Businesses that lie—and are proud of it

These companies are forthright about their lying ways.

Illustration by: Teresanne CosseCompanies that lie

Alibi Network
Our first call to this company is appropriately mysterious; we’re patched through to a woman who sounds like a dead ringer for a Russian spy. “Vello? Vis is Alibi Network.” The service, launched in 2005 in Buffalo Grove, will do pretty much anything you need to aid and abet a lie. Attending a “conference” in the Caribbean? Alibi will deliver false paperwork to your boss. A weekend “fishing trip”? They’ll send faux college buds to your door, poles in hand. Starts at $35, alibinetwork.net.

Rent a Date
It’s pageantry worthy of the movies: Pay a dashing Don or Debbie to pose as your significant other—no s-e-x attached. “I’m a Christian guy and I just refused to be a pimp,” says Steve Braem, founder of the Glen Ellyn–based company. The service, going strong since 1999, presents a photo database of about 100 background-checked “escorts”—currently, ages 21 to 62—who’ll play along with any back story, provided you stay in public in the Chicago area. One of Braem’s top tales is about a newbie newscaster who paid fake fans to flock to his table while out with station bosses. More common: hiring a wedding date. Starts at $190 for two hours, rentadate.com.

The Reference Store
Résumé fudging is a fine line. Miles beyond that, there’s this nine-month-old biz that, so far, has waded through ethically troubled waters to help 64 people score jobs in Chicago. From its Wyoming headquarters, TRS creates phony former employers, complete with websites and local phone numbers, for job seekers worldwide. The first Chicago client: A man dishonorably discharged from the Army found work as a personal trainer in 17 days. “We believe that everyone deserves a second chance,” says operations manager David Everett. “Is Robin Hood a criminal? It depends on who you ask.” If you’re asking the personal trainer who didn’t get the gig, we’d back up a few steps. Starts at $44.95, plus $19.95 a month, thereferencestore.com.

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