warning: possible Internet scam

Subject: warning: possible Internet scam
From: "Melinda Massi (MHM0)" <MHM0 -at- ECC -dot- BITNET>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 1994 10:18:48 EST

If you are contemplating a private Internet account,
read the following and be alert. Washington, DC, may
not be the only place where this is happening.
-- M. Massi
---------------------------- Text of forwarded message -----------------------
> Date: Tue, 4 Jan 1994 16:18:44 -0500
> From: Scott A. Ward 703-614-4719 <wards -at- AMOMEGA -dot- ACQ -dot- OSD -dot- MIL>
> To: Multiple recipients of list COMMUNET
> Subject: Warning: International Internet Association

A company calling itself the International Internet Association, and billing
itself as "the largest non-profit provider of free Internet access in the
world" has started advertizing in the Washington, D.C. area, and offering free
Internet accounts to individuals who will FAX them, among other things, a
credit card number. As an active member of the Member Council of the National
Capital Area Public Access Network (CapAccess), I wanted to find more about
this organization that supposedly has offices NOT THREE BLOCKS FROM CAPACCESS.
Here's the result of my search for the IIA.

1. Their address, listed as "Suite 852 - 202 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W. Washington
D.C. 20006", is actually a post office box at Mailboxes, Etc.

2. The company lists no incorporation, trademark or service-mark licenses.

3. They claim your E-mail address would be <userid>@iia.org. However:
a. No iia.org is listed in the hq.af.mil hosts table
b. No iia.org is listed in the acq.osd.mil hosts table
c. No iia.org is listed is the INTERNIC 'whois' database
d. No iia.org is listed using the INTERNIC 'netfind' Internet lookup
In other words, IIA.ORG does NOT, at this time, exist.

4. Although they apologize profusely in the application, they state that
"Without receiving a credit card number, the IIA _cannot_ process an account."

5. Although I have left a message on their voice-mail system, I have received
no response from them. (they also apologize in the voice mail that, due to
demand, they are operating at a 3-week backlog for applications.)

I cannot judge an organization in advance. However, I do think it highly
suspicious that, to use their propaganda, "The International Internet
Association is able to make this service available through generous private
donations, and the extraordinary dedication of its membership." I can say that
I am not convinced this organization exists, and highly discourage any Internet
user from sending information until you make certain that the IIA is real.

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