Sunday, February 24, 2013

BEWARE: "Ken Martins" & Other Nigerian Scams

"Ken Martins"(Kenneth/Keneth/Ken) takes on many forms: Different ages, occupations, races,  countries, after women and men. It's a scam that has been a problem for over five years in Europe (including Romania), Australia, Canada, and the US. When "he" wants to share a secret, it is to get you to send money (to Nigeria, Malaysia, etc.). My granddaughter works in a grocery store and tells me that unsuspecting folks are sending of their cash to these countries via Western Union, obviously thinking they are helping someone who loves them and expecting big money in return. My contact said he had gone to Nigeria for a few days and wanted me to text him on his cellphone, a  different number than the first one, a Nigerian number per internet search (+234). It's a typical Nigerian scam that I've seen go from mail to fax to the internet over the last 20+ years. It started out as royalty in distress because of a death in the family, then progressed to using dating services.

I was contacted with a friend request on Facebook, my public site. I never indicate my marital status or mark "interested in" anywhere. I've never used a dating service of any kind. Red flags went up. So my first thought was "why me?" I remembered seeing an African viewing in this blog's stats. Aha! The light came on: My bio, my link to Facebook...

I played with the "friend" to see if there was some way I could bust them. Unfortunately there isn't, so I decided to jerk them around. I waited to see when the request would come. Their story got so twisted. Pertinent questions were ignored until they thought I might walk away, and then the excuses/reasons were lame. It took less than two weeks! (Some say it has been up to three months. Others that the requests keep coming for more money.)

Google/search "Ken Martins scam" and see for yourself.

By the way, the pic was of a handsome, silver-haired, debonair gentleman, probably an  Italian model, so gorgeous that I kept a copy of it. No wonder it gets women's attention! I also found "him" on LinkedIn, along with other versions of Ken Martins, with a different picture of the same man working as an admin. asst. in Dallas. (In USA he's a widowed engineer, in UK a divorced doctor or a lawyer.) I knew not to text or call the cell phones. Those who did reported strange accents and high charges. There are 3 Facebook accounts for him, with the same picture:!/kenneth.martins.75?fref=ts!/keneth.martins?fref=ts!/kenneth.martins.7923?fref=ts

What did I do? He said I was his one and only...and then asked if I could be trusted with his family secret, I FB-messaged them I already knew the secret: Nigerian scammers. Then I clicked Unfriend.

Advice from an attorney-friend when I was 20, "If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. Don't."

Don't fall for it. Tell your friends.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Feeling Great!

This is a great day! I'm finally over my cold enough that my head (mind) is clear and I feel so good. I felt like I was in a mental fog last week.

I know some of you haven't seen me in years, so I'll give an update. "About Me" disappeared from this blog months ago, and I can't retrieve it. It is on my other two linked blogs if you're interested. That weight I gained in 2003 is TOTALLY GONE, slow but sure. I have a waist again! Now I need to trim my waistline and flatten my tummy. Yes, I do and to shed a few more pounds doing it. I'm back into my normal skinny sizes, but I'm not skinny, yet. That's a benefit of big bones. If you don't get it, it's because you're normal. :) 

My broken feet (August 2010) are doing fine, as long as I refrain from going barefoot. too much. I need to keep them supported with shoes most of the time.  

On my next visit to my daughter's, I hope the weather is good enough to ride the horse. If not, I'll just cuddle the ferret. Oh, yeah, that breaks my heart. Good times. ;)

I'm really pleased with how well my adult granddaughter (my roommate) is doing. She's got a great job and going to college at the same time. She's majoring in accounting, like I did. She and her special guy have been together almost 3 years now. 

I'm so glad my son, daughter and all my grandkids are doing well. I miss the close contact we used to have. Distance is such a hinderance.

I miss all my great friends, family and extended family who are now separated from me by distance. I think of all of you often, with love and joy for having you in my life. Love you all!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

2013: One submission, one rejection year-to-date

I submitted Mysterious Castle to a literary agency in New York two weeks ago and received the "Thank you but no thanks" reply within a week. On Monday, I opened the letter to receive the all too common "not the right fit" comment that said it wasn't what they are looking for right now. That's all right. I have other options.

I was trying to stay within a specific word limit for teens and young adults, which is about 2/3 to 1/2 of the minimum for adults wanted by most publishers. I had to leave out a lot of the adventures I'd planned. A friend led me to another publisher that has a much higher word-limit range (75,000-100,000). Yes! I will be writing those adventures before resubmitting Mysterious Castle. This is a good thing!

My backup plan is epublishing, avoiding the frustrating middle men.