Thursday, February 16, 2012

Phishing, Fraud, and No Returns

My post this month is on Phishing, which I’ve learned can come in many forms not just as I’ve described below. I’m sure you’ve received these types of emails, but until I heard from other authors about the ramifications of this flattery, I never thought of it in this light. I hope it helps you.

This week, I received an email from a young woman from Russia telling me Shut Up and Kiss Me was the first romance she’d ever read and she was in love with my writing. She further went on to say she was just learning English, and frankly, it was no big surprise given the way the email was written.

My initial thought was this was just another attempt for a free book, something that has been an ongoing request from time to time. But much to my surprise, she ended the email with a simple request for an autograph. Honestly, it warmed my heart and gave me new hope that there were some good people out there who weren’t looking for a handout. Innocent enough, right? Wrong!

It seems Katarina and the various aliases she uses did a mass mailing to several of my author friends and it’s all centered around your signature. When we compared notes, the body of the letter was the same, but the names had been changed to protect the innocent . . . or maybe not so innocent. But I was ready to send her a bookmark and a card with my signature.

I’m sure this has happened to a lot of you at one time or another, and while the initial request is flattering, the end result can be disastrous. It seems little Katrina and her buddies learn how to copy your signature and create a whole host of other problems for you, none of which affects them-- unless they’re caught.

I’ve received other scam calls, emails, and text messages in the past and just deleted them, never taking the time to actually go to Snopes to check it out. I hope you will take the time now to check out this site on fraud. It can save you from problems down the road. Please spread the word.


Carolyn Brown said...

Thanks for the information! That's scary!

Sandy Cody said...

Wow! Thanks so much for posting this, Carolyn. It's useful advice.

Carolyn Hughey said...

Carolyn and Sandy, it is scary and something I never gave a thought to before. As writers, most of us live in our own little world, creating our stories, trusting everyone and never thinking it can happen to us. The unfortunate thing is scams like this happen all the time, it just hasn't affected us, but advanced technology has made it even more scary. Ack!

Thanks for posting.

Rebecca L. Boschee said...

Thanks for the head's up, Carolyn. You can never be too careful!

Carolyn Hughey said...

That's for sure, Rebecca. And I'm the worst offender. I'm a sucker for salesmen!

Gina/Katherine said...

Wow! That's a scary thought. And some authors are so eager to be recognized, they'd fa.ll for it. Thanks for the warning

Carolyn Hughey said...

That's for sure. I think the most important thing I gleaned from this experience is to be cognizant of checking out the facts from a reliable sources before I take the leap. I think trusting is important, but trust what's in your gut too.