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Who's Who Schemes (Cambridge, Manchester, Empire, Metropolitan)

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Marti

Hi everyone,

Can I say how grateful I am for finding this post? I just received one of those Cambridge Who's Who, and of course, my first thought was to Google!

Thank you so much for this information. I realized something wasn't right so I did a search and found this post. Ah, the web is truly a beautiful thing.

~m
 

KCH

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Victoria....

Great research and blog post.

(insert voiceover by man in insurance commecial who says, "in a world where both of our cars were under water....")
The Hydra stalks its prey. But a new wind was about to blow."
 

amldixon

Wow! And 1 1/2 years later they are still doing it

I am so glad I decided to do research. I too got a letter in the mail from a Jennifer Gonzalez from Cambridge Who's Who. During the lengthy interview process, I was told I had to make a decision right then as to whether I wanted to pay the $899 fee for platinum or $699 fee for gold membership. When I told them I thought there was no fee, she then told me for a limited time I could pay a trial offer of $99. I told her I wanted to research more about Cambridge and I didn't give her a chance to respond.

So, I googled Cambridge Who's Who and found this and am glad I did. I don't understand why people want to take advantage of working professionals. And do they really think we are that dumb?
 

Soloflyer

Thank you!!

I really wish I'd read this thread earlier in the day. I too got one of these letters from the Cambridge leg of the Who's Who scam. I already submitted my info and I'm sure i'll be pestered with calls from them for a while. I did it online and dropped the mailer in the paper shredder, so I'm not able to forward a copy.

What get's me is how they even know who I am. The mailer showed up at my office and I am nowhere near any of there supposed coverage areas. I am in michigan and there's not a directory, association, or any other subscribed entity I belong too anywhere. The only thing I can think of is that I am a prequalified highway contractor in about 36 states.

Anyways thank guys. The info I found here will prepare me for the future calls I'm sure i'll be getting from them.
 

WriterGirl2007

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I received an "invitation" from the Cambridge Who's Who also. LOL! I threw it away after reading this thread and some other things I found via Google (my new best friend!)
 

talentear

Cambridge Who's Who letter

I received the letter and yep, I googled it too! I have the letter and can scan it into my computer and send it via email. I'm not a writer, but I had to join the forum and thank you for your postings and I'm glad when I googled it I saw your site. The letter did come from Jennifer Gonzalez and it came with a post card to mail back. I threw that away because I didn't want to send that info exposed in the mail and thought I would just go online and register there. I stopped to investigate a little first and found you.

Thanks for the heads up! and let me know if you want me to send the letter via email.

Kim
 

Agi

Cambridge Who's Who

I also am grateful for these posts. because I originally filled out the form, sent it back and just got a call from them today. I do not remember the person's name, but I do remember clearly that I did not recall anything about a payment. I put the woman on hold on the phone and did a Google search myself, and decided not to be included.

It just sounded too good to be true. Especially when she said that this is something people like to put on their resume, business card, etc. I was thinking to myself, I certainly do not qualify for such highly esteemed inclusion.

So, thanks again, for all of you for posting!

Best,
Agi
 

Sakamonda

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They are buying address lists of Writers Digest subscribers, that is how they are reaching people. I know that whenever I renew my WD subscription, I get bombarded with a bunch of bulk-mail junk from writing scams and vanity publishers. I really wish WD wouldn't sell my address to these types of people, but I also know that WD probably relies on selling its subscription lists as a revenue source.
 

jackie23

Emerald Who's Who Scam

Emerald Who's Who Scam.. Buyer Beware of this internet scam!! Read This VERY CAREFULLY, enjoy! The other day I received an email with an invitation to accept an appointment as a “biographical candidate” in the Emerald Who's Who registry of “accomplished individuals”. I checked out their website and found that it did contain a few biographies of professionals in the same industry as i am in.

So I made the effort of accepting. I thought that it must be some kind of honor. Then I received no reply and figured that I must not be that accomplished after all.

Then one day I was at my desk writing when I received a phone call from a fairly professional-sounding man. The conversation that followed went something like this:

Man: “Hello Mr..... Let me be the first to congratulate you on your acceptance into the Emerald Who's Who Registry. We want you to know that we have selected you on the merits of your work and accomplishments. After our team of researchers has reviewed your accomplishments, we find it a great honor to include you in our directory.

“First let me personally congratulate you on your fine work. After your acceptance into the Emerald Who's Who Registry, you will be part of a network of professionals and distinguished individuals who stand out in their respective fields.

