Writer’s Ripoff Forum

Although I’ve had overall great success working for virtual companies, two ripped me off. I believe the one CEO went to federal prison, and the other still operates several companies out of the greater Los Angeles area.

After posting an article about my experience with an LA business owner, I received comments from my readers that noted several were ripped off after writing for different companies.

This is a forum to note the companies that don’t pay. This section offers a list of companies or individuals that rip off writers with details about the transaction. When other writers notify me of specific companies that ripped them off, I will add their names to the list. Hopefully, this will be a VERY SHORT list.

Please contact me with details if a company did not pay you for work rendered.

41 Responses “Writer’s Ripoff Forum” →
  1. College Life Magazine is a scam. I lost $350 when they promised a full-page ad. Have never seen the ad and never will.

    Reply
    • I’m sorry to hear that. I would be happy to arbitrate with College Life Magazine if you would like me to. Just let me know. Also, if I had more detail, I would include it a separate post to notify this blog’s readership.

      Reply

  2. annoyed

    June 13, 2011

    I also was duped by College Life Magazine. There is no magazine, it is a complete ripoff. Ryan Okeefe and his assistant Cathy will create a fake ad and pretend they are putting it in the next issue. They also go by other titles like collegenation, college life chicago, among others. Don’t fall for it.

    Reply
    • I really appreciate your providing this information. We need others like you who are willing to share their stories, so that the rest of us don’t get ripped off. I think I’ve actually seen job ads for this magazine. Glad to know the truth and have names to also look out for — thanks!

      Reply

  3. Thomas Issacson

    June 14, 2011

    I work for this magazine and I can assure you it is a real magazine. I would be happy to send anyone a copy who believes otherwise.

    Reply

  4. Thomas Issacson

    June 14, 2011

    you get one un happy client and they just love to rub your name through the mad. Im sure I know who this client is and the ad price was refunded….there shouldnt be a problem!

    Reply

  5. Thomas Issacson

    June 14, 2011

    file:///C:/Users/r2d2/Pictures/2011-06-14_08-39-31_843.jpg

    Heres a snap shot of the mag…if anyone is unhappy contact the company and they will be more than happy to work it out with you. The magazine is real and we can send you proof so we arent getting slammed. Sorry for whatever reason you think this company is trying to scam you. We will do anything and everything to make sure everyone is happy

    Reply
  6. Company was scammed out of $3000. We have filed a complaint to BBB and authorities. Ryan Okeefe is a fraud and do not do business with College Life Magazine.

    Reply
  7. I have worked with College Life, Ryan Okeefe and can verify that the business is a scam. I have been working with him since this past summer. The reason that I know is because I still have not been paid for some on my work that I have helped him with. Things did not seem right so I did some research, made some phone calls and Poof….got some interesting information. The business was dissolved in 2010 because he was involved in illegal activity with a previous employer. Hmmm….do not be fooled.

    Reply
  8. Ever heard of Photoshop? Any moron can superimpose a photo into a “magazine” they made digitally or in their garage. When I received my “copy” of the magazine, it was a wrinkled, outdated magazine with a publication date of over a year beforehand. The magazine is about 10 pages long, if that’s considered a magazine, more like a flyer. That incident is in the past and, yes, money was refunded, but he had the nerve to tell me (after all this drama) that the magazine was coming out soon and he would send me a copy to show me. Once again, never saw the magazine. Just a lot of defensive, uptight, meaningless excuses on this forum.

    It’s over and I am over it. I just happened to run across this when searching for another possible person in my business life trying to scam me. I am glad to see some verification from the former employee. Thanks, Scammed, for your honesty.

    Reply
  9. It sounds like you may have encountered the original publisher of the magazine. He ended up scamming me, others AND the financial backers of the magazine. They approached me when they saw my post about it and wanted to compensate me for my trouble. They were all very nice, accommodating folks. I think they have a great idea for a magazine, so, hopefully, they will get it off the ground and be able to do something spectacular with it.

    Reply
  10. College Life is most definitely a poorly run business. I feel horrible because my clients paid them $350 October ’11 for an article about their artists to go to print for the Winter Issue. We completed the questions, submitted them and were told that the article had been printed in the January Issue. Still waiting to receive copies of the article and of course it was never posted to their website as promised either.

    Everytime you email them, the response is “it’s in the mail”, “it’s on my desk”, “I’ll send it out first thing”. I just filed a complaint with them through the BBB. I try to be patient but seriously it’s been 6 months almost since my clients submitted payment. There’s no excuse for that.

    Never again will I encourage my clients to “pay to play” so to speak with a publication.

    Reply
    • I emphatically agree, “Big Apple.” This is not the way to run a business or treat your customers. There is no excuse for it and I could not agree with you more. It’s always disappointing to hear a company treating its clients like this. Thank you for posting this comment for our readers to know.

