Beware Who’s Who Schemes

I’ve been planning on doing this post for some time, but putting it off because it involved a lot of research. 

What tipped me over the line? The other day my husband got a solicitation from Cambridge Who’s Who.

“It is my pleasure,” the letter from Editor in Chief Jennifer A. Gonzalez begins, “to inform you that you are being considered for inclusion into [sic] the 2007/2008 Cambridge Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals “Honors Edition” of the Registry.” 

This is a major honor, Jen explains, because the Registry will include biographies of “our country’s most accomplished professionals,” many of whom regard inclusion as “the single highest mark of achievement.” There’s an application form that my husband can fill out and send back if he’s the snail mail type, or if he’s electronically inclined he can apply online. Just in case it occurs to him to wonder whether there’s a catch, Jen hastens to reassure him: “There is no cost to be included in the Registry.” 

My husband knows me (and Writer Beware), so the first words out of his mouth were “This is a scam, right?” Unfortunately, many people are much less suspicious. 

There are legitimate Who’s Who publishers that curate their listings and research the people they include. While they’d love it if you bought the book, that’s not the main reason for their existence. Cambridge and its ilk, on the other hand, are all about the hard sell. 

Similar to the vanity poetry anthologizers, Who’s Who schemes lure customers by presenting themselves as a no-cost opportunity, but make their money by persuading people to buy books and/or memberships–often at costs exceeding $1,000. They claim to be selective, but in reality they harvest names just as junk mailers or spammers do, randomly and without regard to credentials–which means that their networking value, often touted to justify the enormous membership or purchase fee, is negligible. 

The bigger ones attempt to tailor their solicitations–Rob is in insurance, so he got the Executives and Professionals letter. A woman might get an invitation to the Executive and Professional Women registry. There’s a solicitation for people in education. There’s one for scientists. There’s one for healthcare professionals. Here’s an especially disgusting one targeted to people with religious affiliations. 

The Who’s Who gambit is a long-running, recognized telephone sales scheme about which there are a sizeable number of warnings. There’s a dizzying number of different Whos–many of which, I would guess, are run by the same people, though they’re pretty good at making themselves seem separate. Here are just a few examples: 

Frequently, the Whos are short-lived. Doctors’ Who’s Who (erm) and Nationwide Who’s Who are now only Internet memories, but Google either of them and, as with the rest, you’ll see people who list them as a professional credential. Ditto for Enterprise Who’s Who–which suggests one reason for the schemes’ short shelf life in the complaints it has left behind. 

Back to Cambridge Who’s Who. It’s half of a two-headed hydra made up of Cambridge Who’s Who (which previously did business as Manchester Who’s Who and Empire Who’s Who) and Metropolitan Who’s Who. Cambridge and Metropolitan do business separately, and have different websites, URL registry information, and mailing addresses. But their logo designs and their solicitation letters are identical (compare Manchester-now-Cambridge’s letter with Metropolitan’s)–as are their hard-sell telephone tactics. 

People who answer the solicitations from Cambridge and Metropolitan report very similar experiences. (These links represent a fraction of the online discussions and complaints about Cambridge in particular.) A representative of the company phones them, congratulates them on the honor of their inclusion in the registry database, and conducts a lengthy interview, with many questions about careers, professional accomplishments, etc. 

Once the victim has been softened up by this process, the phone solicitor lowers the boom. The victim–who, remember, is under the impression from the initial solicitation letter that no costs are involved–is told that there are two levels of membership–a cheaper junior membership (currently close to $800) and a more expensive lifetime membership (currently nearly $1,000). This money, the victim is assured, isn’t for inclusion in the database; it’s for access to the database–which surely they’re going to want to have, since the registry is a fantastic networking opportunity. To sweeten the deal, there are extras–gift certificates, airline ticket vouchers, a handsome award certificate, a media kit. 

If the victim expresses doubt about the cost, the solicitor says something like “You know what? Because I really don’t want you to miss out on this fabulous opportunity, I’m going to offer you a lower rate! You’ll only have to pay what a charity organization pays!” More hard sell tactics ensue. If the victim continues to resist, the solicitor hangs up on him or her–just like those magazine-sales scams where the people rudely blow you off the instant they realize you aren’t going to fall for their line of bullshit. 

I’m sure it won’t surprise anyone to learn that Cambridge and one of its predecessors, Empire, have poor records with the Better Business Bureau. Empire’s BBB report shows 57 complaints over the past 36 months, most involving (surprise, surprise) selling and refund practices. Cambridge’s BBB report shows a stunning 150 complaints over the past 36 months, again involving selling and refund practices, and also billing and credit disputes. The bulk of the complaints–123 out of 150–have been made in the past 12 months. Metropolitan’s BBB report is currently being updated. When I viewed it in February (when I first began thinking about doing this post), it cited complaint patterns similar to Cambridge’s. Some of the content of that report is reproduced by blogger T.J. at his dogscatskidslife blog. 

