Random Bump

Contest VS Scam

Seeing that this is about attempts to fool people I though I’d post this on April 1st.

A few days back I was tinkering with my older computer when I got this call from Florida.

When I picked up and said hello I heard nothing. No voice, no recording. So of course I dismissed it as a telemarketing call, from one of those rude telemarketers that use computerized devices that put people on hold while the staff pitch their products and services to someone else.

After hanging up I Googled the phone number, (813) 948-2768, and comments about a credit card scam came up so I decided to jot the number down where I could remember it.

A few minutes later I got another call.

This time the same phone number appeared for a few seconds and then was relabeled as “Unknown Caller“.

Whoops !

I was again put on hold and was subjected to about a minute or so of dead air, that I spent voicing some choice words in the hopes of being recorded by the telemarketer. But in the middle of my rant I was interrupted by a woman, who suddenly called me by name.

Well, apparently I had won something – A Universal Cruise.

Oh Wow ! Enter Gospel music here !

Isn’t it interesting how I’ve managed to win something I didn’t enter ? Something I had no interest in, what-so-ever, because it would require me to waste my time and money getting a passport ?

But of course this didn’t deter the telemarketer, who apparently thought that because she had my birth date that I could be fooled into believing I had entered this contest, regardless of my concerns about the passport issue and general disinterest in the prize.

Annoyed that she had somehow managed to obtain my birth date I then pressed her for details about the contest. I asked her where I had allegedly entered the contest.

Her response was that she was just some telemarketer that was hired to contact potential winners and that all she knew was that I had allegedly filled up a contest entry form on one of the social networking sites, mentioning AOL, Yahoo and Facebook by name.

This was all rather vague so I then asked who the sponsor of the contest was, a reasonable question that she apparently didn’t have a response for because she then proceeded to ask me to confirm my details again for my “prize package”.

By then I had decided that if she was unable to provide real answers that her supervisor could, so I asked to speak to him. But of course customer service appeared to be secondary to getting me to confirm my address and marital status.

Hmm !

So I asked again to speak to her supervisor, stating that I could easily file a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner, whose office happens to be in the city I lived in.

That particular piece of information of course resulted in a prompt disconnection.

Goodbye telemarketer !

Apparently this telemarketing company had not considered that a large percentage of Ottawa residents are in the public service industry and may be employed by the the following or may now someone who is employed by the following :

I am a regular reader of RedFlagDeal’s contest forum so I enter contests frequently. But even I keep track of the contests I enter and having won numerous contests I know the following :

  • The sponsor or sponsors of contests contact winners directly, usually via their public relations department, legal department or department assigned to contests.
  • This representative knows where you have entered the contest because he or she has to know whether you agreed to comply with the rules of the contest (or not) and answered a skill testing question correctly (or not).
  • Contests are for publicity so no sponsor would ever ask their identity to be concealed. It would be counterproductive and they couldn’t write the contest off as an advertising expense with Revenue Canada or the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Prizes are NOT taxed in Canada or subject to any fees. In the province of Quebec the publicity contests fees are paid by the sponsor in advance in exchange for the right to advertise the contest in that province.
  • There are NO legal fees incurred in awarding a prize. Whatever expenses the sponsor incurred in running the contest is written off as a promotional expense because contests are promotional. These expenses include delivery (shipping & handling) and any customs fees & duties paid by the sponsor, if any.
  • You are NOT required to pay customs fees on prizes to the sponsor or sponsor’s representative. It is Canada Post or the courier (Fed-Ex/UPS) that collects and processes customs fees on Revenue Canada’s behalf, if any, when the prize is physically received by you from a foreign address.
  • The sponsor or representative should be able to provide a link to the rules and regulations that you had allegedly read online as a condition to enter their contest, upon request. These rules and regulations need to comply to our Federal, Provincial and Municipal laws to be valid.

Basically if the caller is loud, obnoxious, argumentative, dismissive and/or cheap, I tend to suspect he or she is a con artist.

And BTW, just after the call I had found out that my Facebook profile privacy settings had been changed allowing everyone to view my birth date. Check your settings !

EMI/Citi Financial & Arcadia finally on DVD

It appears that EMI is trying to work something out with the other labels to keep it’s assets from being taken over by Citi Financial.

Times Online reports that EMI has approached Universal, Sony and Warner and that Warner is preparing a bid for some of EMI’s assets with KKR.

All is not well at EMI.

Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and Radiohead have all left the label since the company’s 2007 takeover by private equity group Terra Firma and they have recently been brought into court by members of Pink Floyd, according to this Times Online article.

Well, at least there is some good news for fans of Duran Duran and Arcadia in Canada. We will be getting the special re-releases of their CDs via EMI Music Canada in April, which will include bonus remixes and DVDs that include the music videos for these albums.

I’m particularly interested in the reissue of Arcadia’s So Red The Rose, whose music videos I wanted on DVD for decades. But the bonus material and videos on Duran Duran’s Seven And The Ragged Tiger reissue are also tempting.

Now if only EMI could release Kate Bush’s “The Whole Story” on DVD…

Congratulations Platinum Blonde

Canadian 80’s new wave rockers Platinum Blonde will be inducted in the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame tonight.

Congratulations to Mark Holmes, Sergio Galli, Chris Steffler and last but not least, the late Kenny Maclean.

My Favorite Corey Haim Film

I’m sure most people will probably say that their favorite Corey Haim film is “The Lost Boys” or “License To Drive” but I prefer Stephen King’s “Silver bullet”.

I don’t mind the 80’s teen films Corey Haim is primarily known for but I was never really interested in the genre so I don’t have many of these films in my collection.

Strangely enough I had not known he was Canadian, even after seeing him in The Edison Twins, a CBC television series that aired in the 80’s in Canada. He was born in Toronto in December 1971.

I guess I’ll be adding a few of his films to my online rental list but I think I’ll skip “National Lampoon’s Last Resort”, which I heard was quite terrible.