Facebook users: Uncle Scam wants YOU!

By Scott Green

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for ways to improve yourself. “How can I make more money,” you might ask, or “How can I grow taller,” or “How can I get four neckties for $1?”

Yes, they’re all possible, thanks to companies placing ads on Facebook. And you know they’re solid offers because Facebook has an extensive screening policy for potential advertisers, which consists of:

1. Making sure they have valid credit card.

During one of the 98 hours I spent on Facebook last week, I noticed a link (under another advertisement) that said “more ads.” I have to imagine I’m the only person who’s ever clicked on this. It took me to a page with 30 additional promotions, including 23 for sites promising to teach me, an average cretin citizen whose only discernable skill is eating fast, how to get the government to hand me tens of thousands of dollars.

Apparently – according to a site called “My Gov’t Bailout” – the federal teat is just oozing with checks for $12,000. Maybe more! “I should be getting another check for about $45,000 in about 15 days,” writes the site’s author, although it’s unclear if he actually expects the check or uses the word “should” in the sense that Playboy Playmates “should” hand-feed me grapes.

Also it was a little discouraging that the image of the check on the Web site may have been doctored, because the numerical value was written as “$12,000” while the spelled-out value was “Nineteen Thousand One Hundred Forty-One.” Similar sites advertising on Facebook use the same image of a U.S. Treasury check, each with a different name Photoshopped next to “Pay to the order of.”

But I say you take them up on it anyway, because if you get as much as one measly dollar, you can buy yourself four neckties. Thanks to Belisi Fashions Inc., you have 18 styles to choose from, including “Calidiscope,” which the site describes as “A blue silk necktie that reminds me of a blue calidiscope [sic] with colorful bursts of fun. Party on.”

To party on with the tie deal you need only provide your name, address and credit card information, and agree to the terms and conditions. For example, the company charges $14.95 for “expedited” shipping. Also, if you don’t return the ties within 14 days of your sign-up date (regardless of when you actually receive them), Belisi enrolls you in their tie club, which costs $7.49 per month, billed annually. Your ties wind up costing $105.83, more than 105 times the promised amount.

But still! They have a purple tie! Called “Purple Passion”! How cute is that? And it’s only available from the Belisi Fashions corporation, which the site points out has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, quite possibly in the form of a paid advertisement!

So you should definitely get the tie deal. But you might want to order them in “extra-long,” because Facebook also directed me to a site called “Grow Taller 4 Idiots.”

“Grow Taller 4 Idiots” is exactly what it seems: A book that teaches a way to increase personal height (“grow taller”) for (“4”) its readers (“idiots”). This is important because, in the unedited words of the Web site, “the shorter you are the more opportunities you loose.”

The site tackles the questions others are afraid to: “Why growing taller was such a tedious task?” I bet you’ve never heard anyone ask that before.

But thanks to Grow Taller 4 Idiots, “Today is your turn to grow taller and get an advantage edge.”

I sure could use an advantage edge, or at least an assistance boost – just like Toni Henso, the 21-year-old Californian who never got playing time on his college basketball team until he gained four inches in six months. According to his testimonial on the site: “Now my teammates looks at me differently, respect me and I play in matches all the time.” Those crazy basketball players! Always ignoring rule of grammars.

But the book is a great deal, marked down for what the site assures me is a limited time only from $297 to $47. That’s just $20 per inch! At that rate I could be 9 feet tall for just $720! So I’m buying a copy today, just as soon as I get my money from Uncle Scam. Er, Sam.

Scott is a third-year law student. He regularly purchases time shares.