Another thing Cambridge and Metropolitan share: a very poor reaction to criticism. The hydra really, really doesn’t like it when people say bad things about it. When the Southern Conservative blog featured a satirical post about a solicitation letter from Metropolitan Who’s Who, a threat of legal action quickly followed from one Cyndi Jeffers of Metropolitan (she also contacted people at the blogger’s job). Blogger Shawn Olsen, whose description of his experience with Manchester Who’s Who is linked in above, is being pursued by a lawyer hired by Manchester/Cambridge, who threatens a defamation lawsuit and demands $7 million in compensatory and punitive damages. These two bloggers appear not to be the only ones who’ve experienced this kind of harassment. 

If you hear from a Who–and don’t assume it will be one of those I’ve highlighted in this post, because I wouldn’t be surprised if Cambridge, at least, were thinking it might be time for a name change–don’t hesitate. Toss the letter straight into the recycling bin. That is, unless you want to make fun of it on your blog.

UPDATE 1/11/22: As the date on this post attests, it’s been a while since I heard anything about a Who’s Who solicitation. But you should still consider it an active “beware”, because today, I received one myself:

The submission URL leads to a “dangerous web page” warning, so it didn’t seem wise to explore further, but from what I can gather, Professional Who’s Who is part of a web of Whos associated with Marquis Who’s Who, which apparently was once at least somewhat legit but in 2015 or 2016 was bought out by Worldwide Branding, the company that owns Cambridge Who’s Who (the subject of this post). Professional Who’s Who isn’t included in Marquis’ listing of its many Who variants, but the logos tell the story:


  1. Apparently now the Editor in Chief is an "M. Foster"…

    It IS a very unfortunate thing that people get sucked into such scams.

    I don't do ANYTHING impressive for a living. I ain't exactly a Who's Who Cambridge! But nice try there buddy!

  2. Thank you for your research, they are still at it. I got my announcement yesterday. I am glad I had your comments ti fill in the missing gaps.

    Best wishes; Cindy

  3. Well a situation such as this. Is easy I love consumer issues like this one. Here in Oregon we have several laws pertaining to these kinds of scams.. From both the consumers and the Merchants POV.. the Merchant..
    When You Must Cancel an Order

    You must cancel an order and provide a prompt refund when:

    * the customer exercises any option to cancel before you ship the merchandise;
    * the customer does not respond to your first notice of a definite revised shipment date of 30 days or less and you have not shipped the merchandise or received the customer’s consent to a further delay by the definite revised shipment date;
    * the customer does not respond to your notice of a definite revised shipment date of more than 30 days (or your notice that you are unable to provide a definite revised shipment date) and you have not shipped the merchandise within 30 days of the original shipment date;
    * the customer consents to a definite delay and you have not shipped or obtained the customer’s consent to any additional delay by the shipment time the customer consented to;
    * you have not shipped or provided the required delay or renewed option notices on time; or
    * you determine that you will never be able to ship the merchandise.
    The consumer..
    Putting Cold Calls on Ice

    So just how did they get your number? Fraudulent telemarketers may get your phone number from a telephone directory, mailing list or "sucker" list. Sucker lists include names, addresses, phone numbers – even how much money you may have spent on telemarketing scams in the past. Unscrupulous promoters buy and sell sucker lists on the theory that consumers who have been deceived once are easy prey for additional scams.

    The FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule helps protect you from abusive and deceptive telephone sales practices. The Rule restricts calling times to the hours between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., and puts other limits on telemarketers, too. For example:

    * Telemarketers must tell you it's a sales call, the name of the seller and what they're selling before they make their pitch.
    * It's illegal for telemarketers to lie about their goods or services; earnings potential, profitability, risk, or liquidity of an investment; or the nature of a prize in a prize-promotion scheme.
    * Before you pay, telemarketers must tell you the total cost of the goods they're selling; any restrictions on getting or using them; and if a sale is final or non-refundable. In a prize promotion, they must tell you the odds of winning, that no purchase or payment is necessary to win, and any restrictions or conditions of receiving the prize.
    * It's illegal for a telemarketer to withdraw money from your checking account without your express, verifiable authorization.
    * Telemarketers cannot lie to get you to pay, no matter what method of payment you use.
    * You do not have to pay for credit repair, recovery room, or credit services until these services have been delivered.
    * It's illegal for a telemarketer to call you if you have asked not to be called.
    For more info visit us on the web at

  4. Thanks so much! I just got the letter informing me I'd been selected for inclusion. I knew some of these were scams, so I was going to just throw it away when I thought, "What if it is legit? It might be something to include on my resume." So I googled them and found your blog. Question answered. Letter appropriately filed. Thanks again!

  5. I am too embarrased to identify myself, but I just got ripped-off by Cambridge to the tune of 598.95 for a Platinum membership (which I did not want) then automatically they plan to charge me another $199, and of course all sales are final…….I can't believe this happened to me, I am too old to fall for this but it is true. I should have read your blog earlier……

  6. Received my letter today, and even went to the website created in my very own personal name to check it out. It was there that I began to get that feeling in the back of my mind that something wasn't right, and jumped over to another window to Google "Cambridge Who's Who". Upon immediately seeing all of the information pop-up against them I knew I was being conned. Thank you so much for putting this out here for the rest of us to access!

    Now am wondering if they are tracking the website and will contact me even though I didn't enter any information in. Actually, I am kind of hoping for it just so I can keep the person tied up on the phone for an hour or so (going for the record) and prevent them from being able to con someone else during that time!

