“Help me! I’m stuck in England. Can you help me out by wiring me $2,000? Better yet, I’m a disposed Nigerian prince and I have a large sum of money ($72 million, to be exact) that I would like to transfer to your account. All I need is for you to…”
We’ve all seen scams before. The internet is teeming with them. 294 billion email messages are sent every day, and of that, 362.5 million are scams.
How many of you remember mail before email? Envelopes? Stamps? How many of you have been scammed through good old snail mail? I have. Well, I didn’t take the bait, but I’ve been “attacked”.
I own HugaMonkey and get a lot of spammy letters from credit card companies, lawyers, etc… One day I got a very official looking letter from “mnc Trademark Service”. HugaMonkey™ does own a couple trademarks so this piece of mail caught my attention. I thought it was an official communication from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
At a glance, it looks pretty official, right? It turns out that it wasn’t from the USPTO. The fine print (of course) gives up the scam. It reads, “Trademark Service is neither a legal requirement, nor a mandatory service. Trademark service is a privately owned entity that is not affiliated with the U.S.P.T.O.”
I’m not a trademark expert, and this confused me for a few minutes. I initially thought it was a notice that I needed to register again. But wait, I thought I had registered? Do I have to do more? What is a yearly renewal? MNC was taking advantage of a confusing process to trick me into buying an unnecessary service.
I learned some lessons from this attack. First, I need to do my homework and be prepared for these kind of tricks. Second, it’s not cool to try and trick your future customers. Be up front and transparent with your prospects. If you have to use sneaky tricks to get them to buy, then you should take a long hard look at your service or product.