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Beware of MR mag. billing scam

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Beware of MR mag. billing scam
Posted by karle on Saturday, August 01, 2009 7:00 PM

 Watch out for bogus "bills" being sent to subscribers to MR. I just got one from a firm called PBA, 1350 E Flamingo Rd  #749, Las Vegas, NV 89119 phone 1-888-301-3483. They sent me what looks like a bill for MR for 39.95, wanting response by 8/31/2009.  My real subscription doesn't expire until 2012. In fine print at the bottom of the bill it says Not a Bill. What a scam. Fore-warned is fore-armed.

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Posted by dieselsmoke on Saturday, August 01, 2009 7:32 PM

 I'm wondering how they knew you had a subscription with MR and how they got your name and address?

Jim

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Posted by grizlump9 on Saturday, August 01, 2009 9:02 PM

 i had a similar occurance a while back and Kalmbach admitted to me that they had sold mailing lists to others and some of them were shady operators.  they went on to say that they were working with state's attorney's offices around the country to get the abuse stopped.

 another example of our changing times. the bean counters run everything.  i doubt if Al Kalmbach would have compromised the integrity of his organization for a few pennies per name.  then again, who knows?

 it's all b.s. anyway.  these outfits preach security and privacy etc. blah blah blah and then when you try to deal with them, they want to know what color sox you are wearing.

grizlump (grumpy german)

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Posted by cacole on Saturday, August 01, 2009 9:03 PM

 Carstens Publications has been warning subscribers to Railroad Model Craftsman about this company and several others that are scams, with half page notices for several months now.

It's certainly no secret that magazine publishers sell subscriber lists to anyone who waves dollars in their face.

What's even worse are these store "savings cards" that many of them want you to sign up for.  They sell your personal information to all sorts of shady businesses that will start pestering you unmercifully.  The biggest problem with these people is, once you sign up for one of their cards and reveal your telephone number, everyone they sell your identity to can ignore the "no caller" list because you have "voluntarily" given out your number and have agreed to accept telephone solicitations.  That's one of the provisions in the tiny, tiny, legal mumbo jumbo on the card agreement.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, August 01, 2009 9:45 PM

dieselsmoke

 I'm wondering how they knew you had a subscription with MR and how they got your name and address?

Jim

Jim,Getting information is easy..Keeping things private is much harder.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

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Posted by R. T. POTEET on Saturday, August 01, 2009 11:13 PM

Darn! Got me two years in a row!

From the far, far reaches of the wild, wild west I am: rtpoteet

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Posted by jwhitten on Sunday, August 02, 2009 1:20 AM

grizlump9

 then when you try to deal with them, they want to know what color sox you are wearing.

grizlump (grumpy german)

 

 Tell them: Litigious Lime!

 

Modeling the South Pennsylvania Railroad ("The Hilltop Route") in the late 50's
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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Sunday, August 02, 2009 6:04 AM

 It's not just subscribers getting this. I got that email and deleted it as I've not subscribed to MR since the 80's.

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Posted by cacole on Sunday, August 02, 2009 8:44 AM

jeffrey-wimberly

 It's not just subscribers getting this. I got that email and deleted it as I've not subscribed to MR since the 80's.

 

Jeffrey,

The "bill" the OP was referring to was via U.S. Postal Service I believe, but e-mail addresses are sold, too.

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Sunday, August 02, 2009 2:00 PM

I pulled up a satellite view of the address.  It's in a large shopping mall just north of the UNV Las Vegas campus.  I wouldn't be surprised to learn that it's one of those, "Mailboxes R Us," storefronts.  There aren't any seven story buildings anywhere near it.

So far, I've flown under their radar - or else my spam blocker ate their e-mail.

Chuck (Las Vegas resident modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

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Posted by karle on Sunday, August 02, 2009 4:35 PM

Guys- ths was not an e-mail.  It was a letter that very much looked like a bill. Date due and amount due, and stated it was for MR Magazine.

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Posted by jjbmish on Monday, August 03, 2009 9:31 AM

I received one of these on Saturday.  I plan on call ing Kalmbach this afternoon.  Hopefully, no one else sends their money to this group.