“As part of your membership, you will be eligible to be published in our online registry as well as physically published directories. Your biography will be available for other professionals around the world to view. This is an excellent networking tool.”

I was now feeling very warm and fuzzy inside. Wow… they think I'm a really outstanding person!

The man then interviewed me. He asked me to explain how I became so accomplished in my field, how I became so successful, etc., etc. I took a deep breath of pride and spewed out all the things that make me so cool (and left out all the things like my success has not made me rich at all).

He asked, “Will you be using your membership for networking or credibility?”

I explained that I would probably be using it for both. “Being I high school drop-out, I have always had to struggle with public opinion on my credibility…”

I spent thirty or forty minutes talking to him, feeling very proud, when he said, “We offer two levels of membership.”

Suddenly, the whole interview changed perspective for me and I kind of zoned out while he explained the differences between their lifetime membership and lesser membership. I heard something about “eight ninety-nine” which was almost ninety times more than a ten-dollar filing fee.

He said something about plane tickets and networking opportunities and a really cool certificate of membership and media kits to share with media about my accomplishment.

I shyly interrupted, “I am not so sure about this. I was under the assumption that I was being honored with a recognition instead of being sold something.” I wondered how a certificate I paid for was going to add credibility to my name.

He said, “You are honored with being grouped with executives and professionals from around the world.”

He then started telling me more about the membership benefits.

I said, “I don't think I really want to do this. I will have to think about it.”

He seemed taken aback. “This isn't an offer that we can negotiate. We have thousands of professionals to deal with. We can't take the time to negotiate with potential membership. It's a one-time deal.”

He then said, “Will you be paying with Visa or MasterCard?”

I said, “Well, I don't think I am interested right now.”

He said, “Let me tell you what… I have the authority to place you on a list here and reserve your plane tickets.” He told me that this was too good of an opportunity to pass, and that he would lessen my membership from the lifetime membership (the one I must have agreed to spending close to a thousand dollars by saying I'm not sure if I want to join) to the short-term membership.

I tried to back away further, but he pressed harder. “Is it the cost? We don't want you to miss this opportunity because of the cost. I tell you what—I can give you the rate of a charity organization! This means that you get all the standard benefits, but pay the rate of a charity organization.”<

“No,” I said. “I don't think that I am going to join right now. I will look into it some more before I make a decision.”

He said, “If you have already looked at our website, then there is really nothing else to learn.” He sounded like Adolp Hitler's who hadn't had sleep or sex in a month.

“I'm sorry. I'm just not interested right now.”

now I had been contemplating being a little more obvious in my decision by hanging up, but she beat me to the punch.

PLEASE BEWARE OF THIS SCAM!!!
 

BarbJ

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I believe they get names and addresses from certain magazines, Writer's Digest being one but also business-related (my company once bought me a Human Resources sub, and I received the letters) and from some seminar groups. My last name is often misspelled, and the letters tend to match the mags and lecture lists. Never have subscribed, thinking along the lines of Groucho Marx - any club that would accept me would accept anybody. :D
 

Gregc

I've just received an invitation in today's mail from good 'ol Ms. Gonzalez. I have no idea on how they got my name. A quick Google search brought me here.

I just wrote "No Thanks" on the post card and am droping it in the mail. No reason they shouldn't pay some postage for an answer.
 

jurched

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I just wrote "No Thanks" on the post card and am droping it in the mail. No reason they shouldn't pay some postage for an answer.

Ya know, that method works wonders. For three months, I kept getting credit card offers in the mail like crazy!

Then I started mailing back in those prepaid envelopes the application form with a rather large "F.U." scrawled diagonally across it, as well as the glossy brochures, those stupid checks, an even the envelope in which it came.

Guess what?

No more credit card offers! Lil' buggers learned their lesson pretty fast! Although, one genius actually called me, telling me they received my application and wondered if I wanted their card, "since it appeared to be filled out incorrectly."
I asked them, "what does it say?" and he replied, "uhh, your personal info is blacked out and its got some big letters across it."

"Really? which ones?" "uhh, looks like an F and a U..." I mean, how desperate are these people for business?

As for Miss Gonzales, I wish I got one've these Who'sWho letters. I'd try to mail her a brick and make her pay the postage due!!

J
 

MiddletonGuy

Saved me!

Hi all,

Just signed up to make this one comment!

Cambridge Who's Who sent me an application last week and I filled out their online form. I received a call this morning requesting a 10 minute recorded interview over the phone, and called back this afternoon when I had a few minutes of free time at here at the office.

