Free Energy: Is It Always a Scam?

Free energy, dream vacations and more:
Internet ScamBusters #45

We think you’ll find this month’s issue particularly interesting.

Internet ScamBusters Snippets

Beware of Energy Scams

Is free energy too good to be true? Yes.

TechTV News reported today on one company that is supposedly offering free lifetime energy — but TechTV says instead, people are being taken for hundreds of dollars. The inventor claims he has invented a revolutionary generator that makes free energy and promises, on his website, a lifetime of free electricity.

According to TechTV, the inventor has faced criminal or civil charges in at least five states, including Washington. Visit for more info.

News: FBI Arrests 62 Net Scammers for Scams Totaling $117 million

62 people were arrested or pleaded guilty to scamming more than 56,000 consumers of $117 million, with individual losses ranging from $50 to $5,000.

11 Tips to Avoid Being Scammed When You Book Your Dream Vacation

CyberCrime offers some excellent advice so you don’t get taken when you use the Web to make your travel plans. Visit for more info.

Audri’s “Favorite” Urban Legend of the Month

Audri got her Ph.D. at Stanford, so she had naturally heard the story that Stanford University was founded after Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford were rebuffed when they attempted to donate a building to Harvard. This story was considered part of the Stanford lore.

However, it’s just an urban legend. Here it is:

The President of Harvard made a mistake by prejudging people and it cost him dearly.

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without an appointment into the president’s outer office.

The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn’t even deserve to be in Cambridge. She frowned. “We want to see the president,” the man said softly. “He’ll be busy all day,” the secretary snapped. “We’ll wait,” the lady replied.

For hours, the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn’t. And the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted doing. “Maybe if they just see you for a few minutes, they’ll leave,” she told him. And he sighed in exasperation and nodded.

Someone of his importance obviously didn’t have the time to spend with them, but he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office. The president, stern-faced with dignity, strutted toward the couple.

The lady told him, “We had a son that attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. And my husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus.” The president wasn’t touched; he was shocked.

“Madam,” he said gruffly, “We can’t put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.”

“Oh, no,” the lady explained quickly, “We don’t want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard.”

The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, “A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical plant at Harvard.” For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. He could get rid of them now.

And the lady turned to her husband and said quietly, “Is that all it costs to start a University? Why don’t we just start our own?” Her husband nodded.

The president’s face wilted in confusion and bewilderment.

And Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California, where they established the University that bears their name, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about. …

For more details, visit: the Stanford University Web site.