published: Wed, 6-Aug-2008 | updated: Fri, 5-Aug-2016
Today I wrote about education being a primary source for better security (Security is broken when you leave it to end-users) over on my blog at DevExpress. To flesh out my argument a little more, here's a postcard I received just recently.
No matter how I look at this, it has scam writ large all over it, even on the front.
- The postage was paid for in Florida, but the company is in Missouri.
- It has a big red band with "Final Notice" written on it. Funny that I don't recall receiving any prior notice.
- The company name, "Dealers Warranty" is to make me think this is part of the network of dealers for my car. Except I have two cars, of two different makes.
- Nice random GUID-like customer number there. Maybe the "-07" means July?
Turning to the back now. Man, it's looking bad for me. "Final" is all over the place, in red again, and to make it more urgent, it mentions 48 hours and 20% discount. Twice. There's a special code too! Oh, noes! I'd better do something right now. Except...
- 48 hours from when exactly? There is no date. The postcard was bulk mailed from Florida, taking, what, 3 or 4 days to arrive?
- Why do they want the VIN#? Surely they know, since they're part of the dealer network? Can't they track it from my (random) customer number?
- I've been pre-selected for this exclusive program, so you'd imagine they'd know something about me, like what I drive. Er, that would be no.
- In short, there is absolutely no mention of the actual car the final notice is all about. Zero, nada, zilch. As I mentioned I have two, neither of which is anywhere near falling out of warranty. So which car is this for again?
- And I'm supposed to phone at certain times, CST, Central Standard Time. But it's summer and they're presumably in daylight savings time now, aren't they? Why not just put CT? Or is the postcard so generic they could post it in the winter?
So, all in all, this is one postcard I won't be replying to. (More.)
UPDATE: These types of car warranty scam artists are prone to phoning you as well. All you get is a recorded message with "Press 1 to speak to an operator or 2 to be removed from the list". Yeah, right. Dream on. The thing is, there is no list. These are robocalls from some computer system. They don't know who they're calling because they're just calling all numbers in rotation. In fact, they don't know if it's a landline (we're on the Do Not Call list, but they don't have it and wouldn't pay attention to it if they did) or a cell phone (that's illegal).
Here's a list of numbers from which I've been phoned about car warrenty scams. I'd add to it as and when I get called. Since they're paying for the call I generally listen to the entire message.