Long story short... At the end of our conversation the woman I was speaking with said I sounded to her like I fit the bill exceptionally and could for-go the application process. Catch? A "Lifetime Plaitnum" membership, or the 5-year version. She then quickly jumped to the, "... please start with the expiration date on your credit card..." and I responded by saying I didn't have it handy because she completely caught me off guard! It was never mentioned in literature or in our conversation that it wasn't a free service. I believe the 5 year was like $550-something, and the lifetime was around a grand! Wow, I'd rather buy ad's in the yellow pages!

Anyway, I will be calling back tomorrow and set them straight.

Thanks again for the info everyone!
Jonah
 

AlizC

A satisfying reply to Cambridge Who's Who

I'm so happy I checked out this "invitation" to be considered for inclusion to the "Cambridge Who's Who Among Executive and Professional Women" and found the posts on this site. It sounded like a crock--like those things you get in the mail when your kid is in high school for "Who's Who Among Outstanding High School Students." And you're thinking, "MY kid??? Who's maintaining a stellar D- average?? Gimme a break." They'll put ANY doofus in there as long as you pay for the privilege.

After reading what many of the posters have been through with these people (and yes, my letter was signed from the ubiquitous Jennifer A. Gonzalez--how does she sleep at night?), it was with glee that I took a black Sharpie and wrote in large letters on the reply card: EAT ME!

Nice to know they will be paying the postage for that message.
 

BarbJ

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Middleton Guy and AlizC - Thanks for sharing. You may have saved some people some money by doing so. And you're right; they do this solely for the fees they rake in, and you were chosen from some company's mailing list.

And welcome! :welcome:
 

Twainhart

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Cambridge Who's Who contact and what to do.

I was contacted by Cambridge and actually did a phone interview. The new part of the scam is a Gold Membership for $618.95 for five years or a Platinum membership for a lifetime and $799 plus $199 for handling. With the plat. membership they give you two free (note the word) airline tickets. Now, Cambridge tells future clients that they have over one quarter million memberships and have combined with two other Who's Who's, Empire and Metropolitan. They are slick but I wanted to see where they led me. (Might be a story in this yet, and I'm always looking for a story, especially an expose.)
The gal I talked with was a nice gal named Kathy Mitchell. The scam is terrific they don't tell you about how much you have to pay until the end, figuring they have sucked you in. By then I have talked with this gal for twenty five minutes or so and gained more info. about them and her. They have been in business supposedly for nine years, she had been there two. Even know of her previous employment history. I could tell by the inflection in her voice that she was reading from some sort of manual they are given or at least a work sheet. I’m sure that this is a sales based operation. The more sales the operator makes the more she/he makes. I‘m also relatively sure that the price for being on their list is a floating price between X amount of dollars, up to X amount of dollars it’s all operator based and how much they think they can get away with.
My hard earned advertising dollars are a lot more wisely spent at My Space.com where it is free and you can reach a hell of a lot more people.

If you do wish to contact Cambridge Who's Who you can find them at
333 Earle Ovington Blvd.,
Suite 240, Uniondale, NY 1153-9816.
Their phone number is (516) 742-7907.

What many scam based operations count on is that you have a credit card, and will use it to complete the transaction, DON’T. Always give yourself like any other transaction a cooling off period. Get their address and make them wait while you research them a little bit. That way the ball is in your court. As a former investigator I know they hate this, because they want your money now. When they don't get it right way it keeps them needy and nibbling on your hook. (After all, aren’t all of us writers basically fishermen in our own way?)
I wouldn't personally recommend Cambridge to anyone. To be put on a list like theirs is as comparable to me as Publishers Clearing house going to award someone in YOUR area a huge prize and by golly it could be you. What are the odds in that?

(Perhaps Absolute Write mediators/operators should look into the possibility that Cambridge is using their/our website to basically spam the membership through land mailings and phone calls. There are too many of us that have been contacted by them to be a coincidence.)


Town



"A pig in a flock of sheep is still a pig.” Townsend Twainhart from “Rattlesnake Don’t Taste like Chicken.”
 

James D. Macdonald

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I don't think it's likely that they're using AW as a source. We don't have your phone numbers or street addresses (in many cases not even your real names). Nor is there anywhere someone could get your email address: sending email from here bounces through a form that doesn't reveal it.

These folks have lots of mailing lists, and use them all. I'm sure that everyone here who ever bought anything is on one mailing list or another.
 

Twainhart

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Good, less info is more!

Dear Jim, ol' sage one;

Thanks for letting me know about that. That's info I didn't have. The less information given out about us the better, unless it's to a really good agent that wants to take on all of my books. It's a case of "Less is more", as Miss Bell said.