    Thanks again!!

  7. I received my letter today. I am skeptical by nature when it comes to this kind of thing. Especially since I just graduated and moved to this city 8 months ago and now I have been "appointed to represent the city" among Executive and Professional Women?? Come on, give me a little bit of credit. While I will admit to being slightly flattered to begin with, sensibility immediately kicked in so I did a Google search. Lo and behold I found this blog. Thank you so much. It only saddens me to know that this has been going on for so long and no one is doing anything about it. This letter is going straight into the shredder. I don't have time to deal with harrassing phone calls or annoying people who want me to part with my money!!

  8. Totally turned it around on these guys. I wrote them a nice letter, explaining that "As I'm sure you are well aware, as a person of great stature and importance to society I receive many such offers. Adding my name will certainly give your publication great notoriety and elevate it well above the many similar offerings.

    As such, I have established a fee structure for incorporation of my name in your registry. For a one time fee of $5000 my name can be listed for a period of one year. For $20,000 you may gain the rights to list my name on a lifetime basis.

    There is also the possibility of having an exclusive listing. Please contact me if you have significant resources and have an interest in pursuing this possibility.

    The process works as follows: once I receive your payment and the funds have been well established, a cursory check of your business listing in the Better Business Bureau will be conducted. Shortly after that, I will provide you with the listing information.

    Best Regards,"

    Never heard from them again, so I guess they aren't interested!

  9. Thanks for all the info. Just got my letter and I was all excited! Figured the catch was coming soon.

  10. Thnks So much for the insightful blog. I recieved this letter today. Although it was very flattering. I just completed my internship and will be graduating in a few weeks and thought something doesn't smell right… So I Googled it, and sure enough it was a load of crap. Thanks again so much!!!

    – Miss C.P.

  11. And still in June-09 this scam continues! Can't believe Cambridge Who's Who is still kicking on.

    Thanks for the warnings.

  12. Just got my letter today. Am inherently suspicious of anything that says "REPLY NECESSARY" in all caps at the top — oh yeah? Or you'll do WHAT?

    And then at the bottom is the odd phrase, "Cambridge Who's Who is *proudly* (my emphasis) not associated or affiliated with any other Who's Who Publication [sic] or Organization [sic]" — okay then. Proud of that, are you? Well, yippee-kai-yay for you.

    Was going to tear it up anyway but decided to Google it just for grins, and found your great post. Thanks! Most informative!

  13. I just got off the phone with these people. I knew they where going to ask for money. At first they offered my two choices, one was for lifetime for like $800 and the other was for 5-years for $600. They also included the companion ticket. I told the scammer I would like to think about it because it's a lot of money!

    So she said she had a 3-year membership, I said I'd like to think about it. She continued with a 2-year and then a 1-year membership. I finally just said "NO" instead of the "I'd like to think about it" no. Then she said congratulations, thank you you for your time, and that is all.

    I'm glad I didn't fall for their scam. If it didn't cost so much money, I probably would have because I failed to follow my own rule: Always check online for shady offers.

    I'm surprised these scams still exist even after 2 years.

    Cambridge Who's Who is a scam!

  14. I just finished one of the lengthy conversations. And she was all nice and caring and saying all the righ words and then she tells me that the membership costs 800 and then other one that was a little cheaper. I told her that I have my student loans to pay off and she said oh of course will give you the membership for $99.00 for a year. I told her no I needed to talk to my husband and she says for $99 oh okay we will just list you in the book. This is such a scam and was such a waist of my time.

  15. Wow I just can't believe this. I just got the letter like two hours ago and when I read it I was confused. So of course, I decided to go to the Website that had my name on it and when I saw the Welcome screen I was atonished!!!then I saw the appication and it hit me. I never give any one my information on line or over the phone unless I know who they are. Since I don't know who the heck is Who's who" I went on goggle first and found you guys. I was not gonna go thru with it but I got really curious to know WHO again this people were,but I siriously never though in a million years to find all this information. This is so hillarious to me but at the same time I feel comple to express my sympathies to the affected victims. I really hope that this people can be stopped one way or another. because of people like them humanity fade each day more and more and people find themselves no trusting anything or anyone in this life which sometimes may cause a lost of real opportunities.

    Thanks again for this blog and good luck to everyone!!

  16. Just got this letter in the mail. When I googled it, this blog came up and I want to thank you for spreading the word! Very kind of you…


  18. I cant believe this. I just hung up the phone from some lady named Lucille. Cambridge Whos who. Last week I received a letter in the mail stating I was honored to represent Miami Beach professional women. I was so excited. I told everyone I knew about this great thing that happened to me. I also placed it on my resume. They called me a few days ago and left a message on my voice mail. Today they called and reached me. She had me on the phone for at least 45 min. I told her from the start,"If this is about money I don't have it". She stated no and interviewed me. After the interview she through membership dues at me. I couldn't express enough that I was not paying anything. She let me hang up with the thought in my head that I was still be honored and if I have a change of heart to call her back. I decided to Google Cambridge whos who to see what information I can get about them. I found your Blog. How can they do that to people. Made my hopes go up high . Made me look like a fool . Thank you for doing this research. I had a feeling about them but didn't want to believe.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I just received one of their letters today and I thought I'd look it up before submitting any info.

