Friday, June 13, 2008

Spam Alert

I need to alert everyone to a dangerous spam scam. Today, I put an ad on to try to find a home for my mom’s cat. I put my real name, my email address, and my cell phone number (real smart move, Lynn).

Well, within three hours, I had three emails all from guys wanting to pay top dollar for my cat. They think my cat would be perfect for their little family – they’re all married with a couple of kids, of course, and live in quaint towns with a big house and lots of yard space – and would send the bank check right away if I would only give them my complete name, address and phone number. Yeah, right.

One guy was all the way on the other coast. The second guy was about 8 states away, and the third guy – well he tried to get me to believe he was in the U.S., but he didn’t do his homework. He said he lived in Rockville, Delaware. Hey stupid, Rockville is in Maryland, not Delaware. Then he followed that with “US”, as in, “I live in Rockville Delaware US.” Again, hey stupid, if you live in the U.S. and I live in the U.S., do you really need to clarify that point? I think I know where Delaware is – or Maryland, which ever state you decide you live in. And here’s the kicker – there was an ad on the bottom of his email for Swiss Air!

I tried to remove the cat ad but couldn’t get my user name and password to work. I found the phone number of the president and company founder, Becky Saul and called. She picked up the phone and was very nice. She told me that in recent weeks their spam complaints have picked up, and that they were working on making the site blind like dating sites are, so you can’t see the personal information of the pet owner. Great idea.

In the meantime, I wanted to alert everyone to the problem and caution them not to put any personal information on such sites. I learned a hard lesson.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thanks, Tim for All Your Wisdom and Entertainment

I am very sorry to hear about the sudden death of political anchorman Tim Russert who ran the Sunday morning NBC television news show Meet the Press.

I met Tim last year when he was on tour for his book, Big Russ and Me. As a journalist, I was assigned to write an article for the Greenwich (Connecticut) Citizen — a small local weekly newspaper — on an author breakfast, for which he was one of the guest speakers. I had the honor and pleasure of interviewing him for 10 minutes after the breakfast.

Every time I saw him on television afterward, I felt proud that I once was within just a few feet of him and had a live conversation with this very important journalist and man.

Tom Brokaw, who broke the news, said that, among the many losses associated with Tim’s death, was the fact that Tim would never be able to report on such a historic presidential election, which he was looking forward to. That is truly unfortunate.

I didn’t buy the book that day. Now I wish I had. I would have gotten an autographed copy, something that everyone who is rushing to the Internet to buy his book tonight will never have.

What I do have is the memory of him, brief though it is, and that I will cherish. My condolences go out to his family and his colleagues.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.