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Nov
09
Filed Under (Rant) by brah.john on 09-11-2009

Part One of my Idiot Driver series – all taken from my commute!

Location: The exit from 820 East to 35W North

Idiots: drive me nuts when they do this and actually cause traffic on 820 East to backup because of it…

idiot_driver_1

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My oh my this company likes to get around (aka keep changing names so people can’t get information on the scam-company as easily).

As of today, with my previous post about Watson Brooks, I have received many comments about similar shell company names that this shady company uses.  It appears that they are using at least 8 different company names.  Many of the actual websites appear to be down, but people continue to get letters from them:

But three are still up and rocking that awful website music:

Alas, I have heard nothing more from them to me about their legal threats.  I keep checking my Facebook inbox and I guess Amy Yates doesn’t want to be friends.  Also, it appears they have at least four letter signers of fake Vice Presidents to:

  • Amy Yates
  • Sandra Wallace
  • Julie Harris
  • Ashley Wilcox
  • Jacqueline Penn

I wouldn’t put it past this company to continue to put these letters out under different shell company names.  If you know of any others, let me know in the comments so I can add it to the list.

Update 9/18: Added a new company name and Vice President to the list – thanks to Sam for sharing another shell company name!  Also – it appears that all of these shell companies are being driven by “TravelAgencyAppointment.com“.  It looks like most of these shell company sites are down, but they are certainly still pumping out the scam letters.  This is getting down right stupid.

PetersonBurke

Stupid company…

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Jul
22
Filed Under (Advice, Life, Rant) by brah.john on 22-07-2009

I got home today to find I had a new Facebook message from one Amy Yates.  My first thought was “damn… why does that name sound so familiar?”

I quickly remembered who Amy Yates is – she is the teleporting-signature changing VP of Watson Brooks!  Able to personally sign thousands of letters all postmarked from different locations!

I open the message up to find legal threats against my post on their letter they sent to me…

Scam_Legal_FB_Msg

Wow – serving me a legal notice on Facebook?  That is soooo Web 2.0.

In the spirit of the many signature of Amy Yates, her Facebook profile picture looks suspiciously like a stock photograph:

Amy could be in a catalog somewhere!  I did a quick image search for a “business woman”, but couldn’t track down the source image of this photo – anyone out there have Sherlock-Holmes tracking skills for stock photography?  I would really love to find it…

Amy_Yates

Amy Yates "Herself"

I’m tempted to add Miss “Multiple Signature Personality” Amy Yates as my friend and see what she does.  Anyways, in the spirit of my last post on Watson Brooks, I’m updating the list of phone numbers they use based on your comments.  It amazes me that a “legitimate” company would need so many phone numbers for their valuable prize giveaways…

210-301-0087 San Antonio, TX
214-932-0716 Dallas, TX
302-365-8228 Delaware
302-526-5000 Delaware
302-526-5219 Delaware
303-209-4159 Denver, CO
303-242-3511 Denver, CO
407-358-6163 Orlando, FL
480-281-0118 Phoenix, AZ
480-567-1642 Phoenix, AZ
732-481-4573 Central NJ
732-676-4052 Central NJ
732-676-4053 Central NJ
817-786-3340 Fort Worth, TX
973-302-9053 Northern NJ
973-302-9053
214-932-0716
302-365-8228
302-526-5219
302-526-5000
480-281-0118
480-567-1642
732-676-4053
732-676-4052
732-481-4573
303-242-3511
303-209-4159
407-358-6163
210-301-0087
817-786-3340

Update 8/19/09: Many thanks to commenter “Rich” for finding the stock photo of my good Facebook friend Miss “Amy Yates”.  Stock Photo 1, Stock Photo 2.  I love that these were found!

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Jul
13
Filed Under (Advice, Life, Rant) by brah.john on 13-07-2009

I recently received one of those “all to good to be true” letters in the mail.

I have to admit, they got me curious enough to open it by hand addressing the envelope.

