In fairness, if I was an actual, small business, it might have seemed a bit more ominous, though even then it had far too many red flags. But I'm not an actual, small business, any more than this was from Dun & Bradstreet.
I had my virus filters all in place and was fascinated enough to read the letter. It said --
New Complaint : 0333222
Dun & Bradstreet has received the above-referenced complaint from one of your customers regarding their dealings with you. The details of the consumer's concern are included on the reverse. Please review this matter and advise us of your position.
In the interest of time and good customer relations, please provide the DnB with written verification of your position in this matter by June 28, 2013. Your prompt response will allow DnB to be of service to you and your customer in reaching a mutually agreeable resolution. Please inform us if you have contacted your customer directly and already resolved this matter.
Failure to promptly give attention to this matter may be reflected in the report we give to consumers about your company.
We encourage you to print this complaint (attached file), answer the questions and respond to us.
We look forward to your prompt attention to this matter.
Mind you, I knew it was a scam when it arrived, but still I did do what I always do when I receive anything even halfway questionable in email -- and I highly recommend this for everybody -- I did a search for a passage of text from the email, and yes, it came up that it's indeed a scam. (Shocking, I know...) The two biggest early-warning giveaways were that this was a "FW" email, and I couldn't believe for a second that a company as reputable as Dun & Bradstreet would be forwarding me anything. They'd write a letter directly. And second, it had the old bugaboo, an attachment.
Of course, the biggest giveaway was the first sentence, so I didn't even get past the opening line without laughing -- that one of my "customers' had a complaint "regarding their dealings" with me.
My customers. As close as I could figure, that would be...well, you reading this.
As a freelance writer, I work with clients. I really don't have all that many, what I even remotely consider, "customers." Mind you, it could have been from a couple of producers I'm dealing with on a film project -- but producers would no sooner refer to themselves as "customers" than Saddam Hussein would consider himself alive. Grand Poobah or Lord and Master would be more likely. But beyond that, I knew it couldn't be from a producer because that would mean they were writing back about something. About anything. Getting a response from producer (including a note, "How as your day?!") without six attempts first is proof of forgery.
It also could have been from a reader of my Hufferies on the Huffington Post, though I thought that that was unlikely, since public complaints are posted there openly for all to easily see. From experience, I know that if anyone of my "customers" there has a complaint about what I wrote, they have absolutely no problem expressing it. Indeed, they relish the public platform.
So, that leaves the fine readers of these pages. There is a "Comment" button here, too,, but the software doesn't post them directly, and instead leaves them under a separate Comment page that has to be clicked on. (In fact, if there were actual complaints from "customers" here, I'd more figure that it was about that to the software developer...)
Now, I do know that there can be complaints from my customers here. Maybe the cheese dip in the refrigerator wasn't their favorite. Maybe I wrote something that struck someone as insane. Maybe they didn't want to hear yet another version of the song, "Hello, Dolly!" But given that I don't consider people coming to the pages of Elisberg Industries as "customers," but rather fine, noble, intelligent, warm-hearted and decent cream of the earth, I just couldn't wrap my mind around the "customer" concept. And also, since everything here is free, I figured, "Hey, if someone actually does have a complaint, screw 'im." (Well, okay, no, I didn't actually think that. What I thought was -- "If someone actually has a complaint, that's why God created the Comment button. And the fine, noble, warm-hearted and smart people here know that.")
So, yes, obviously, of course, this email was nothing but a scam. It was clear from the "ding" that new email had arrived.
But on the off-chance that any of the "customers" here have a complaint, please hand it to Ms. Gsalava seated at the front desk.