My tale of two Ellens


Yesterday I posted an entry here about a strange email message I had received from Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. It was a "scam alert" about phony phone calls seeking personal information. I tried to make two main points. The first was that on Gmail, the email bore the icon of a young woman who was not Rosenblum and was not otherwise identified, which did not inspire confidence in the state's crime-fighting tech capabilities. The second point, not really related, was that Rosenblum, who does not have a serious opponent in her current re-election campaign, has amassed almost a quarter of a million dollars in campaign cash and was still pitching for more.

As an opener, I tossed in some speculation that the timing of the email message may have been politically motivated, given that it's a week before the election and phone scams are as old as the hills.

Well!

Today Rosenblum herself wrote me to respond. She didn't address my main points, but she seemed a little steamed that I thought the email might have been timed to help her re-election. Here's what she wrote:

Hi Professor, 

I was made aware of a blog post that you published about the DOJ's Scam Alert Network.   By way of explanation, what you received was indeed a Scam Alert--this is a popular service, provided regularly to Oregonians as part of the Oregon Department of Justice's consumer protection outreach work. The network provides information about scams, frauds and other threats to consumers.  Ellen Klem is our longtime Director of Consumer Outreach at DOJ, and she manages our outreach efforts, which include Scam Alerts, like the one you received. The topics for scam alerts are based in part upon the number of calls DOJ gets to its consumer complaint hotline. The "Apple Scam" has recently resulted in a particularly large number of complaints. Most recently, other Scam Alerts have pertained to the wildfire recovery scams,  Covid "fake" cures and price gouging.

Professor Bogdanski, I am glad to know that you would never fall for a scam like this, but Oregonians (especially our most vulnerable populations, like seniors) get scammed out of millions of dollars each year by exactly this type of scam--and they also have their personal identity stolen and sold or otherwise misused if they engage with these scam callers. It can be even worse online through phishing scams when people click on links that result in identity theft and computer viruses.

My career lawyers and staff at the DOJ, like Ellen Klem, have no role in my re-election campaign. I think you owe her an apology for suggesting this Scam Alert was politically motivated. I can assure you-- it was not. 

Feel free to sign up for our Scam Alert program online at Oregonconsumer.gov

Thank you. Ellen Rosenblum 

P.S. If you have questions about our campaign, you can reach my campaign staff at campaign@ellenrosenblum.com.

And this time, there was no icon of any kind attached to her email on Gmail.

I don't know what to say. I certainly meant no offense to Ellen Klem personally. I didn't even know who she was. That was the point.

My wisecrack about the timing of the email was directed at whoever made the decision to broadcast it to the world (I got two copies) via email. Would that even be Klem? I would have thought someone higher up in the chain of command would have to approve that.

Anyway, it was kind of ridiculous for me to suggest that Rosenblum needs any help from her office in getting re-elected. As I say, there is no chance, zero, that she won't be re-elected by a landslide.

Which still makes me wonder what that nearly quarter of a million dollars in the bank is all about. 

Comments

  1. I still don't believe in our drone program but if we could find where these spam phone calls originate, I'm willing to make an exception.

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  2. All day long every day, selling you or phishing for information on your phone or your computer, or your I phone. Criminals and hucksters and even legitimate sales people can’t get in your face anymore, due to Covid 19, so “white collar” crime and “grifting” is up like crazy. It’s all part of the “new normal” so get used to it.

    Buy every piece of security software you can and use it and update it. When you get an email to update it or renew it make it the first thing you do, even before reading BoJack’s blog! You recall that the biggest lie used to be … (too dirty to put here) now it’s “I won’t sell your e-mail.” Yes, the brave new world of “spam” and “phishing,” which I’m old enough to remember as a meat in a tin can and trying to catch a fish (phish), but both terms have a new meaning now.

    It’s so pervasive, in six months I had one of my credit card issuers contact me twice informing me that both cards were being cancelled -- original card AND THE REPLACEMENT, since both had been “compromised.” I’m on card number 3, and wondering how they were “compromised” twice, even though I don’t use that card very much. (Unlike the average American I don’t carry $6,194 in credit card debt but instead pay it off each month, and still write checks sometimes, I know – I’m back in the “horse and buggy days,” but that’s what old guys do. But the bank won’t tell me what happened, so I just had to speculate.

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