    The B.B.B. (Better Business Bureaus) has all of their websites and names.

    Cambridge Who's Who
    Emipre Who's Who
    Empire Executive & Professional Registry, Inc.
    Empire Who's Who
    Manchester Who's Who

    Thank you,

  20. I filled out my Cambridge return card in the name of "Phuc A. Yu" with a bogus address but with real phone numbers….to a prominent law firm in a major city to whom I doubt they wish to speak. I'm glad to have cost them postage AND wasted their time.

  21. Oh man (imagine whiny obnoxious voice) just when I thought I’d finally been recognized for working in a low paying job, for a tyranical incompetent boss, all to support my writing habit, I had to read this blog!

    I got my Executive and Professional Women’s nod from Cambridge today. I then quickly fashioned my resignation letter, sure that fame was mine. What a rotten Monday. Almost as rotten as the time Gilbralter Who’s Who wanted to recognize me as an International Executive before I’d even been out of the country.

    Next you’ll be telling me that editors don’t really sit in a room and debate how great my manuscript is and they aren’t deeply emotionally torn by having to send me a rejection letter!

  22. i just received a letter from Cambridge… i drew a penis on the business reply. i hope it gives the reciever a paper cut and they get gangrene and have to amputate.

  23. Thanks a million. I was about to respond to this honor mail and read your posting and zillions of comments from other folks and you all saved my money in this tough economy!

    I will be watching this blog and if people want to get together and send these guys to jail, I will be more than happy to join the revolution.

    Beware scammers, stop here or get nailed.

  24. To the scum that obviously works for either Madison Who’s Who or Cambridge Who’s Who.

    Madoff was in business far longer than 12 years scamming people. Do you think if a scam goes on long enough it become legit? Guess what? We are all on to your scam and its a matter of time before the companies are closed and the owners are put in prison

  25. thank you for this warning. I just got a letter in the mail this afternoon. I can’t believe it’s still going on 2 years later…


    If you paid them with credit card- and it was recently, you can very easily get your money back.

    Simply call them up on the phone and DEMAND a REFUND. If they say no, tell them if they dont, you are going to call your credit card company up and do a “CHARGE BACK” . (be sure to use that word- “charge back”) If you say them words they will assuse you know how the system works, and 50% of the time they will go ahead and credit your money back.

    If they still say they wont refund you, dont waste any more of ur time with them. Hang up then call your credit card company and tell them you want to dispute the charge because they are fraud.

    Some people dont realize how nice credit card comapnies are about stuff like this.

    Credit card “charge backs” do have time limits though. Some credit cards have a 30 day limit, meaning in order to do a charge back the transaction had to occur within the past 30 days. Most credit card companies however do 60 or 90 days. My credit card that I use has a 6 month grace period on all charge backs. Thats the best because especially on ebay, if you have any problems within that 6 month period you can make a phone call and get your money back.

    This does not apply to bank or debit cards though- charge backs only apply to credit cards.

  27. haha I was thinking the same- was going to send the blank post card back to them. But im having second thoughts.

    Im thinking about filling it out with all my info on it, then when they call me I may turn the tables on them.

    I will go through the interview process, I will talk lots about myself, and make it very lenghty. Once she throws her sales pitch at me ill throw it right back at her by telling her I know what they do down there and im not interested in any of her services. Just wanted to waste some of her time- then hang up on them.


  29. I just got this in the mail, “Cambridge Who’s Who”. I was not sure if it was a scam until I read the post on this site. Thanks so much for all your help. 🙂

  30. Thank you Victoria! I just received a letter. I was suspicious. I googled the organization and found your posting…thank you for taking the time to warn so many of us about this scam!

  31. I just received a letter today from the Cambridge Who’s Who, telling me I was recently appointed as a biographical candidate to represent my home town in the 2009/2010 online Cambridge Who’s Who Registry among Executive and Professional Women. First I am a stay at home mom, I am also in the Army National Guard. I am no professional and I have never heard of these people let alone filled out an application for anything like this! The name on my letter is M. Foster Editor in Chief, I saw other blogs with different names on it. I hope people don’t fall for this scam!

  32. wow, these sons of bitches are must think everyone is a “someone”, im a nineteen year old alcholic. why should i be honored, i dont even have a job right now. When i opened my letter i didnt know what it was, but apperently they already have a website made for me, and to be honest that pissed me off, i dont want my name in a website. Also they said that i was chosen to represnt my city, Temecula,ca, and to be honest im sure their are a plethora of people who are better suited. But anyway, i used the letter to light a cigar, and i gotta say, it even made the cigar taste bad. (I think that was a bad attempt at a joke), anyway anyone who gets a letter and actually calls and is pressured into buying something is really feeble, and even more so if they really are an executive or professional. But anyway, thats what americans are feeble sheep who’ll go against everything they been taught for something they have never heard of.
    Well thats all i gotta say on that.

    Oh and screw obama and his socialist agenda, i want michal savage for president

  33. I also got a phone call and mailings from Cambridge Who’s Who. I don’t know how they got my work address and direct phone number. They are sure persistant and manipulating, but nice enough so that you won’t get too mad at them.

