LAST CALL: Check all the facts before you fax

What's worse than being the unsuspecting victim of a clever scam artist? Being the victim of a simple-minded scammer. If you work in public policy: beware.

A British company calling itself 21st Century Faxes has been sending out questionnaires to legislators and public affairs professionals. Questions include 'Should gun laws be tightened?' and 'Should gays be able to adopt?'

The scam? When recipients fax back their answers, they're dialing a pricey 900 number.

If you get this far, however, you only have yourself to blame. Why? Let's just say that it doesn't take an eagle-eye to spot the clues that 21st Century Faxes might not be all it claims.

On the questionnaire the company claims to share its information with 'Dennis J. Haslert' (a.k.a., House speaker Dennis J. Hastert); 'Trend Loft' (Senate majority leader Trent Lott, perhaps); and 'the executive director of the Lambola Legal Defese Fund' (better known as the Lambda Legal Defense Fund).

Calls to the company indicate that they are still very much in business, suggesting that plenty of people have been happy to play along thus far.

Naturally, none of them were PRWeek readers, right? Right?

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