So, it turns out that my Mom was right. There IS something special about me! And I have a letter to prove it! I even share some of these rare, hidden traits with a Famous Person (someone you would instantly recognize, he's on TV every night...). Can you believe it?
Only problem is, that I am not quite sure who wrote me the letter. They can't tell me any more than that they are "an exclusive association, a secret society". So I guess I can't really find out what they are all about, and why they have found me to be so special, can I? I mean, the only choice I have is to just fill out the "Free-Membership Invitation Form" and fax it back by Friday. (Holy Cow! That is just Two Days Away!) Then I can finally discover (absolutely FREE!) what my rare, hidden traits are and the "Greatest Kept Secrets" that will teach me how to use my rare, hidden traits to:
-Learn EXACTLY what to do to make $5,000, $10,000 even $100,000 CASH!
-Prosper in EVERY area of my life: emotionally, personally, physically, romantically, and financially!
-Learn how to control ANYONE and make any man or woman like me, admire me, or love me!
-All the money, power, and romantic love I've ever wanted can come to me Easily, Effortlessly, and Automatically!
Can you believe it?
Neither can I... (And I better not quote anymore of the letter; besides the ominous warning that these words are meant for me only, the whole thing is Copyrighted... You know, just in case I want to reproduce it somewhere...)
Well, fortunately for me, I have a friend. His name is Google, and he has tons of information on many different topics. Tonight, I asked him if he knew anything about the fax number at the end of this letter. Wow. The things he said! Let me just share a few of the more interesting ones...
The very first hit on the search is a site called "The Ripoff Report". Not an auspicious beginning for my new friends. But here I learn two things:
A. I am not the only person to have ever received this letter. So much for my "Rare" traits...
B. The mysterious "association" also goes by the name "Nouveau Society Neo Tech".
The rest of the information at this site is mostly opinion (including one posting by a supporter! Who is Not Paid at all for his/her Support!)
The rest of the results for searching just the Fax number are very similar. Lots of sites where folks list phone numbers of bill collectors, pushy salesmen, and fraudulent auto warranty firms. And, apparently, secret societies... So I moved on to search for the name of the (not so secret) association: "Nouveau Society Neo Tech".
First hit is a website called: "Corporate-Review.com". This site seems to review a few dozen common scams and MLM schemes. Kind of slim on real info, but at least it claims that the association is operated by a single family headed by one Wallace Ward (among other pseudonyms...). Mr. Ward has apparently written a series of books containing the "Greatest Kept Secrets" and membership in the association will allow you to purchase the entire series. (That's right... there is an entire series.)
Not satisfied with such a slim report, I checked out a few more of the results from sites like:
-419legal.org - Key quote: "Do we really need to warn you to avoid this one?"
-scams.net - Still pretty slim on real info, heavy on sarcasm. I did learn that this letter has been going out since at least 2005.
-able2know.org - A discussion board with plenty of supporters of the program. However, I honestly had some trouble following the logic of many of the "supporters" Key Quote: "They are selling they materials what about I bought the material even before I bought the material, I was being harrassed jobs after jobs coworkers telling me how talented I was, and I was just puzzled because I didnt tell anything, I have a video of Mark hamilton I guess" - Not too sure what poor Mark has to do with anything, but this was one of the more cogent sentences...
-wikipedia.org - Finally, that ubiquitous fount of internet knowledge. Finally some somewhat useful information, such as other names for the association, and some clarification on poor Mark. (Apparently he is a marketing official and has authorized his apprentices to drop the $350 initiation fee so that they only have to make a $100 sell to their initial contacts... Go figure. I thought it was free...)
So what have we learned? Not much more than I had already deduced when I pulled the colorful envelope out of the mailbox. (You know the ones, they are made to look like an airmail envelope.) A bunch of crap from someone trying to make their envelope look more important. And as I read the entire 8-page letter my stomach repeatedly churned with disgust. The entire sales pitch is aimed with laserlike precision at people who are despondent with life, lonely, depressed, and looking for a way out. They purposely word their pitch to sound like it has been personalized for the recipient, and that they genuinely care to help because "You are special!" And, in a hallmark move for any scam, they isolate and hurry their victims. "This is Confidential! For Your Eyes Only!" and a deadline only five days after the date on the letter. (Which was only two days after I pulled it out of the mailbox. Who wants to bet I could mail it back in four and they would make an exception for me?)
The saddest part for me is thinking of all the poor souls out there who will see this as their own personal light at the end of the tunnel. There has to be some response, for this scam to have continued for four years. Even scammers get tired of running a scam that gets no suckers. Why do people fall for stuff like this? As I learned a while ago, people fall for stuff like this because it hits them at precisely the right time. (Or wrong, depending on your perspective.) A man receives this letter on the day his unemployment runs out and the car breaks down again. A woman receives this letter the week after her teenage son takes his own life. A retiree gets this letter instead of the one he was expecting from his son - and has been waiting for for six months.
How do we combat it? The best way is knowledge. Spread the word to everyone you know. The three cardinal rules of scam recognition:
1. If it seems too good to be true, it is.
2. If they want you to hurry up and keep it to yourself, then put it down for a week, and talk to everyone you can get to listen to you.
3. If it seems too good to be true, it is.
Spread the word. Don't let someone you love be victimized.