    They even tried to call me on my home number repeatedly but never leave a message.

    Who’s Who is definitely a scamming franchise. They amount they charge is obscene considering they do not specialize in a particular industry and the people on their directory are completely useless and not the kind of people I would network or associate with.

    LinkedIn and Facebook is way more effective and efficient for networking and finding people, and best of all it is free.

    I hope the word spreads around, especially these days where everyone is networking like mad and will do anything to get a lead.

  34. I have just received a phone call from emerald who’s who. They have started from 899$/699$. While I show hesitation to pay money. The agent started to lower the amount 399$ two year then 199$ for one year. At last minute he tried 99$. As having similar marketing attempts, I do not decide such offers immediately. And after seen your page, I am sure that I did it right. Thanks for the blog for informing people.

  35. Hi, Thanks for your work!
    I’ve just hang up the phone with Sharon Block – Cambridge Who’s Who. Thank God I didn’t give them any money. I said that I needed to think about it and she tried to get something from me. I ended telling her that I would call her back.
    Is there a way to sue this people? I was thinking that we innocently add their name to our resumes (or cv’s) as a award and people might look at it and laugh. I almost added to my resume as indicated for Cambridge Who’s Who 2009-2010. Imagine if an HR from a Nestle saw my resume and laughed because I fell for the scam!

  36. Thanks for posting the information. I just received a Cambridge invitation and thanks to you it is now where it belongs, in the trash!

    Thanks again

  37. The story goes further. I emailed Elizabeth to tell her about the 3 charges, at the email address she gave me and it was returned “undeliverable.” Later, there was a message from her on my voice mail that possibly I had not yet activated my card (that I just canceled). Apparently, they attempted to charge it again.

  38. oh my goodness- THANK you for posting this… I got called by these guys and what you descibed was exactly what happened! Came time for my credit card and I said I wanted to do research- she said as long as she had my “word” that I would pay the next day, she’d go ahead and process my application… good hell, sure enough, I google it and here you go. THANK YOU for people like you.

  39. That charges to your card which they reported to you as declined is the worst “charge” I have read on this site. How lucky that this forum exists.

  40. I was just contacted and sold on this by Elizabeth George, a very nice sounding lady. I went for the “platinum” membership and charged it to my credit card. Shortly thereafter, Elizabeth called and told me the card had been declined. I called the fraud dept and was told that 3 charges had been made by Cambridge Whos Who: 798.95, 398.95 and 118.95. I then googled “complaints” and found this site. Thank God! Needless to say, I declined the membership and canceled the credit card. Thanks for this blog!

  41. Thank you so much for posting this. I received my phone call today and was deeply upset to find out that they wasted my valuable time. I explained that I did not have a credit card currently on me, the caller asked me to walk around and see if i can locate an old receipt with the number on it. That was enough for me.

  42. Wow. And it’s still going strong. I got my letter from Cambridge this morning informing me that my candidacy had been approved as of April 15, 2009 for the online version of Cambridge Who’s Who Registry Among Executive and Professional Women.

    I’m not a professional anything. Thanks for the thorough investigation and report on this scam. After googling and finding your blog on the first page, I feel confident in my own ability to spot a scam a mile away! Thanks again for confirming my suspicions.

  43. Seriously, this is great information. I love the WWW, since you can really get info on all these scamming companies. I almost fell for the Cambridge scam until I realized that no one at work would put forth the effort to nominate anyone else for something like this. I am glad I came across this.

    Now, if someone would have equally warned me about apartment rental scams…I wouldn’t be out $2,500. Tsk…Tsk…Tsk…


  44. I really want to say thank you for the helpful info. I recieved my letter from Cambridge today. It was so obviously a scam that I actually started to laugh reading it.It says, “Cambridge Who’s who among Executive and Professional women.” Now what is so funny about that is that since graduating in 2001, as my personal choice, I have been a stay-at-home mom. I have never been a professional at anything outside my home. Again, Thank you for shining a spotlight on just how deep this scam runs.

  45. I sure wish I’d seen this sooner! I just decided to google Cambridge Who’s Who – I guess I’m a lot more gullible than most of your readers! I just checked, and the charge just cleared my credit card on 4/10/09. I don’t suppose there’s anything I can do about it at this point. At least I had him down from his first quote of $700 for a lifetime membership to $99.95 (which showed up as $118.95 on the credit card website). I told him “No” several times in the course of the conversation, and almost hung up at one point, but unfortunately I kept going. I’m glad you posted this – just wish I’d seen it sooner!

  46. I recieved a postcard as well. Went through the whole interview and everything. Then, came the whole membership package thing. I actually transferred money over to pay my credit card to pay for this thing. But, I told her that I would have wait until I got paid the next day. Meanwhile, I search Cambridge online. After reading all of this, I reported my card stolen before she could even charge it. I called and left word that the card wasn’t going to work if they swiped it. The chick called back and left word on my answering machine, oh we can work something out. Give me a call back. Never called her back. After reading, I was starting to feel bad because I almost got caught in this mess. They go after a lot of people.

