Pass on e-mail offers of ‘free press passes’ – Bangor Daily News

Pass on e-mail offers of ‘free press passes’ – Bangor Daily News.
Consumer Forum
11/7/10 10:17 pm  Updated: 11/7/10 10:21 pm
By Russ Van Arsdale

Executive director, Northeast Contact

Imagine the best offer you’ve ever received (or heard of) by way of e-mail. Now, double, triple or quadruple it.

That’s what you might think you’re getting when you read an offer like a few that have come to our attention recently. They offer “free press passes” that allegedly (word used often by reporters) will admit the bearer, at no charge, to a variety of wonderful events.

Ah, Virginia, did you ever doubt there is a Santa Claus? Free admission to major concerts, gallery and restaurant openings, and a host of other fun things. All you, the person so lucky to be chosen, have to do is write an article for this news and information gathering organization.

Right, thing is, the only information the outfit is interested in gathering is about you. How do we know this? Follow the trail as we uncover what one of these senders of mischievous e-mail is really about.

We begin our search by looking at some of the come-on language: “You don’t need experience as a reporter … only a few people in your area have been selected … if you’re interested in further information, let us know.”

That last one is our favorite. By “letting them know” of your interest — responding to their e-mail, phoning them or otherwise furthering communication — you have taken the step needed for the sender to assert that the two of you have a “business relationship.” From that point on, some legal protections offered to consumers (read, general public) do not apply.

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