“The bad deeds you’ve done in the past can only be mended by good deeds you do in the future.”Townsend Twainhartfrom “Rattlesnake Don’t Taste Like Chicken”.
 

Nimmy

Cambridge Who's Who

I received a card in the mail from Cambridge Who’s Who, and we interested in the opportunity to be entered into a world of writing professionals, and it was advertised as free. Cambridge Who's Who contacted me and persuaded me that joining them would be beneficial for my career as a writing, saying that I would be “published”. They seized on my desire as a writer to be published, and made promises that in retrospect I should have known better.

Well, it turns out it wasn’t so “free” after all. The Cambridge Who’s Who package I ordered was about $190.00 but I was also promised a $100.00 gift certificate for jewelry. I thought this wasn’t so bad, getting published in Cambridge Who’s Who and jewelry too. It turns out that the jewelry store would not honor the gift certificate, and, my attempts to complain to Cambridge Who Who went unanswered.

I looked up the work “scam” in the dictionary, and found that it meant “a confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, esp. for making a quick profit; swindle” and “to cheat or defraud with a scam”. I don’t know if Cambridge Who’s Who is a “scam”, but I do feel as though I was conned. I really feel that being in the Cambridge Who’s Who will help my career in anyway at all.

My attempts to get a refund were faced with unreturned phone calls, and customer service people that were very rude that told me “All sales are final”.

I felt very embarrassed and it took a lot to share this, but I feel that it is important for people to know about this before they give these people any money. Please, learn from what I went through.
 

DaveKuzminski

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Look up the address on the Internet. You might try using a reverse phone directory. If you paid with a check, find out where it was cashed by asking your bank or wait for the canceled check. You can also check the information they mailed to see where it was sent from, presuming it wasn't a coupon that you printed out from the Internet.

If you used a credit card, dispute the purchase with the credit card company explaining that it turned out to be a scam. Your proof of that is the worthless coupon so don't throw that away. Keep everything they sent, even the envelope because that can be used to prove mail fraud. In the meantime, contact the authorities in the locality where they're located. Find out how to file a complaint with those authorities. That will bolster your case with the credit card company in disputing the payment if you used a credit card.

If it was mailed, contact the postal authorities. File a complaint with them. If it was handled over the Internet entirely, you can probably file a complaint with the FCC because there's a strong likelihood that part of the Internet transmission passed over phone wires. Make sure you also report this to the FTC.

The important thing to remember is to file complaints. Getting that on record may be the final straw that encourages authorities to go after them. Otherwise you make it easier for them to continue getting away with it.

Here's some good news. They're in New York. New York's Attorney General is more likely to go after them. Here's some contact information.

Victoria Mitchell
Director, Corporate Relations
Cambridge Who's Who
498 Reckson Plaza, West Tower
Uniondale, NY 11556
516-535-1515, x 230
F 516-535-1514
 
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Nimmy

Cambridge Who's Who Owner

While searching the web, I found that the owner is a guy named Randy Narod. It seems that he may have been involved in another questionable endeavor before.

http://www.finra.org/web/groups/enforcement/documents/monthly_disciplinary_actions/p007551.pdf

Randy Harris Narod (Registered Representative, Oceanside, New York) submitted an Offer of Settlement pursuant to which he was censured, fined $50,000, barred from association with any NASD member in any capacity, and required to disgorge all monies earned by him while associated or otherwise employed in the securities industry after September 11, 1995, in the amount of at least $1,000. Without admitting or denying the allegations, Narod consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings that he arranged to have an impostor take the Series 7 and 63 exams on his behalf. Narod also failed to respond to NASD requests to appear for an on-therecord interview.
 

Nimmy

Cambridge Who's Who

A little more digging around on the web and I found where they get the lists of people to mail from. I discovered this link http://www.infinite-media.com/clients.aspx

Matt Proman seems to be Randy Narod's partner. Oh my God! 15 million! Here is a quote from the page:
CAMBRIDGE WHO’S WHO
"When I started Cambridge Who's Who (formerly Manchester Who's Who) over 5 years ago, I decided to use Infinite Media as my exclusive list broker. At that time I was mailing 50K records a month. Infinite Media treated me like one of their Fortune 100 clients who mail many millions. I now mail over 15 million records a year and Infinite Media has been there every step of the way. I can easily say Infinite Media is a big reason for my company’s success. I strongly recommend Infinite Media to any size company."

Matt Proman
CEO