Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Writer Scams, anyone?

Writers work really, really hard, and most of us don't have Donald Trump sums of money (not that we'd ever WANT to be that idiot, but you know what I mean.) So why scam us?

This morning I received the following email, which really made me initially excited. I've been a keynote speaker a few times, and loved it, and I have invitations already lined up for next year's Isadora Duncan Long Scarf and Old Gringo Boot Tour of Is It Tomorrow. So it seemed possible that someplace would contact me. Here's the letter. 

Tue, 4 Sep 2012 06:42:10 -0700
> Subject: KING'S COLLEGE INVITATION.
> From: kingscollegecampusseminar@gmail.com
> To: carleavitt@hotmail.com
> 
> Respected Caroline Leavitt,
> 
> I am Prof. Clive Rupert from King’s College Campus Here in London UK.
> We want you to be our guest Speaker at this Year King’s college
> Seminar which will take place here in UK. We are writing to invite and
> confirm your booking to be our guest Speaker at this year’s event.
> 
> King’s College Campus.
> 
> The Venue as follows:
> VENUE: King’s College campus in Strand
> London, United Kingdom
> POST CODE:WC2R 2LS
> Expected audience: 850 people
> Duration of speech per speaker: 1 Hour
> Name of Organization: King’s College Campus.
> Topic: ”Mystery of Life and Death”
> Date: 29th October 2012
> 
> We came across your profile on http://www.pw.org// and we say it’s up
> to standard and we will be very glad to have such an outstanding
> personality in our midst for these overwhelming gathering.
> Arrangements to welcome you here will be discussed as soon as you
> honor our invitation. If you have any more publicity material, please
> do not hesitate to contact us.
> 
> A formal Letter of invitation and Contract agreement would be sent to
> you as soon as you honor our Invitation. We are taking care of your
> travel and Hotel Accommodation expenses including your Speaking Fee.
> If you will be available for our event, include your speaking fees in
> your email so it can be included in your CONTRACT AGREEMENT.
> 
> Stay Blessed
> Prof. Clive Rupert
> King’s College Campus.



Of course I excited emailed everyone at Algonquin, and then (I think it was the "Stay Blessed" sign-off that got me thinking), looked this up online. Turns out it is a new scam making it's way through the writerly community. Eventually, they ask for your passport and for a credit card and bank information. So now I am embarrassed that I was caught up in this, furious at them, and sad. Really? We're doing scams on novelists, now?

Sigh.

7 comments:

Salt Spring Zen Circle said...

Dear Caroline Leavitt

I got the same invite today and it smelled funny. What's truly odd is that my last name is also Levitt, clearly with out the 'a'. I wonder if we might chat privately about this. you can email me, if you are willing by going to my website www.peterlevitt.com and clicking on contact. I hope you don't mind my asking you to make contact, but at least by going there you'll know I'm for real as opposed to this sad prankster. thanks so much

peter levitt

halibutrodeo.com said...

I got the same thing. My name is Lewandowski. I guess he's making his way through the alphabet.

Katharine Weber said...

No, neither alphabetical nor new. I blogged about this in April:

http://staircasewriting.blogspot.ie/2012/04/cruel-hoax-someones-idea-of-performance.html



Michael levy said...

My name is Levy and i got the same letter. Mybe the FBI needs to investigate this fraud before someone get taken for a not so comfortable ride?

Custom Lapel Pins said...

The writers are really hard working and very creative.

Holly Robinson said...

Wow! I hadn't heard of this one, but recently my father-in-law got a call from someone saying he was our son, in jail in Mexico, and badly in need of bail money! My father-in-law actually went to the bank to get a money order to send to Mexico. Luckily, my sister-in-law caught wind of the whole thing and called me to ask where our son was...

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