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'Beware the New Podcast Scam' article based on scammers trying to scam a writer who writes about scams
From:
Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D., J.D. -- Author of Fifty Books Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D., J.D. -- Author of Fifty Books
Lafayette, CA
Saturday, November 27, 2021

 

Some podcast scammers met their match when they tried scam author Gini Graham Scott who has written about scams in two recently published books: The Big Con and I Was Scammed. The Big Con tells the story of a book-to-film scam and 10 victims who got scammed, while I Was Scammed features ways to avoid all kinds of scams, including personal identity theft.

            She has since told the story about what happened in a Medium article: "Beware the New Podcast Scam", where she first notes that podcasts are becoming another source of scams that target book authors and anyone with a product or service to promote.  While most podcasts are legitimate, it easy to create a podcast and use it to scam anyone who wants to be on the show.  Authors and self-publishers can be especially vulnerable, since they are writing about topics that real podcasters want to talk about, and they are eager to get the publicity for their book.  But sometimes the podcast can be a scam to get personal information and money, and so far this scam doesn't seem widely known, since a search on Google doesn't indicate any complaints or articles yet. But it's very real.

The scam began when Scott received a phone call about 10 days before the supposed podcast to schedule a interview about The Big Con, but she never received any confirming details about the podcast which was unusual.  Thus, she was surprised when she got a call from the producer as she was about to leave for a meeting, saying they were about to do the show, so Scott said she could do it for a short time, and the producer said it would be about 5 or 10 minutes. A moment later, the host was on the phone.

For the first three minutes, all seemed fine, as the host introduced her as a special guest who was there to talk about The Big Con and the victims in the book who were scammed. But after she began talking about how there are so many scams today in every industry and how anyone, including professionals and experts in a field, can become victims, the host said he had a caller. 

The caller briefly mentioned being scammed himself, so now he wanted to be careful not to be scammed again. Then, after asking what banks would be best to work with to protect himself and Scott suggested some of the bigger banks, he wanted to know where she had her account.  But after Scott told him she wouldn't give out this information over the air, he persisted in asking for this information, claiming that this would reassure him that he was making a good choice.  Finally, after Scott turned him down a third time, the host broke in and said there was another caller on the line. So initially, Scott just thought this was a crank caller, and only later realized this request for her bank information was the beginning of a scam.

Then the next caller wanted to know some personal questions about her such as her age and if she was married, and after she answered that, he asked for her phone number was, so they could talk personally. Though she said she didn't want to give out that information and tried to steer the conversation back to the original topic on scams, in hindsight, she realized this was a second attempt to scam her into giving up personal identity information.

 But before getting back to the topic of scams, another caller with a hard to understand British accent wanted to know about someone who kept leaving things on her porch and after she  recommended calling the local police and telling him she couldn't help, she told the host she had only a few more minutes and had to leave.

"But one more caller," the host said.  This time the man who asked her about banks was back with another question about what stocks and securities he should invest in. But after telling him he should talk to a financial professional, since she only wrote about such topics for clients with this expertise, the caller wanted to know more about her areas of expertise. So she referred him to some of her websites, though this can be a mistake if talking to a scammer, since scammers can use the bio information and contact information on a website to build a personal profile about someone.  Unfortunately, you need this information to demonstrate your authority and expertise to prospective publishers, agents, producers, clients, and customers.  But this information also helps to open the door to scammers.

Then, showing the persistence of scammers, after ending the interview, Scott got a call from the guy asked about the banks and investing.  He said he had managed to wheedle her phone number out of the host, though normally a host wouldn't give out this information without permission from the guest, and he wanted to know if she changed her mind about sharing the bank information in private with him. When that didn't work, he claimed that was not what he was calling about.  Instead, When I said no, he said that wasn't what he was calling about.  Instead, he wanted to invite her to dinner, and when she wondered how he expected to do that, since his phone number indicated he was in Philadelphia and she was in California near San Francisco, he had a ready explanation. He was in San Jose now, but he could come over.  After she said no, since she didn't know him, he continued to find reasons she should meet him, including saying she should enjoy a good meal with good company.  When she asked for more information about him to continue the conversation because she didn't know who he was, he claimed he didn't want to give her this information, since he didn't know who she was either but would give it to her when they met. Then, after she told him she was hanging up and did, he tried back twice over the next few minutes, finally gave up after his call went to voice mail.