      Reply
      • you’re welcome! I’m glad I reported them to the BBB because it’s forcing them to actually prove restitution. They’re claiming copies of the magazine were sent out to me on 3.6.12 but we’ll see if that really happened. I’ll keep you guys posted. But I stated clearly on the response I made within the BBB’s system that until I receive physical copies in my hand I’m going to continue to file complaints with every major consumer protections board out there. It’s not that I get a high from doing that, but I REALLY don’t get a high from having my company’s good name dirtied when I recommended my clients use this company for press.

        It’s NOT okay to blow people off – especially if you’re demanding money up front. I’m a small business owner as well and I know it can be a lot to keep up with the demands of a number of clients at once, but that’s NO excuse. It takes seconds to mail something – especially nowadays when you can even request a pick up through the USPS.

        I’m just sad my clients paid with a wire transfer. If it had been via CC I would have told them to do a charge back. With all the emails (seriously we’re talking at least 15 or so of back and forth asking where the magazines are), my clients would have gotten the chargeback instantly approved.

      • I think you’ve shared some great pointers. If your clients paid via wire transfer, this company committed FEDERAL fraud by not paying. I would contact the FBI via this link and file a formal complaint, so that they can investigate. Since you already have all the information they’d need, I wouldn’t think it would take that long for them to indict the offenders.

      • Thank you for that update! I most definitely will! College Life responded to my last BBB reply saying if I didn’t receive the magazines by EOD this Friday they would begin to initiate a refund. Good to know that I have this as the ultimate and final recourse if College Life chooses to try to keep evading doing the right thing.

      • That is big news, Big Apple. I hope they’ll finally step up to the plate and make good on their commitment — one way or another — you go, girl!


  11. College Life Sucks

    March 21, 2012

    Thank you for allowing me to post this to my Blog: collegelifemagazinesucks. I have worked with Ryan Okeefe and Cathy and they both are scamming small businesses out of thousands and thousands of dollars. Anyone wishing to get a refund will def not.
    I have spoke to his previous employer whom he also scammed out of over $15 thousand. The FBI was involved but she had stated that was the end. I am hoping to get enough publicity out there that he is finally shut down. There are also several filed police reports out there. Anyone wishing to add to the police report please contact me at tomcollegelife@gmail.com. (I obviously am not Tom. Ryan created ficticious people to act as “associates”, and Tom Issacson was one of them.)

    Reply
    • Thank you for the comment, CLS. Always grateful when people share their experiences to warn others before they get scammed, too. Greatly appreciate it.

      Reply

  12. Tom College Life

    March 21, 2012

    I am glad that I came across this post. I have filed several police reports against Ryan O’Keefe and Cathy. The company College Life Magazine was dissolved in 2010 because of fraud. I have spoken to Ryan’s previous employer whom he frauded over 20 thousand dollars. I have also documentation from other companies that he and Cathy have scammed.
    My name is obviously not Tom. Tom Issaccson is a fictitious employee that Ryan has created to make it seem the company employs. I can be emailed at tomcollegelife@Gmail.com if you would like to contribute to the police report or an upcoming lawsuit. There is an estimated $80 thousand plus in fraud that he has committed. Not to bad for a one man show. Lets bring him and his company to an end!!

    Reply
    • Hello, TCL. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry to hear about your experience, but it sure helps prevent others from being scammed when they’re able to read comments like yours. Very interesting detail and it always amazes me when these type of people are able to reinvent themselves and continue to scam others out of their hard-earned money.

      Reply
  13. I recieved an email this morning from someone named “Tom”. I do not know who he is or his connection to College Life. I did check out his blog (assuming he worked with Ryan and Cathy).
    I decided to comment on here because I too was scammed out of over $10 grand from Ryan okeefe and College Life. It was not on a business level it was on a personal one. Ryan stole my identity and tried to open up several merchant accounts using my name and ss #. This all happened in the months of Dec/Jan. I personally dated Ryan for a very short period of time in the fall, only to end it when reality set in and his stories never met fact. It wasn’t until after I left him that I was contacted by several companies about the stolen identity. After researching the theft, I am trying to clean up his mess that he attributed to my credit. I also spoke to several companies that he delt with while we dated, which at the time I did not know the company was fake. They too confirmed that they were scammed by College Life. I have written documentation to prove so.
    His ex gf is somehow involved, which I’m sure that previous businesses have spoke with. I have stopped perusing him long ago, but after viewing this I see he is still up to no good. I will speak again to the Chicago authorities, personal friends in the FBI and see what can come of this.
    Thank you all for writing your stories, the Internet is a lovely place.

