On fake events and invitations… oh yes, they exist!

I got word from a couple of blogger friends that there was a bogus event invitation that circulated recently. I myself didn’t get a copy, but one of them was kind enough to share the “e-vite” with me. Quite a number of people confirmed to the “event” and come Saturday, May 31, they were surprised to find that there was NO event. The restaurant which it was supposed to take place in, Brasas, was just as clueless. So what happened was, bloggers went to Brasas only to find out that they had been duped.

Fake invitations and fake events

Okay, take a close look at this e-vite. See anything wrong? Let me enumerate everything that’s wrong with it:

  • The first line says “We invite you to the…” — who’s we? Normally, the PR agency or the brand/establishment would put its name there instead of a generic “We”… so again, who’s we?
  • What was it they were inviting people to? “Lifestyle Meets Technology Bloggers Exclusive Product Launch Event The Very First in the Philippines”… I don’t know about you but that made totally NO SENSE to me. Personally, I want to know what exactly it is I’ll be devoting my time and effort to because what if this product was an e-cigarette and I’m a non-smoker? Even if they give me crates of it for free they would be useless to me. Provided it was a real event, I would’ve wasted my time, energy, and gasoline for something that I don’t want or need. Worse yet, I would have attended an event promoting something I’m completely against — smoking!
  • It said “RSVP to this email to confirm attendance”. A legitimate brand/establishment/PR agency would normally have a specific person in charge of RSVPs and the e-vite would normally include his/her name, e-mail address, and cellphone number so that they don’t miss any confirmations. This is to ensure that they get an accurate head count.
  • “Games, raffle prizes, and all attendees will be given complimentary items including the product.” This sentence is so grammatically unsound that I don’t think any legit PR agency, brand, or establishment would have come up with it. If we’re getting technical, the grammatically sound version would be “There will be games, raffle prizes, complimentary items, and product samples for all attendees.”. Sorry, I just have a hard time taking a badly written invitation seriously.
  • While there are “surprise events” which are designed to reveal something during the event itself, there’s usually some sort of clue or logo from the company who’s introducing it. You can even usually guess or have an idea what it is. This e-vite is FAR TOO VAGUE to be real.

Fake invitations and fake events

So anyway, the “e-vite” was accompanied by an e-mail from a certain Martina Neo who used the e-mail address martinaneohaubrich@yahoo.com. Martina Neo claims to be a “PR Specialist” from a company called Haubrich Communications. More alarm bells really:

  • I find it weird that this Haubrich Communications has no company info, normally legit companies would also have their address and contact number indicated in the e-mail.
  • Look at the grammar again. “We would like to invite you to an exclusive product launch of a very first in the Philippines”… it’s just badly written and vague.
  • The second paragraph says the launch is happening “while we are connected to our HQ country” — where pray tell is that? For a person who wants people to attend her event she sure is not giving any information. The mere thought of attending this event scares me because I don’t know what’s happening and I don’t know the person and/or the company inviting me.
  • Legit PR/brand people do not normally use yahoo as their business e-mail. There are a few exceptions but it’s not the norm.
  • Whenever I get an invitation from a company I’ve never heard of I always google it. Yes, I’ve been doing that since the first time I was invited back in 2009. And so I googled Haubrich Communications.
Fake invitations and fake events

Look at the results I got. Suffice to say, it’s a clear indication that no such company exists. Let’s not even talk about Martina Neo. Yes, I go as far as googling the name of the person who invited me and I usually find either a Facebook page or a LinkedIn profile, most of the time both.

Now this is an example of a legitimate event invitation I got recently. To add, I personally know the people I have to RSVP to. See the difference?

Fellow bloggers (actually not just bloggers because this kind of malicious and deceitful practice can be done to anyone), please exercise due diligence for your own safety and protection. There are too many bad elements these days and instead of raising our pitchforks trying to “catch” the culprit, let us be thankful that nothing bad happened to those who went to Brasas that day. I mean, in this day and age of Dugu Dugu Gangs and other scams, it could have been a lot worse.

I hope this is helpful! Stay safe everyone!

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