Upon opening it, I found out that I was the lucky recipient of an award!  Two round trip airline tickets!  Congrats to me!  Reading a bit further, I even found out that this was my last notice – apparently they had attempted to contact me previously…

Yes!  I just need to call (214)-932-0716 and I can receive my winnings!  Hell, even Amy Yates personally signed the letter; it must be legit!  A quick glance at their website and Google search surprisingly didn’t turn up much information on this company.  I fell upon another of their shell companies: “Lambert Steel” which has oddly familiar scamsite – also looks like they are associated with CVI Travel.

From what I can tell, the letters are often postmarked from AZ, NY, NJ, FL, TX or CA – but never a return address.  Who signs the letter varies; at the very least between my beloved Amy Yates and Julie Harris.  The existing phone numbers associated with the scam are:

973-302-9053

214-932-0716

302-365-8228

480-281-0118

480-567-1642

732-676-4053

303-242-3511

And I’m sure many many more.  Do not respond to these letters if you get one – they will try to reach you numerous times.

Anyone else have information about this slime-ball “company”?

UPDATE 7/15: The only action I can see taking against this company is filing a report at the BBB.  Any other suggestions that don’t involve TP-ing Amy Yates house?

UPDATE 7/22: Legal threats made to me via Facebook from Amy Yates “herself”!  Post also contains updated list of phone numbers used from people in this comment thread.

UPDATE 7/24: Thanks to commenter “Bart” for finding a couple other names they go under!  Avoid Spencer Burns, Donovan Rich, and Hammond Reed (although this one appears to have lapsed the domain registration).  It also appears that they have gotten our contact info via job sites such as Monster and Career Builder.

UPDATE 8/8: One more company name to add to the list: Bradley Tate.  If you have lost track of all the names this company uses, we are up to at least 6.  Bradley Tate, Spencer Burns, Hammond Reed, Donovan Rich, Lambert Steel, and Watson Brooks; all having the exact same website sending out the same letters with the same letterhead but different shell company name.  The sites tend to go dormant quickly once the word is out that its the same scamming company.

Here is the hand signed letter for my “winnings”:

WatsonBrooks Scam

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Jul
09
Filed Under (Michigan) by brah.derek on 09-07-2009

Lake Michigan Beachfront - July 5, 2009

Lake Michigan Beachfront - July 5, 2009

I went to a friend’s cottage on Lake Michigan for the 4th. The beach was mostly gone! You can even see a ridge. Global warming! Ha, actually it just rained a lot this spring…

To give you some perspective, this is the same beachfront last year (notice the post):

Lake Michigan beachfront - July 6, 2008

Lake Michigan beachfront July 6, 2008

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Jul
05
Filed Under (Life, Texas, Travel) by brah.john on 05-07-2009

We took a trip out to Possum Kingdom this weekend with some friends for the 4th of July.  Now, I am from Michigan, where pretty much every type of firework is illegal (save sparklers and the like).  Texas is no Michigan in that regard.  Fireworks are pretty much standard, and these are sizable fireworks.

Horror stories about people losing extremities while using these sorts of fireworks make me hesitant to mess around with them.  The guys I was with were more than confident at their own handling and use of these digit-destroyers.  One guy even went as far to say:

“Fireworks are perfectly safe as long as you use them properly”

This quote was tested and proven about 20 minutes later when we were scurrying around with hoses putting out three separate grass fires produced by one of these “proper” uses of fireworks.  Luckily, nobody was hurt – save for some egos.

p1010042

All in all we had a great time with some great friends.  Possum Kingdom is a gorgeous lake.  The sheer cliff walls and clear blue skies made for a picturesque setting.  After a couple of days, we had our fill of plenty of sun, wake boarding, fireworks, and beer, and today we are nursing our wounds.  Some of us even needed to begin the wounds nursing in the middle of the yesterday:

Sleeping with the dogs

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