Sunday, October 25, 2015

'Hello, Granny" And Other Dodgy Doings

"Hello, Granny," said the mystery man. From my caller ID, I could see he was telephoning from somewhere exotic and faraway.

"....?" I questioned, using a popular male name which I shall not share here.

Much encouraged, my caller became implausibly loquacious. "My voice sounds different," he explained before I could ask, "because I'm in hospital. I've got a broken nose and stitches in my mouth."

I briefly considered the short list of my hot headed young male relatives who might be so dazed by an unfortunate collision with anything that they could recall my phone number, but forget their family trees.

"If you're in hospital with a broken nose and stitches in your mouth, why are you calling ME?"

I don't tolerate fools.... and I'm nobody's grandmother, but I did not get a chance to say so. He hung up.

Later in the day, when my morning coffee guests had left, I googled "Hello Granny Scam" and found rich pickings. Apparently, all too many tender hearted seniors totter off to their local supermarkets where there is a Western Union counter, and they send cash to persuasive imposters.

Be warned.

Villains on the telephone, at least three times a day, every day. Villains in my PO Box. Villains on the internet. It's enough to give one a jaundiced view of the innate goodness of humanity.

I received an email from some foreigners (if they are not foreign, they ought to be ashamed of their command of American English), offering to sell self-published authors --which I am not-- a mailing list of 20,000 Reader's Digest subscribers.

I seriously doubt that Reader's Digest subscribers will be pleasantly surprised to receive author spam, but I could be mistaken.

Do you own a trademark?  I do. It's SPACE SNARK™  Over the years, I have been disquieted to receive official-seeming renewal demands. Be aware, one applies for a trademark through one's attorney, and it is to one's attorney of record that the true official renewal demand will be sent.

More on trademark scams here:

One of many problems with pirate sites, and pirated versions of legitimate books, is, allegedly, that the Amazon bots cannot tell the difference, and allegedly some authors have seen mysterious "price matching" which cuts into their royalties.

Finally, authors who are inclined to protect their copyrights may do well to set up Google searches for some unique phraseology in their works. They might receive an alert that leads them to some fan-fic for profit (which is a no-no) or to plagiarism.

The comments on this blog make some good points about what fan fiction is and is not.

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

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