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Unsolicited Mail


Cryptos

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Hi fellow FPNers,

 

Here's the thing. I have a few penpals around the world, including some of the lovely guys and gals on here. However, in the last few months I have received 3 letters from people who are not members here, and who are not connected to me in any other obvious way. So three overseas letters arrive: from Russia, Malaysia and Brazil. One from a girl and the other two from guys. A couple of concerns come to mind. I don't know who these people are, and I don't know how exactly they got my name and address. Also, there is the perceived danger of scams in unsolicited mail, particularly (and sterotypically perhaps) assocaited with Russia.

 

One of the guys seemed like a fairly typical penpalling type. With the other guy I sensed a seeking for some kind of venture partner. Could be just my suspicion meter running the red zone. And the Russian one had quite a lot of personal information (about them) they I wouldn't have thought was a good idea to put into an introductory letter.

 

I could write back, I guess, but I wanted to ask as I am sure there are many here who have experienced this and have advice to render. So what would you do? And what do you think I should do?

 

 

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I usually ignore or shred letters from strangers. I'd be mildly concerned how they found my address and full name though. I'd like to introduce myself before starting a letter exchange.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow

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Maybe phishy? If you respond, you'll tend to give personal information; someone can fairly easily find your name and address online (phone books etc), and if you then send enough personal information they can build up enough of a picture to start something. What passwords do you use for banks and credit cards? - a worryingly large number of people use their pets' name, grandmother's surname, birthdate etc, like I do :wacko: .

 

As Csrae says, ignore them. If they're genuine they'll write again, then you can make up your mind.

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Have you listed your name on any FBs (Friendship Books- a little booklet thing, usually handmade, that get passed along from one pal to another, until it becomes full and be sent back to the person it is made for. Back in the dark age, before the internet, that's how people got to know other people to become pen pals.) somewhere along the line? If you did, even YEARS ago, you would still get surprise letters from time to time, as those could take a long time to circulate around.

 

I tend to think that, if they are genuinely interested in penpalling, they would NOT write again, because they would take your silence as the sign that you are not interested, and move on. In fact, introducing each other before moving onto an actual letter is a recent phenomenon, I am a lot more used to sending an intro letter (usually short and sweet, but some do put a lot of information on it) personally.

 

I would write back to the one(s) that seem nice and have something in common with me.

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Oh, that is a little creepy! Does your local post office offer post office boxes? Or is that too inconvenient/expensive?

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Yeah, post office has boxes but I do not use them. I have my mail delivered to my school most of the time. I found the unsolicited mail rather amusing actually. It is unlikely that I will reply. There are people I write to but those connections are usually set up online. I don't do blind invitations. Well, I got some nice stamps out of it at least. Actually, finding names and addresses is pretty easy, now that I come to think of it. The electoral roll is available in the public library system.

 

My decision: unsolicited mail will be read and appraised, and then most probably binned. There is no way I will reply if I am in any doubt whatsoever. Don't mind receiving them really as it's not that different from the random spam invitations to shift Nigerian Princely funds, or marry some poor benighted widow. Slightly irritating at most.

 

Just posted as a curiosity to see if anyone else gets them.

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It happened to me once. I gave an interview for a newspaper and a week later I got a letter from an unknown person inviting me on a coffee. He said he just phoned the journalist who wrote about me and asked for my address. I was more shocked with the fact that a famous newspaper gave my address to a stranger, considering we only communicated via email. But it's true that if you google my name you find a shocking amount of information about me... address and phone number included (and as a Red Cross blood donor, my blood type too).

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When I write to someone new or order something from a company that is new to me, I give myself a phony middle initial. That way, I can trace the phish and spam back to the source. Someone selling my name gets the heave-ho instanter.

Can a calculator understand a cash register?

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Actually, now that you mention it, none of the three letters was in fountain pen and ink. Though all were handwritten, addressed and stamped.

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It happened to me once. I gave an interview for a newspaper and a week later I got a letter from an unknown person inviting me on a coffee. He said he just phoned the journalist who wrote about me and asked for my address. I was more shocked with the fact that a famous newspaper gave my address to a stranger, considering we only communicated via email. But it's true that if you google my name you find a shocking amount of information about me... address and phone number included (and as a Red Cross blood donor, my blood type too).

I didn't have that ever happen, but when I was a kid I got some obscene phone calls from some guy who got my name and phone number from a classified ad. The local newspaper did a thing with free ads for kids, and I was selling a bunch of old Nancy Drew books I'd outgrown. The first phone came months after the ad quit running, and I thought it was kinda weird but that was it. The second (worse) one a few months later. It really freaked my parents out, especially since they had assumed that it was a teacher calling (the entire 7th grade was going on a 3-day campout, and this was the night before it was starting). The guy apparently called a third time after the campout started, but when my dad started asking pointed questions about who he was the guy hung up, and I don't think called back after that.

It may be part of why I tend to be a little leery about having lots of personal information about me floating around on the Internet.... I tend to leave large gaps in membership profiles as a result.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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Well, for a different point of view. If I got three unexpected letters from people I did not know and they were personal letters interested in being penpals, and if one of them sounded interesting, then I might write them a short note asking them to explain where they got my name and what made them interested in writing to me. ONLY after receiving a suitably satisfying response would I consider becoming more personal. Or toss them in the bin... Rob

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My advice? Just like a deal on eBay that sounds too good to be true - when in doubt DON'T.

 

Yes, with a little bit of information and some knowledge and ability to search the Net effectively, one can find out a lot about almost anyone.

 

Your best action? Dump the letters and ignore any additional ones in the future. Anything you do in the way of responding will encourage further action on their part.

 

Just mho!

“Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today, because if you do it today and like it, you can do again tomorrow!”

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