Today I received an official, fancy letter from Biltmore Who's Who telling me that their selection committee has chosen me -- yes, ME -- to be in their prestigeous publication. All I needed to do was send them a bunch of information about myself, including my profession, phone number, e-mail address, and a bunch of other stuff that the selection committee somehow overlooked. Well, I can smell a scam like a fart in a car (with apologies to Christian Slater in "Pump Up The Volume"), but couldn't resist looking on the Internet to verify my declaration.
I stumbled upon a site called Bookkeeping Basics that had a discussion about this letter. In the discussion forum, there were testimonials from people who were actually duped by the scam. It seems once you give them your information they call you on the phone trying to sell you the book. The cost? $700 plus what appears to be some kind of handling fee. Now while I do feel some amount of sympathy for those who were scammed, I think, perhaps, it may have been worth $700 to these folks for the life lesson that you don't give your credit card number to anyone who would charge you this kind of money to get yourself in a book. Think about it - how many times have you looked for someone in a who's who book? Me? I use the Internet. When you have a legitimate site like linkedin.com that truly does bring professionals together for free (mostly), someone sending an unsolicited mailing with a nomination without knowing the first thing about your credentials just screams SCAM to me. The only thing that wasn't a scam in their letter was the fine print saying that they weren't affiliated with the real Who's Who (who I still wouldn't send my money to).
To assure that the nominating committee would have no other choice but to withdraw my selection, I took the letter with the information queries and a crayon, used the hand I can't write with, crossed out "yes" and wrote "NO - Stop Sending" in my best first grade writing style. I then put the letter and the envelope it came in into the business reply envelope (postage will be paid by addressee!) and sent it straight back from where it came.
So where did it come from? The reply envelope is addressed to 4401 NW 124 Ave, Coral Springs, FL. I looked this up on Google Maps, and the business at that location is Nordis Direct, a direct marketing firm. This is important since I did request to the DMA that I did not wish to receive junk mail. So if Nordis Direct was a legitimate direct marketing firm, they would have respected my wishes not to receive their crap. If they are legitimate (meaning, the junk came from somewhere else) then they should be a bit more discriminating about the kind of people with whom they do business.
I can't decide who to give the "Blatant Stupidity" label on this one. I'll let y'all decide.