Scam warning -- National Info-Tech Directory (NIC) Rick Anderson 29 Oct 2002 20:38 UTC

Dear SERIALST-ers,

Be on the lookout for invoices from the National Info-Tech Center.  The
invoices will be buff or beige in color with a blue "NIC" logo in the upper
left-hand corner.  The NIC is aggressively pursuing the standard directory
scam -- they call you up, "confirm" your address, then send you an invoice
for several hundred dollars to cover your listing in the directory.  As
usual, they avoid uncomfortable conversations with informed librarians by
targeting staff members outside of the Acquisitions and Serials departments;
in our case, one of our systems people fielded (and successfully rebuffed)
one such call, but the company had more luck with a student employee in one
of our branch libraries.

What is noteworthy about the NIC's approach is that this company is much
more aggressive than others I've encountered over the years.  Most of these
scammers will hang up on you as soon as you start asking questions.  These
guys actually return your calls.  And when I asked if they had a recording
of the student "authorizing" the order, they actually said yes and set up an
appointment to play the recording for me over the phone!  (They did not
offer, however, to play back the part in which the student tried to get them
to call back and talk to his supervisor and they bullied him into going
through the "authorization" process himself.)  The recording confirmed my
suspicions; the caller had obviously been trained to emphasize innocuous
questions like "Is this your correct address?" while rushing through
questions like "Do I need a purchase order number or can I just send this to
your attention as the authorized purchaser?"

Needless to say, we will not be paying this invoice.  If any of you have
received invoices from this company in the recent past, I strongly suggest
that you double-check and challenge them as appropriate.  However, be
prepared for a fairly aggressive reaction from the company.

Rick Anderson
Director of Resource Acquisition
The University Libraries
University of Nevada, Reno          "Beware any theory that
1664 No. Virginia St.                explains everything and
Reno, NV  89557                      predicts nothing."
PH  (775) 784-6500 x273              -- Richard C. Galbraith
FX  (775) 784-1328