Thursday, November 02, 2006

I’ve been caught by chain letter scam within a scam…

At the request of ICSTIS, the premium rate service regulator, I’ve removed yesterday’s post “Beware of latest telephone scam” and offer sincere apologies to all for any inconvenience caused.

The warning that Lincolnshire County Council asked me to pass on turns out to be nothing more than an inaccurate nuisance chain letter

I’m afraid I have to plead guilty to being a bit of an old luddite when it comes to anything remotely concerned with IT.

But I thought I was on safe ground and providing a helpful warning to pass on what seemed to be a news of a genuine scam which could cost £15 if you were caught.

The warning originated from an email sent to a county council officer in the Leader’s office from someone called XXXXXX XXXXXXX an officer at City of Lincoln Council (I'm now checking to see if he exists!).

(see March 10th 2009 Update below).

The county council officer quite reasonably sent the email to the IT-Postmaster (at Hyder Business Services, an outside company contracted to the County Council who are paid millions a year to provide various services).

The IT-Postmaster sent it to me – and presumably every other county councillor, and who knows how many officers.

I posted it in good faith, y'honour and then left for London for the rest of the day, thinking I'd been helpful...

Within a couple of hours, Kate Belson at ICSTIS was on my post:

Please follow this link to our latest news page and see the first entry about PDS.

I would appreciate it if you could update your website accordingly as we are receiving numerous calls from consumers who are very upset by this false news.

If you are keen to educate your audience about premium rate please refer to our leaflet, are you protecting yourself against premium rate scams.
But first off the blocks to point out that I was merely propagating a nuisance chain letter was the Rev. Mark Warrick at dsj-exchange@yahoogroups.com quickly followed by Carole and Albert.

So if Mark, Carole and Albert know in an instant that this is a hoax, how come our IT-Postmaster didn't?

You can bet I’ll be asking questions…watch this space!

UPDATE: Turns out the council officer who received this chain letter and passed it on to his contact list does indeed exist. He's contacted me and at his request, I've amended the above post by removing his name...it all happened over two years ago and I would not wish to cause him any further embarrassment. Phil - 10th March 2009.

6 comments:

Mark said...

Speaking for myself only -

My rule of thumb with 09etc telephone scam warnings is to look at the ICSTIS site before passing it on, and in fairness to Phil I must say that this is the first one I've read that actually was genuine once! But ICSTIS will have had the scam shut down long, long before the chainmail "warnings" got circulating. I've never yet seen one worth propagating.

Now if an amateur outfit like dsj.org.uk can check out this story in seconds, why can't Hyder Business Services and Lincs CC - answers on a ballot paper, please ;-)

fairdealphil said...

Mark

thanks.

i've asked the very same question of hbs.

Mark said...

You can refer them to me if you like! One does have to wonder what qualifications some professional IT people have. Just because one understands Windows and networking and Hypertext Markup Language that does not mean that one has any understanding of the uses made of these things. It is like highway engineers telling us about traffic law violations!!

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Mark said...

SPAM, Phil!! Someone is scanning blogs for words like "scam" etc.

You'll need to activate the anti-spamming feature of Blogger's comment system to stop this before we all drown.

fairdealphil said...

thanks mark.

yes, it's a nusiance, but thought this was the price of keeping the comments open....thanks for letting me know there's an anti spam button somewhere....all i have to do now find it and press it...