Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Have We Got an Offer for You!

Ha! Yet another scummy scam L

We all know by now that the IRS doesn’t call us on the phone asking us for supposed owed cash, pronto. We know a Nigerian Prince or a Ukrainian billionaire is not in need of our urgent help to release his gazillion $$$ into our account if only we provide our bank account number, or whatever.

But recently I encountered a brand new one that required more sophisticated search algorithm on the part of the scammers. A message was left on my home phone telling me it was so-and-so from a literary agency who was so impressed with my published novel (perfectly named ) and whose agency wanted to promote in an upcoming literary mega-fairs, (also properly named real events) and turn into an international bestseller. If interested, could I please call (number and name) for further discussion?

I can imagine what further discussion would amount to. Invariably it would require some sort of financial information from me.

This operation was rather funny. I wrote a very good book. But to think it a potential international bestseller is a stretch to the point of a tear. In addition, I’m traditionally published, not self-published. Everyone who is anything like a literary maven knows to approach the publisher, not call an author at his or her home. But what made it creepy is that my home phone is not listed anywhere under my name. If fact, none of my phones are under my name. So somewhere, the connectors of cyberspace have gone to deeper lengths to tie personal information together.

Hopefully, writers know that fee-charging agents are schmagents. By now we know that publishers who charge us are vanity presses. This is a minefield, which is not hard to avoid if we hold firm to the principal that we don’t pay. Rather, we are paid.

But there seems to be no end to the crooks' inventiveness. I want to tell them they should use their ingenuity toward the betterment of humanity instead. But I know any engagement is futile and will only lead my information to the sucker-list of those who reply in the first place.

Stay safe, everyone. Stay vigilant and remember to laugh occasionally, which is what I did at this last offer to make me the next J. K. Rowling.


Vijaya said...

Good one, Mirka. The thing is, there are some very good houses who do offer their services for a fee--editing, cover design, interior art, formatting, etc. But the author must do due diligence. It's very painful when I hear of people getting scammed.

Mirka Breen said...

I would not consider any offer (and from someone I never contacted to boot) that says, "we believe you have an international best seller," about a book traditionally published seven years ago, to be coming from a legitimate house. I wonder if or how anyone can fall for this.
It's also discomforting they have information that is not listed anywhere in public records.
I will patiently await my day of publishing glory for when my agent makes a sale to a wonderful publisher and my NEXT book greets the world. If and when that happens, I wouldn't be surprised if phone/email scammers come up with new and improved come-ons.
Life= adventure on windy roads. :)

Kelly Hashway said...

I’ve gotten these calls, too. I just delete them. I wish I had the time these scammers seem to have on their hands!

Janie Junebug said...

I'd never heard of this one before. Shame on them, but good for you for being vigilant and spreading the word.


Evelyn said...

Glad you knew not to fall for their scam. My SIL shared a fun interaction my brother Bill had--
Bill: Hello.
Caller(brightly): Hello! Mr. Brown?
Bill: Is this a scam call?
Caller (also brightly again): Yes! Exactly! You're a genius!

(and the call ended) :)

Mirka Breen said...

A new oxymoron^: An honest scammer :D

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I got a similar phone call from a supposed agent who noticed my self-published book from years ago and was making a similar offer. I actually called them (knowing it was a scam) and talked to a fellow who was supposed to be in LA (but really was in the Philippines), and gave him a hard time. He also had contacted me by email, so I wrote back and told him I was not interested, would never be, and not to call or write me again. (I'm sure it was just par for the course for him, but it made me feel good. :-) )

Sherry Ellis said...

I've been getting a lot of those, too! I just had one saying he was Damon Wolf from Paramount Publishing and the President of marketing for Barnes and Noble book stores. He wanted to get at least 100 copies of my traditionally published book for display in Barnes and Noble. Damon Wolf is the President of Marketing for Lionsgate movies. And of course, no Barnes and Noble representative would ever contact an author directly for a traditionally published book!

Barbara Etlin said...

It's things like this that made me make my Twitter account "by approval only."