            A minute later, she got a call from the host from a Utah exchange, saying he wanted to apologize for giving out her phone number, and he was sorry that the caller had bothered her. But this turned into another attempt at a scam, since normally the host would not have given out her number without asking permission, nor would he know that the caller had bothered her. Yet supposedly the caller was on the line with the host and he was sorry, too.  And then after some garbled conversation of three people talking at once on the line, the host said that he had discussed this with the producer, so they wanted to give her $500 for my trouble, and when she wondered why they were doing that, the host said they could make it $1000, since they didn't want any trouble, and their lawyer was drawing up the contract.

Why the offer and the contract?  Obviously, as she realized later, this was their third attempt to get personal information from her, since they would ask for additional information for any contract, including her bank information. Then, before she could respond, she heard the host or caller say: "Maybe we could invite you to a three way."  And at that point, she hung up and there were no more calls.

            Later that evening, when Scott and an associate producer tried to learn more about who this podcaster was and if this was a real podcast, they found only an old listing calling for guests, which indicated they had 100-150 live listeners and 1000 downloads in a month for each show. But their website went to a "domain names for sale" site and a search on Google showed nothing about them. So it seemed likely the show no longer existed if it ever did, and the podcast "interview" with in reality a phone call with the host, show "producer," and a few callers sitting around in a ploy to get personal identity information. 

            After that, Scott considered this attempted scam to be a wake-up call about a new type of scam based on creating what appears to be a real podcast. But it's designed to get personal  identity information from people who think they are being interviewed to promote their book, product, or service. 

As Scott concludes the article, if someone calls or emails you about being a guest on a show, ask for some identifying information about the show, including a website, email, a presence in the industry, and the like.  Also, most podcasts will have some correspondence with you about when to schedule the interview or send you an online calendar link where you can indicate your preferences.  Plus, you are likely to get a follow-up email indicating what to prepare or send to the host or producer for the interview, such a bio, questions about your topic, a photograph, and a summary or PDF about your book, product, or service. Later, you will usually get a confirmation about the call or a Zoom link, so you can connect for the interview.  Accordingly, be cautious when you get a request for an interview, especially if you haven't contacted that show or done any recent promotions to podcasters.  The invitation to be on the show could be for real or it could be a scam. So if anything doesn't seem right about the pitch, especially if you have limited information about the podcast, do more checking to see if it's real or not.

If you want to read the original article, it's on Medium at

https://ginigrahamscott.medium.com/beware-the-new-podcast-scam-330edb0a6b88

         

The author is internationally published author and film producer, Gini Graham Scott, PhD, who has published over 200 books, 50 for traditional publishers and 150 for her own company Changemakers Publishing, specializing in books on self-help, popular business, and social issues. She is the author of The Big Con: Scams Targeting Writers, the Victims, and How to Avoid Becoming a Victim, and she is working on a new book on different types of scams: I Was Scammed. Other recent books include: What Type of Dog Are You? and The New American Middle Ages, published by Waterside ProductionsShe has written and executive produced 14 feature films and documentaries, featured on the www.changemakersproductionsfilms.com website.  She also writes books and scripts for clients.  Her website for writing is at www.changemakerspublishingandwriting.com.

 

            For more information or to set up an interview, contact:

 

Karen Andrews

Executive Assistant to Gini Graham Scott

Changemakers Publishing and Writing

Lafayette, CA 94549 . (925) 385-0608 

changemakers@pacbell.net

www.changemakerspublishingandwriting.com

 

 

 

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D., J.D.
Title: Director
Group: Changemakers Publishing and Writing
Dateline: Lafayette, CA United States
Direct Phone: 925-385-0608
Main Phone: 925-385-0608
Cell Phone: 510-919-4030
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