 

 

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Posted by Icefoot on Monday, August 03, 2009 10:22 AM

Nice.  And yes, Google maps says there is a UPS Store (what used to be Mailboxes, etc) at that address.  But even more rich is that Google goes out of their way to invade the privacy of residental addresses with the street view camera car, but they don't have this business area photographed....

Mark Wilson www.modelrr.info
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Posted by CDaniels on Monday, August 03, 2009 11:19 AM

I’d like to clear up some of the misconceptions regarding these subscription scams.  I am the Group Circulation Manager for Model Railroader and five other Kalmbach magazines.

 

Kalmbach and many other publishers have been battling these unauthorized companies for a number of years. We do not use any agents to renew subscriptions. Your renewal notices and bills will always come directly from Kalmbach.

 

Kalmbach does allow other companies to mail to our subscriber list from time to time, but these companies are researched and offer products or services that are related to the hobbies we serve. We have not rented the list to anyone known or suspected as a shady operator.  Also, we never release your e-mail address to a third party.

 

Kalmbach has joined with other publishers in an attempt to identify and fight the group or groups conducting these scams. We appreciate you letting us know if you receive one of these notices.

 

Cathy Daniels

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Posted by kansaspacific1 on Monday, August 03, 2009 3:17 PM

 Cathy:

 Just came from the mailbox, where I got one of these scam notices.  This came from an outfit called Publishers Billing Exchange, Inc, P O Box 7004, La Habra, CA 90632.

Offering a one year renewal for $39.95, in two monthly installments if you wish at $19.98 per month.  (Which adds to $39.96, which is interesting.)  They also ask for your telephone number (for "processing purposes,") which I assume they will sell to another list.

Chuck

 

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Posted by grayfox1119 on Monday, August 03, 2009 8:50 PM

 I have received these notices in the mail also. And, I have received them for Popular Mechanix and Popular Science also. i think I know where they "may" be coming from. Over the past few years, usually in September and October, schools around the country have magazine sales in certain grades, usually 4-8. I have renewed my subscriptions to several of my magazines through this school magazine fund raiser. Now, after a year has gone by, I get these renewal mails from these companies that are NOT affiliated with Kalmbach or Popular Science, etc. And, their prices are way out of line from what I would normally pay from the publishers themselves.

 

Dick If you do what you always did, you'll get what you always got!! Learn from the mistakes of others, trust me........you can't live long enough to make all the mistakes yourself, I tried !! Picture album at :http://www.railimages.com/gallery/dickjubinville Picture album at:http://community.webshots.com/user/dickj19 local weather www.weatherlink.com/user/grayfox1119
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Posted by pastorbob on Tuesday, August 04, 2009 12:38 PM

Okay Cathy: here is the one I just got this morning.  Good old Publishers exchange out of LaHabra.

It is now confetti in my office trash can.

Have a great day!   Bob (Robert L Miller, Kansas City KS)

 

Bob Miller http://www.atsfmodelrailroads.com/
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Posted by JSperan on Tuesday, August 04, 2009 4:45 PM

CDaniels
Kalmbach does allow other companies to mail to our subscriber list from time to time, but these companies are researched and offer products or services that are related to the hobbies we serve. We have not rented the list to anyone known or suspected as a shady operator.  Also, we never release your e-mail address to a third party.

 

Of course once that "other" company has the information MRR has no idea what they do with it regardless of what may have been agreed upon,..

It's called PRIVACY.  Companies should protect the privacy of their customers by NOT providing ANY information to outside sources.

Scams like this are easy to avoid.  Don't use customer contact information as a way to generate revenue!

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Posted by Robt. Livingston on Tuesday, August 04, 2009 6:44 PM

Usually, these types of scams are fought in court by the Attorney General of a given state, or states, which would include the state of the publisher (Kalmbach) and the various dummy locations where the mailing occurs.  Mail scams are under the jurisdiction of the FBI.  The actual miscreants could be anywhere from Podunk USA to the Ukraine.  Fighting these things can take a very long time, and if they are hit and run operators, they can't be easily caught.  If they are outside the US, it becomes harder. 

