Amusing story of the day: yes, someone has tried to scam us

So there I am waiting for my 3:30pm phone call. Working on a Delta-V for a partner. Get a call from the number
Remember that number.
This person claimed they were representing Hugh Downs production company and wanted to do a story. Obviously this person had no clue, was reading from a script, and didn’t have any research background on us.
I was at least amused.
One of their questions at the end got me thinking that this person wasn’t clueless, but was fishing for something. Aroused my suspicions.
They asked me what my advertising budget was.
So I gave them a random range pulled out of a hat.

That number is between me, my business partner, and anyone who invests (and the tax-man). No one else.
The number I gave was low, I smelled things that were not unlike rotten fish.
Sure enough, I googled that number after he hung up (right after the low random number), and came up with this:

BEWARE : THIS IS A SCAM. Vision Media or VT Media or National Education Report or Heroes of Healthcare/Sport/Etc… or whatever they may be calling themselves these days is your basic telemarketing fraud. I know… because I know someone who worked there briefly before she quit in disgust.
Here’s the angle from the producer/telemarketer:
1) Come up with any kind of all-encompassing “story”
2) Look for “experts” by buying a list or creating one.
3) Read a script (these people are NOT television producers but telemarketers.) It will play to your ego and/or your passion in your work.
4) Pressure you into signing a production authorization in 3-4 days.
The key phrase in the production authorization (PA) is “DISTRIBUTED TO”. Basically, they’ll come out and shoot whatever story you want on poor quality film. Edit it with the same quality you’d find in high school video class. Then send it to individual Public Television stations around the country, which may or may not use them (probably not – and definitely not in the major markets — call around and check for yourself). They’ll also send it to CNBC, Fox, etc. where it is then up to the network to show it or not. That’s why they offer POST airing reports, instead of showing you the media buy itself.
STEER CLEAR OF THESE PEOPLE. THEY ARE SCAMMERS. And don’t, under any circumstances, send them money. Ignore their threats. They are scammers.
Some names to google: Bill Hough. Dr. Matt McMahon. Christian (Chris) Kelch. Michael Rawlinson.

heh …