Beware: Spam Scams Are Getting Clever


I just got this is my email today — and then I got another one just like it.

The quick rule is you should always check a link to make sure it’s sending you where it is advertising.

You can do this simply by hovering over a link, and looking at the URL (the address) that pops up. In the case of the email below, you aren’t going to the Better Business Bureau site — you’re going to a site in Australia that is mocked up to look like the page.

You can’t count on the email address, because it’s easy to spoof the Reply To: function.

The email I got is reproduced below — and yes, there are other clues that this is off, like the odd use of the word “pretension.” Or the lack of spellcheck on the ONLINE COMPLIANT system.


The Better Business Bureau has gotten the above-referenced pretension from one of your clientele relative to their business contacts with you.

The ins of the client’s pretense are included on the turn.

Please overview this issue and communicate us of your position.

As a neutral bystander, the Better Business Bureau can help to settle the problem. Often pretenses are a result of misunderstandings a company wants to know about and right.

We encourage you to use our ONLINE COMPLIANT system to respond this claim.

The following URL (website address) below will take you directly to this claim and you will be able to enter your comments right on our website:
On a website please enter your complain id: 31353555 to review it.

The Better Business Bureau develops and maintains Reliability Reports on companies across the United States and Canada .

This facts is available to the public and is frequently used by probable clientele.

Your assistance in responding to this claim becomes a permanent part of your file with the Better Business Bureau.

Failure to promptly give attention to this matter may be reflected in the report we give to consumers about your company.

Another version of this email went to a different fake BBB site, which would have sent me to — likely not a real Better Business Bureau property.

Sad, because this one is clever enough to hit people who are likely to be less web-savvy, yet concerned enough about their business reputation to click anyway.

Be careful.

Google Link Verification Check

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Debates are Worth 3,000 Words


If a picture is worth a thousand words, here are three you can share with your friends who obsess about the debates.

All in good fun, of course.




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50 Shades of Storytelling


When my company Twitter account gets new followers, I get notifications. And sometimes I look across the names to see just who is following us, and why.

The twitter bio for this account piqued my curiosity:

Apparently, she is connected to a bunch of other accounts related to 50 Shades of Grey. Some of them carry warnings that they are for people 21 and up, or 18 and up, and whatever.

I have no idea who is behind this, but there is an elaborate web of accounts that all tie into @50ShadesExposed. That account has not updated, but you can see from the list of Following that there are at least 32 accounts involved.

I haven’t read the book, so I can’t immediately determine if these accounts are attempting a real-time reenactment, or if this is sequel material from E.L. James. I do know that attempting to carry out a narrative through all of those accounts would become tedious and challenging.

Not a Canvas, but a Gem with Facets

In a book, you typically have someone anchoring the narrative, and there will be characters who appear only briefly to advance the plot in some way. But trying to write for 30 different point-of-view and keeping them all interesting and consistent would drive me crazy.

That’s not to say that somehow we end up with a very different genre of literature and storytelling. The immersive real-time novel. The implications for publishing are intriguing. Could such an effort sustain itself through ads in the timeline? Or is the game simply to keep a community engaged while working on additional books? Quite possibly, the author could use these Twitter accounts to test some ideas and get instant feedback from the most-engaged fans.

I know it’s been done with an entire universe (or two, Marvel and DC) where the characters carry on with their non-heroic responsibilities. @RealTonyStark comes to mind. Could be fun to watch, even if you like your literature less “adult,” if only to see how our definition of storytelling changes with technology.

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