    Reply
    • If I understand one of the previous comments, ATSC, Tom is a fictitious character made up by Ryan O’Keefe. It never ceases to amaze me when people perpetuate fraud like this. It’s stunning. So glad people are willing to share their stories here, so we can warn others to stay away and maybe put a dent in their fraudulent activity. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
      –Sherry

      Reply
  14. I was also scammed by these people. Since they take money over state lines it is a federal crime. Can someone contact me if there is already an open complaint to the FBI so I can just add my complaint to that.

    Reply
    • I’m sorry this happened to you, Steve. I received communication from the owners of this company and they were mortified that this guy ripped me off. They trusted him to manage the company and, instead, he ripped off the writers. I will look to see if I still have his name and phone number. If I do, I will get it to you.

      Reply
  15. I am continuously still receiving emails in my inbox about Ryan Okeefe and College Life Magazine. One would assume that he had moved on to a new hobby. Please folks, do your research before you give some nobody your hard earned cash.

    Reply

  16. nearly scammed

    September 24, 2012

    I was approached via business inquiry by Ryan O’Keefe. Thankfully I did my due diligence and came across sites like this. He offered a full page ad for $500. Its great that the internet makes it harder for con artists to carry out their trade.

    Reply
    • I’ve seen several comments here about Ryan O’Keefe, and am definitely posting your comment here. Thank you for providing this information.

      Reply
  17. I’ve been scammed too out of $350 for an ad also, but was enticed with a free feature article on my new product that “is perfect for college students”. I did do some research… checked out the website, he sent me pdfs… duh… but I didn’t go deep enough. I have filed suits with the State of Illinois, the internet fraud department, my credit card company, paypal, etc. I shipped some of my product to what may be Ryan’s home address if anyone is interested… 7135 Maplewood Ave., Hammond, IN 46324

    Reply
    • It always pains me to hear when someone has been scammed. I’m sorry to hear that, but posting here may help others take notice and about being ripped off. Thank you for letting us know!

      Sherry

      Reply
    • Hi, JJ. I always post information like this to warn our readers of these companies. Thank you for the information. It could help someone else avoid these pitfalls.

      Reply
  18. Caraccessories.com is guilty of copyright infringement

    In February 2012 I was hired by Caraccessories.com to write content for their website. I was referred to them by a website developer I had worked with several times. I interviewed Elena, the principle person in the company and wrote the copy, which was followed by a revision. It was then posted on their Home Page and repeated on the About Us page. I submitted an invoice for $130.00.

    Elena said it was higher than she expected, but that she would pay it and asked me to give her time to do so. I said okay. But as time passed, she continued to put me off with the excuse that business was bad until I finally decided this was simply a ploy. I confirmed this when I contacted the website developer and learned that Caraccessories.com still owed him money too.

    I finally submitted an official complaint on the U.S. Department of Justice website. I was interviewed by a law enforcement officer who then contacted http://www.caraccessories.com and informed them they needed to pay for the content on their site.

    And they still haven’t paid.

    Although they recently removed my content from their Home Page, it is still on their About page.

    I can live without the $130.00. But it is completely unacceptable to me that caraccessories.com continues to illegally publish my content on their website. It amazes me they have this level of audacity—even to defy a law enforcement officer!

    I would like others to know about the unethical behavior of http://www.caraccessories.com. I don’t recommend anyone doing business with them. Perhaps if this story circulates the Internet they might discover that seo can be both positive and negative.

    Reply
    • Hello, Chip. Very good to know and can’t thank you enough for posting this information here. Helps others now to stay away from that company.

      There are steps you can take to have your content removed. One method is to report it through Google at this link — http://support.google.com/bin/static.py?hl=en&ts=1114905&page=ts.cs.

      This is a good article that gives great detail about how to combat copyright infringement and have your content removed — I will warn you; it is very wordy!

      Thank you again for posting this information here.

      Sherry

      Reply
    • Hi, Chip. I may have already approved a later comment of yours, but I am going to post this one, too. You’ve provided great detail and I thank you for that. It will help readers take notice of this company and avoid being ripped off by them. Thank you for posting your comment here!

      Sherry

      Reply
  19. Just an FYI, Ryan O’Keefe is now trying to do the same scamming through another fictitious magazine “University Life Magazine.” Ryan Okeefe is still out there just under a different publication name!

    Reply
    • That’s amazing. They will do that — drop off one venue and pop up in another. It’s just the way scammers work. The great thing is that diligent screeners like yourself make it more difficult for them to hide!

      Reply
    • Thank you for the warning. We always appreciate the heads up on situations like this.

      Reply
  20. Thanks, Sherry. I will check out the link you provided on steps to have my content removed from caraccessories.com.

    Reply

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