would it have hurt to do some wider research on promoted positions?
Imagine going for a negotiator position at the recommendation of AARP, getting the position and later being sucked into the pyramid side of the business.
For a retiree looking for work to make ends meet, that has the potential to be financially devastating.
Readers of Rapacon’s published article also point out that one suggested position link throws up a “dangerous web page” security warning.
Out of curiosity I tried to visit the website and found that since Rapacon’s article was published, the entire company’s website is gone.
Other readers reported concerns of having to hand over personal information and being qualified but rejected for positions still advertised as open.
Who is writing these articles? I had to stop when I got to the part, “a plethora” of jobs are available in technology.
Really? I would beg to differ.
Why would you attempt to make it sound like so many jobs are sitting unfilled and let those that are unemployed during a global pandemic should be able to ‘find’ one.
Who writes this nonsense? So far, not overly impressed with this new membership.
I’m not here to tell AARP how to run their organization, but at the very least it sounds like their editorial oversight policy is in need of review.