  47. I have been dodging these calls for months. Today I answered. Word for word you are right on. If I said I picked my nose for a living; I am sure she would have told me it was a great accomplishment. How can anyone sell this garbage? If I want to see myself in print, all I need do is enter MySpace, Facebook, or EBay and it doesn’t cost a dime. Signed: Not born yesterday

  48. I’m so glad you posted this! I had an “invitation” from Cambridge hanging around my office for weeks, and this evening I actually went online and started filling out the app. I stopped in the middle and thought to myself, ‘You know, I’d better look further into this first.’ Good thing I did! Thanks for the tip!

  49. An organisation calling itself whohub recently contacted me via my blogspot.


    Hi, BuffySquirrel

    We are contacting you because we have seen references about your work online.

    We would like to include you in our directory of interviews with creative professionals and artists.

    We invite you to take part in this interview. It is free.
    You will also be able to include any web links to samples of your work on the internet.

    To start the interview just go to this web address and start responding to questions:

    Here, you can find some examples from other professionals:

    Elsa Wide

    Whohub is a directory of interviews with professionals in the fields of communication, arts, technology, and marketing.


    Squirrels are naturally suspicious. So I wrote back and asked them where they had seen my work referenced. So far, no reply.

    Any thoughts, WB?

  50. Thank you for writing this, I had received a letter from Madison Who’s Who for my business (with myself as the only employee and a total of 10 clients, HA!) About a month later got a call. After reading your blog, I went through the checklist with the guy on he phone…
    $800 lifetime
    $600 5 years
    SPECIAL DEAL normally only for charitable ogranization.
    2 free plane tickets and a plaque! WOW!!!
    How stupid do they think we are? We are a better business because we do research and stay away from money blowing schemes such as this!!!

    Great article!!!

  51. Just got off the phone with a Cambridge Who’s Who rep. Everything happened the same way everyone else is speaking of. Platinum or Gold membership, and a companion airline voucher. After I said no a few times the price went down to $100. I told him that I still wanted to do some research and that is when he got mad.

    Thanks for the blog!

  52. Loved the story, Tara! I wish I’d looked up Cambridge before they called me this morning so that I could have messed with them too. It’s called karma adjustment. Fortunately, I didn’t give them anything. Any reputable company will send you information on membership fees/awards/benefits in writing if you ask for it. If they hem and haw at such a request, something is fishy! Thanks for the post and info.

  53. Thanks, I got one of these in the mail the other day.

    I’ve gotten invitations from the legit Who’s Who in the past but the disclaimer at the bottom of this letter tipped me off: “Cambridge Who’s Who is proudly not associated or affiliated with any other Who’s Who Publication or Organization.”

    Thank you for the post. The letter is now residing somewhere in the recycling plant.

  54. Thank you so much for the information. It will definitely go in the trash. Figured it was a scheme of some sort!

  55. Thanks so much for this post. I got one of these in the mail, and I am like you friend that does trust anything. I knew something was wrong because I don’t even work now. I retired and I am finishng my degree, and they claimed I was in a professional who’s who, PLEASE!

  56. THe AG’s really needs to investigate this company. As a former employee, I can personally attest to the unethical and probably illegal actions perpetuated by Randy Narod, the “real” president toward the employees there. Unfortunately it is the employees who put themselves at risk in following the illegal actions, as demanded by Narod.

  57. As of today (3/12/2009) the scam of Cambridge Who’s Who is still going. I got the same tactics, pressure, promises, tickets for two etc. Luckily, I caught their scam on time and called my credit card company. It is the biggest scam I have seen, STAY AWAY from those BASTARDS!

  58. I know this is probably a tad childish, but if I have a few idle moments on a public computer, there is nothing more I like to to than fill in their online application forms (from their website, not the ones that link from your email) with utter rubbish.
    I’m never insulting, and I probably waste more of my time than theirs, but for some reason it does make me feel a warm glow of satisfaction of annoying them, even if it’s only for a nanosecond.

  59. Small update: 1) They stated they would be pulling my call records and would play the call back to me if necessary to prove their side. 2) They never called me back. 3) I placed a dispute with Amex over the weekend. 4) Today I looked again at the paperwork that was originally sent to me: it clearly stated NO COST which I totally forgot when they called me back. So, in essence they TRICKED me by not even offering me the “no cost” plan/option.

    I really hope AMEX agrees to reverse the charges.

  60. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I received one of these and I just about filled out the form. I decided to do a little research before I went further. Thank God I did! I appreciate you writing this to save the rest of us from a scam.

  61. I recently fell victim to these people, mainly because I was interested in the networkinf aspect of the listing. Now that I have read over and over that it is not really exclusive I changed my mind. I called them less than 24 hours after giving them all my info. They said it goes to be personalized immediately. I told them that I did not care and that if they did not stop the charge I would dispute it. I work for a company that sells things and if we tried to tell our clients that they could not change their mind on an order after we worked for hours putting their order together we would be crucified!! I will post again once I have my resolution to the issue.