 So, keep your head down and keep your shredder teeth sharpened. Good luck to the good guys. 

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Posted by ho modern modeler on Tuesday, August 04, 2009 7:15 PM

I got one, too.

FOLKS AT KALMBACH:

Beware of who you sell our addresses to.

 

Mine doesn't move.......it's at the station!!!

 

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Posted by Philly Bill on Tuesday, August 04, 2009 7:58 PM

I can backup Cathy's comments from a disinterested perspective.  I'm a lawyer in Philadelphia who does some consumer class action.  A few years back, we got an inquiry from a colleague who had been paying these solicitations that looked like renewals or invoices for various magazines, and realized that he was already paid several years in advance.  We looked into and found that this has become a real problem for the magazine biz. 

For many years, magazine publishers would take subscription orders from middlemen, called clearinghouses.  You may have heard of Publishers Clearinghouse, the most famous, or a school fund-raiser, or door to door kids trying to win a prize, etc. etc.  Like any wholesale arrangement, the middleman makes his money on the spread, and for magazines, it represents circulation growth without marketing costs. 

But these mail order abuses by shady operators have created a big problem, such that some mags won't accept clearinghouse orders anymore, and print notices in their mags to warn about them.  In the case we looked at, after investigating we found that the clearinghouse operator was not associated with the magazines, and like other sharp operators, would be very hard to track down and collect money from.  Also, it looked like there wasn't anything clearly illegal that they were doing.  The mailing did not misrepresent itself as a renewal, or state that it came from the magazine.  It looked like a renewal invoice, but it did not actually say it was a renewal, it said it was an offer to subscribe.  These guys are experts at working right up to the edge of what the law permits.

As to the mailing lists, we also found that these guys don't need to get subscriber lists.  They can troll off various sources of lists and, say, if they get a list of people interested in modelling, just blanket them.  All they need is 2% or 3% response.

Hanging around Horseshoe Curve
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Posted by pjjkg on Tuesday, August 04, 2009 8:02 PM

Got similar from a "Woodworking Magazine " today.

pjjkg

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Thursday, August 06, 2009 6:26 PM

I had thought I was under the radar.  WRONG!!!  Got my Notice of renewal/New order from La Habra in today's mail.  When I called the customer service number, the recording wasted no time telling me, "This is not a bill."

An added joker.  The notice was for Model Railroader, but they got my name from a Carstens' mailing list.  (Different middle initial.)

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

 

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Posted by JSperan on Thursday, August 06, 2009 7:01 PM

tomikawaTT
An added joker.  The notice was for Model Railroader, but they got my name from a Carstens' mailing list.  (Different middle initial.)

 

I guess it's nice to know that the unscrupulous selling of your name and address to other, not so reputable sources is not just limited to Model Railroader...or NOT.

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Posted by twhite on Thursday, August 06, 2009 7:10 PM

Got one yesterday.  Went in the shredder with all of the Visa and Discover notices I get from banks I've never heard of.  Whistling

I'm sure they'll keep sending them.  And I'm POSITIVE that I'll keep shredding them.  What the heck--I can use the confetti to start my fireplace this winter. Tongue

Tom Big Smile

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Posted by howmus on Thursday, August 06, 2009 10:22 PM

twhite
Got one yesterday.  Went in the shredder with all of the Visa and Discover notices I get from banks I've never heard of.

 

But don't miss a good OPPORTUNITY! 

"I am Dr. Adewole Aremu- a director with the Union Bank of Nigeria in Lagos - and I wish to speak to you most urgently about a matter regarding the sum of $39,000,000 US Dollars... "

Ray Seneca Lake, Ontario, and Western R.R. (S.L.O.&W.) in HO

We'll get there sooner or later! 

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Posted by twhite on Thursday, August 06, 2009 10:42 PM

howmus

twhite
Got one yesterday.  Went in the shredder with all of the Visa and Discover notices I get from banks I've never heard of.

 

But don't miss a good OPPORTUNITY! 

