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Chain letter scam making the rounds in Hermiston

Al Musella's Comments: (This is his personal views and are not necessarily the views of the Musella Foundation!)


Posted on: 11/19/2004

Chain letter scam making the rounds in Hermiston

HERMISTON -- A chain letter typed on the letterhead of a local charity and sent to prominent Hermiston businesses this week, asks residents to help with a phony cause.

According to the letter typed on Hermiston Good Samaritan Center letterhead, the last wish of a 7-year-old boy stricken with a brain tumor is to collect enough business cards to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation is listed as the group facilitating the business-card drive for little Craig Sheppard -- but officials at the foundation say they have never heard of Craig Sheppard, or his unusual deathbed request.

Tessa Wardzinski, marketing manger for the Phoenix, Ariz.-based charity, called the letter "a new version" of an old red herring.

"The name changes, the disease changes," but it's a familiar story line, Wardzinski said, adding that the Make-A-Wish Foundation does not solicit through chain letters.

Mysty Boyd, Hermiston Good Samaritan Center office manager, said she received the unsigned letter from Clatsop Retirement Village in Astoria.

Moved by the appeal of a dying boy, she retyped the letter on official stationary and shot off 20 copies to area businesses. Besides the heart-wrenching nature of the appeal, Boyd decided to forward the letter because, unlike other chain letters, it did not ask for money.

Good Shepherd Health Care System received the letter, and hospital spokesman Rick Rice did his own sleuthing and concluded the distressing case of the young Sheppard was dubious at best.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation has received so many inquiries about similar letters that it devotes a page on its Web site to debunking them.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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