  62. I was just working for one of these Who’s Who. It is a scam and also a boiler room. They actually got mad at me when I put the phone down for a second to file something; “The phone must stay at your ear, and you must keep dialing for dollars.” 99% of the people out there hang up immediately, mainly because they know of the scam or don’t like to be solicited – especially people in the US. So they attack Bermuda, Barbados, etc… Where people, to me, seem to be a little ignorant. They all seem to use the same type of scripts and aggressive tactics. They will include anyone in their registry; it’s all about the dollar. I worked there 1 week, and was actually fired when I couldn’t make it into work one day because of car problems: but, I really don’t think they liked me too much, even after I made a $1900 sale. I asked too many questions; such as, how many members are there? Why do you say that you have been in business over 6 years when your domain name was created in Sept. 2006? If I am an independent contractor, why am I not treated as one?
    Anyway, I knew there was something wrong the first day when I couldn’t take home the script to practice it; and also the owner got real worried when he saw me copying something down off the sales board. It was just the office #. Only one salesman has been there a year; all others have quit in a short time – probably because they knew it was a scam or didn’t like to be pushed so hard on the phones. In such a bad economy, why are they having so much trouble finding employees? They also charge the persons credit card before you get off the phone with the sucker — I mean customer — to make sure the card clears. On the plaque they say is signed by the general mgr. of the company; just some office girl; they charge $159 for it; must cost $15 to make.

    Basically, it’s a boiler room; so don’t take it out on the “Senior Editor” who is calling you. It’s just some kid who has probably been scammed himself to do the job and make 300 calls a day. The real thief is the owner who has been opening who’s whos since 1992.
    I am surprised the authorities don’t catch up to this guy. He sells lifetime memberships to people for a company has a very short life.

  63. I just received a letter in the mail from Cambridge Who’s Who letting me know that I’ve been as a biographical candidate in the 2009/2010 online Cambridge Who’s Who Registry among Executives and Professionals.

    It tells me that on February 18, 2009, my candidacy was approved! It’s that amazing, considering I never applied to be in the registry in the first place.

    It then lets me know they’ve set up a personal Web site for me! There’s no way I’m going anywhere near that site, lest my computer be subjected to spyware or worse.

    I wonder what would happen if I sent this letter back to the address it originated from with the word “SCAM” written in black marker all over it?

  64. Am a regular British guy who’s not had an amazingly spectacular career. I do like to follow current affairs and subscribe to the International Herald Tribune newspaper. Out of the blue arrives this letter from Cambridge Who’s Who and I had no doubt why. When an American lady from the organisation rang me, I mentioned that I’ve hardly done anything worthwhile. I told her I’ve been in my current post for less than 11 months and because I subscribe to a specialist newspaper am often put into a sterotype as a highflying businessman in my 50s (of which I am neither). She said they have a whole panel that reviews each candidacy. Rubbish. I told her that they can’t be doing a very good job! Thought I was being humble – now realise I avoided falling for their scam.

  65. Thanks on the Who Who’s Scam I ran it by my boss b/c I know I should not be in this and she told me to google it and came across your blog.

  66. They shouldn’t be called a scam. They should be called scum. It is sickening to hear that these folks are still up to their old tricks. I got a letter from them a couple of years ago (I think it was Manchester’s), sent in the postcard, and went through the whole detestable phone call thing. It was one of the most memorable and disgusting experiences of my life. I complained all over the internet, in fact if you search for complaints mine is one of the first that comes up! And just the other day, I got another letter from Biltmore! Talk about “doing some research.” No one should feel bad about being taken in by these people. They are smooth, they are sly, they can take any level of personal accomplishment you provide them with and make you feel good about yourself, and then make you feel horrible by berating you and eventually hanging up. I wish I could think of a punishment bad enough for them. Should I send in the postcard, get them to call me, and try and keep them on the phone for hours? I don’t think I could handle it without giving them a piece of my mind. Thank you for keeping this scum in the public eye – hopefully we can work together to drive them out of business!

  67. Thanks for this post! You just saved me a lot of hassle from Cambridge Who’s Who. I’ve been included in some legitimate Who’s Who Directories before, but had not done anything spectacular recently that would have earned such recognition – made me wonder enough to Google this thing before responding, and I found you. Thank you thank you thank you!

  68. Thanks for this very helpful post.

    I got a letter from Cambridge Who’s Who a couple of weeks ago, which began ‘Dear Ms X, you were recently proposed as a biographical candidate to represent [county] in the 2009/2010 online Cambridge Who’s Who Registry among Executives and Professionals.’ (Nothing about women, maybe they’ve dropped that part, for UK targets anyway.)

    Two things made alarm bells ring. First, the letter was sent to my home address, not my business address. Second, they didn’t use my professional title of ‘Dr’. I got my PhD back in 2006, and I use the title in my professional life as it is relevant to my work as a researcher. So I decided to Google them before doing anything else – and I’m very glad I did.

    I am a hobby writer and have recently had some success in selling short stories to women’s magazines. I use my home address for correspondence related to this, and I use the title ‘Ms’. I wonder if that’s how they got my details.

  69. Thank you for saving me frustration of having to deal with the Carmbridge Who’s Who. I am a Realtor and receive their Professional Women bla bla bla letter and they were calling my home and cell as well. I assume the got those numbers from my Real Estate advertisments. I have yet to return their calls due to skepisism. So again thank you for sacing me thetime it would take to listen to the scumbags.

