Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm a retired teacher turned writer. Ferradiddledumday (my Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story) and Stuck (my middle grade paranormal novel) are available from Cedar Creek Publishing.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Today's scams

Today must have been National Scam Day. One scam came as a letter in this morning’s mail; the other was an email:

The letter began: “It is my pleasure to inform you that you are being considered for inclusion into the 2006/2007 C[*rest of name deleted by me*] Who’s Who Among Professional Women in Writing and Publishing ‘Honors Edition’ of the Registry.” An obvious scam, if there ever was one. I wasn’t thrilled with the dubious honor.

For one thing, it addressed me by my given name, which I don’t use when I write. In fact, the last time I used my given name was a few months ago when I subscribed to Writer’s Digest. Gee, do you suppose there’s a connection? Both have to do with writing. Nonetheless, my curiosity having been piqued, I checked the suspicious Who’s Who website and learned that this particular Who’s Who was a result of a merger of two other scammy Who’s Who outfits.

This page of the CWW website gives the following info:
[The CWW] registry is a compilation of member biographies highlighting their company, expertise, and achievements. Recognition is a privilege and an honor shared by tens of thousands of members every year. Your listing in the registry is a tribute to you and your professional achievements and accomplishments. Our registry is published in an elegant hardcover format, which should proudly be displayed in your home or office. The registry is an important part of membership and is offered exclusively to our members.

Would that be exclusively to anyone who fills out the postcard and sends it in? And what exactly is an “elegant hardcover format”? Are there inelegant hardcover formats floating around out there?

What’s sad is that some other recipients of the letter were probably thrilled with the, uh, honor of being included.

The scam email I received today was allegedly from PayPal. “Dear valued PayPal® member,” it began. And continued:
It has come to our attention that your PayPal® account information needs to be updated as part of our continuing commitment to protect your account and to reduce the instance of fraud on our website. If you could please take 5-10 minutes out of your online experience and update your personal records you will not run into any future problems with the online service.

However, failure to update your records will result in account suspension.
Please update your records on or before August 12, 2006.
Then it gave a URL for me to click to update my records. How did I know this email was a scam? Probably because I don’t have a PayPal account. And that "5-10 minutes out of your online experience" sounds a little weird. Like maybe English isn't the poster's primary language.

I was surprised that I didn’t also get an email for a 419 scam (aka Nigerian scam) today. I usually get one every week or so. If you’ve ever gotten one of the Nigerian Scam letters, you’ll love this website which has accounts of how the scammers were themselves scammed. The “Tale of the Holy Cow” is a hoot. (Warning: contains adult language and humor—or, more accurately, immature but incredibly funny humor.)

I wonder if any Nigerian scammers are listed in Who’s Who.

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