I recently received an email stating
“It is a privilege to inform you that you are being considered for inclusion into the 2009/2010 Princeton Premier Honors Edition Registry.
This recognition is an honor shared by only the most accomplished professionals who have demonstrated excellence within their careers and communities.”
I had always assumed these were “legitimate” offers that rather egotistical people sign up for. The money is made by then selling the registry to those who wish to see their names in the book. Kind of a pay for a compliment scheme.
I had to look in my spam folder to find the message as ESET Smart Security had accurately placed it there. The email was sent to email@example.com. I never send email from that account and it is only advertised as being for users with security related questions.
For whatever reason, I decided to see who was behind the “offer” and what I found leads me to believe this is at best a very shady organization. To begin with, I looked at who the “premierespecial.com” domain is registered to. The phone number associated with the record is for a medical doctor’s office in Tennessee while the address for the company is listed as being in New York. Highly suspicious. The email address is a Gmail account. Usually a legitimate business will have an account associated with their domain. The odds are that the information provided to the registrar, Names.com, is not accurate and that is not allowed.
They provide a form to apply online with. The link in the email does not actually display the real link, however it does redirect to the same domain as the displayed link. The link goes to a page on formdesk.com, which provides online data collection forms. It is probably a cost effective service. A free 90 trial and only $50 per year for basic service.
A little googling turned up an interesting find….
“These guys took to ringing the office up to 6 times a day and were most abusive to staff who would not put their calls through to me.
Now here’s the clanger……….these guys were calling from New York……..my office is in Wetherill Park. Where’s that I hear you ask? SYDNEY AUSTRALIA! In all they made about 60 calls before I finally took one of their calls and told them to bugger off. They want money to list you in this "quality" publication that goes into the Library of Congress (is there such a place?) and a substantial sum too.
The discrepancies in Princeton Global Networks [firstname.lastname@example.org] domain registration, and the fact that they are blatant spammers, would recommend that they are not to be trusted with money or personal information.
Director of Technical Education
Author ESET Research, ESET