  70. thanks for this info!! i just got a letter from Cambridge for the women’s who’s who… and i thought i might check it out before giving them any info.
    i got bugged about buying a book from a company years ago that supposedly used a picture i had taken in their book. i don’t want to go through the annoyance of that again.
    thanks again!

  71. Received a letter from Biltmore Who’s Who, postage paid envelope to Coral Springs, Florida yesterday. Same scam, just changed their name.
    BEWARE. Will return envelope with junk stuck inside and a note “Scammers Beware!”

  72. Great Post. Just received my letter – Like Ros I thought it had scam written all over it but googled it just in case – top of the list was your post.


  73. Like a lot of women in the IT profession, I have worked very hard for many years to gain a decent level of success, and have continued to update my skills with both vocational and academic qualifications, so it wasn’t completely out of the question to receive the effusively flattering invitation this morning from M Foster, for a biographical inclusion in the Cambridge Who’s Who listing. They mis-spelt my name, however, and the url they included for me to check my details doesn’t exist. Hmmm. No reflected glories there, then!!
    😉 Thanks for your well-researched blog. I thought it probably was a scam but vanity is such a pernicious trait that I might just have succumbed, if I hadn’t been so damn’ cynical …..

  74. Thanks very much for the lowdown on this scam. I received my invitation yesterday and was immediately suspicious.

  75. Thank you for saving me time and effort – I can safely throw this in the round filing cabinet (the bin) without thinking I was missing out on something important!
    Great Idea on sending back the mailer someone!

  76. Thanks for this. My 13 year old daughter got a mailshot from Cambridge, so I reckoned that it was a scam, but this served to prove it.

  77. So, I just got the mailer stating that I had been chosen by Cambridge in my town (that I moved to less than 3 months ago!) among professional and executive women. I’m a stay-at-home mom and haven’t worked outside the home since before I got married 8 and a half years ago. Thank goodness I’m the suspicious type when it comes to things like this!

  78. I just recieved one of the “Who’s Who” letters from Cambridge. I am soooo glad I fould you blog!!! I am not a professional so I thought it a bit odd that a bartender be recognized.

    Thank you for your work in researching this.

  79. Unbelievable! Got a letter in the mail today. The scam is still going strong two years after the original blog. I figured it was a scam, but wanted to make sure.


  80. Madison Who’s Who, buys the books from other Whos who and calls their members. When a new CC is issued they simply change the expiration date, not the number. MWW knows this and will guess the expiration date by trial and error. If you want your $$ back call your CC company and tell them your card was stolen by Madison Who’s Who, since it was anyway. Tell them you never heard of the company and never authorized any charges. It is a long painful battle. If they send you something DO NOT ACCEPT it. W/o a deliver confirmation and w/o a signature they have no chance of beating you.

  81. Your link on the Better Business Bureau information on Madison Who’s Who is a dead link, do you know if BBB has any other info on Madison?

    I was nominated to Marquis Who’s Who and shortly thereafter received a call from someone at Madison’s Who’s Who and failed to realize that they were not affiliated (my bad). It made me wonder if Madison has an insider at Marquis. The Madison rep had the hard sell trying to sell everything up to airline tickets. I agreed just to get the one year membership but have been charged for their book twice, which I never received. I hoped that when my credit card expiration date was changed that they would stop charging me but to no avail. I figure I can’t get my money back since I have waited too long but at least I can stop them from charging my account anymore. What measures have others taken?

  82. I just got a letter from them too. I have made it a habit of checking on this kind of stuff. I am glad you are here to shine the light of truth on these nefarious dealings. Just for fun, send the pre-paid mailer reply back to them blank. They have to pay the postage on it and if they are deluged by a lot of these it may just put a nick in their income and let them know that people are wising up.

  83. this company seems to have droped to a new low, i found a charge from cambridge on my credit card, and i have NEVER talked to them.i googled them found this among many other complaints and promply called the fraud dept at BofA. there is no way they can come up with a recording of my voice as i have never talked to them!!
    Guess they wil have to close this company soon and open a new one….

  84. I received the invitation to accept an appointment as a biographical candidate to represent my town in the Cambridge Who’s Who Registry among Executives and Professionals. I guess I’m gullible enough to fall for their flattery (they actually set up a URL with my name in it to “verify” my biological information — of which they had only my name) but, luckily, I suffer from low self-esteem, so I knew that it had to be a mistake.

    Thanks for the confirmation that it is the scam it appears to be.

  85. I feel like the winner in this situation. I managed to keep that “account director” on the phone for nearly 2 hours and didn’t buy anything. I also worked her down to $66 before cutting her off. Definately a scam.

  86. I received a Cambridge solicitation at work today. I hadn’t hear of them, but even with a legitimate W-W I would never make a purchase. To me that just demonstrates vanity. I was contemplating becoming registered, but now that I know their reputation, I would consider it an EMBARRASSMENT to be listed with Cambridge.

    A similar scheme among technical professions, although I’ve never seen solicitations, only advertising, is the vanity “inventors’ registration service”. In the unlikely event they come across an invention of any value, it probably gives away some of the inventor’s rights of ownership.

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