My friend in Santa Barbara does lots of errands for her next door neighbor who is older and has sight issues. My friend began to worry when she’d take her mail to the post office and realized she was mailing out dozens of letters each day addressed to sweepstakes. She discovered her elderly neighbor was mailing dollar bills to “win prizes.” She called the neighbor’s daughter who lives in another state and they finally put a stop to it. She would pick up the letters and pretend to mail them, but hold onto them, eventually returning the money.
Another scam I heard about happened during my daughter’s last year in college. One of her friends, who is book smart and was high school valedictorian, got a phone call from the “IRS.” He was instructed to buy Apple gift cards and mail them to an address that was supposedly the government agency.
He emptied out his college account, which had his last semester’s tuition of $1,200 and bought gift cards at the local grocery store. (Yes, he had several scholarships is why his tuition bill was so low.)
The cashier questioned him but he insisted on buying the cards. Then he mailed them.
You can only imagine the teasing he received from his college mates after that! Today this young man is a doctor. Yikes.
What scams do you see in your inbox? Have you heard of any other ones I didn’t mention? Are you worried AI will lead to more scams?
I saw a story on TV that intrigued me to find out more.
Here’s a summary from Quartz:
Author Jane Friedman spotted more books on Amazon this week that falsely claimed to be written by her than ones she actually wrote.
At least five books under her name were taken down fromAmazon yesterday (Aug. 8) after Friedman wrote a blog post on Aug. 7 detailing her experience findingbooks under her name being sold on Amazon and listed on Goodreads, the Amazon-owned social media and book-logging platform for readers.
With the advent of AI, people are creating books in the voice of authors and selling them on Amazon as that author’s book. Jane Friedman had trouble contacting Amazon and getting the imposter books being sold in her name off their site. She discovered she needs to trademark her name to have more protection against this scam.
Here’s another story about the fake IA books on Amazon:
Five books for sale on Amazon were removed after author Jane Friedman complained that the titles were falsely listed as being written by her. The books, which Friedman believes were written by AI, were also listed on the Amazon-owned reviews site Goodreads.
“It feels like a violation, because it’s really low quality material with my name on it,” Friedman told the Guardian. The Ohio-based author has written several books about the publishing industry, and the fraudulent titles mimicked her real work. How to Write and Publish an eBook Quickly and Make Money and A Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting Compelling eBooks, Building a Thriving Author Platform, and Maximizing Profitability were two of the listed books. Friedman’s real books include The Business of Being a Writer and Publishing 101.
One of the falsely attributed books’ descriptions read: “This book offers practical strategies, tips, and techniques to help writers streamline their writing process, accelerate their eBook publication timeline, and maximize their earning potential.”