June 1st, 2004


NM Folks -- Possible Scam?

[Cross-posted to solicitors_suck.]

Today Andy and I received a notification in the mail. It is printed on fairly nice invitation-like paper and was addressed to us using Andy's formal full name. On the inside the header says "Bueno Neighbors", so someone is a bit rusty on their Spanish. The message was that they had been unable to contact us by phone and that they had a parcel for us. It gives a local number for Albuquerque and an 800 number for Santa Fe, hours to call, and says to ask for Barbara. It also gives a parcel number.

I asked a local doctor about it and she hasn't heard of any scam along these lines. She suggested it might be some sort of welcome wagon thing and might be completely innocent, then said the AG has a fraud hotline. She agreed with callicrates that it would probably be a good idea, if we decided to call, to block our number.

When I got home I tried Switchboard's reverse lookup on the number given, but they simply said it was unlisted or might be a number for someone who had moved recently. I also searched for the number in Google, but all I found was a guy who had posted a similar message on a telemarketing board wondering what the catch might be; his speculation is that they have you call and then can claim an established business relationship for future telemarketing. No one replied, so I'm not sure what might have come of it.

I also checked out the AG's site and called the hotline; but the site was pretty much useless (they list maybe ten scams overall, including lawsuits they've won and which are in progress against scammers) and they haven't returned my message yet.

Being that I am a Cat, I'm dying of curiosity at the moment. I remember the welcome wagon stuff my parents received; Pamela and I always fought over who got to stir the big pots with the KFC plastic spoon. On the other hand, the lack of any sort of return address, company name (unless the malformed Spanglish is exactly that), or other means of identification has all of my warning sirens going off.

So, if anyone from the northern NM area might know, please tell Andy and me whether it's safe to call or not. If no one can answer either way we won't call, but if this thing is legitimate and there is a package, I want to see what it is.