"I am Dr. Adewole Aremu- a director with the Union Bank of Nigeria in Lagos - and I wish to speak to you most urgently about a matter regarding the sum of $39,000,000 US Dollars... "

Ray: 

Oh, yah.  Had to really think about passing THAT one up, LOL! Laugh  With all of the ones I've gotten by e-mail and snail mail, I've come to the conclusion that Nigeria must be the wealthiest country in the world.  And they all want ME to take care of their money. Tongue  Just imagine!

Tom Whistling

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Posted by Midnight Railroader on Friday, August 07, 2009 12:20 AM

Icefoot
Google goes out of their way to invade the privacy of residental addresses with the street view camera car

 

Photos made from the public right-of-way, ie., the street, are in no way an "invasion of privacy."

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Posted by blownout cylinder on Friday, August 07, 2009 5:18 AM

Philly Bill
As to the mailing lists, we also found that these guys don't need to get subscriber lists.  They can troll off various sources of lists and, say, if they get a list of people interested in modelling, just blanket them.  All they need is 2% or 3% response.

As confirmation I had a friend in the clearinghouse business who said that some of these so called mailing lists that we all think came from Kalmbach/Carstens could very easily been generated off of phonebooks and such.

Any argument carried far enough will end up in Semantics--Hartz's law of rhetoric Emerald. Leemer and Southern The route of the Sceptre Express Barry

I just started my blog site...more stuff to come...

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Posted by TMarsh on Friday, August 07, 2009 7:37 AM

?????? You mean I'm not going to get my $10,000 from Nigeria? Then why did they need my account number?

I know some times they get the information from us. I have recieved in the past many notices over the years to renew my Car Craft magazine through various companies. I have recieved my renewal every time for 30 years now. I am not saying every one of these offers you recieve is legit but I believe most at least send your renewel to the magazine and enough money to pay the cost.

Sometimes they get the information from us by fishing. I have recieved phone calls in the past asking me if I was recieving my magazines ok (the cast). I responded "yes" (the nibble, they now know I subscride to at least one magazine). They ask, "would you like to renew?" and tell me the great multi year offer and give you some low per issue cost. I respond "sure" (the bite). They come back with "great, which ones would you like to renew", I say "Car Craft" (the hook is set). They say "any others?" Answer yes or no depending on whether you have more or not. Then of course they need your info. Even though you are under the impression they should already have it, you fire it off to them. You've been reeled in. And THAT list, my friends, definately gets sold. I asked once about needing the info because they should already have it, you know, mailing address, WHAT MAGAZINE for crying out loud, to which she responded, they were not affiliated with any magazine and that they were a company that can offer savings on subscriptions because they call people and try to get them to renew when some may not if left on their own...etc,etc,etc, sounded reasonable. Sometimes it's a race among clearinghouses to get your business, I've recieved several offers in one year and have had the magazine payed up, yes they followed through every one of them, for 10 years at one time.

I don't know about MR in light of the little cards that are falling all over the place and their responses lately, but at least at one time I would say no mag would turn down a renewal no matter where it came from or how they got it as long as they got the money. Not all these businesses are scams in the traditional sense, more than likely you will recieve your magazine subscription. The scam I believe is the list of names and addresses the company generates and the list of magazines each name recieves indicating the interests of that person.

Also, ordering MRR stuff (or anything really that requires you giving a shipping address. Notice many places won't adamantly state they won't give out your billing info or address? What about your shipping address and info?) from the internet, credit cards used at stores (not necessarily every credit card company but, read that small print about what kind of information some do give out. Remember it's not VISA that holds your account it's some bank somewhere.), all these things that we do can generate a list that is a source of what you do. Kalmbach is not to blame for it all. Some, more than likely, but definately not all. We really need to be diligent in our dealings. The smallest inocent things can get you caught. Marketing target "scams" are just about the hardest to avoid, yet truthfully the most harmless, just annoyiing. Unless you pull your back hauling the junk mail from the mailbox, get cauliflower ear from the phone calls, wear your keyboard out by deleting all the e-mails.  

Todd  

Central Illinoyz

In order to keep my position as Master and Supreme Ruler of the House, I don't argue with my wife.

I'm a small town boy. A product of two people from even smaller towns. I don’t talk on topic….. I just talk. Laugh

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