questionshow do you tell a friend they might be getting…

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Show them this? http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?s=4411a5019c8b2de09de3ed19f4bf9733&p=7998127&postcount=9
Doesn't seem like they've done a whole lot since the mid 80s other than print books. While they state they give away scholarships up to $15,000.00, it's extremely hard to find out just how much (or little) the individual scholarship awards actually were.

You can also tell them if they have indeed bought into this "achievement," they should expect their mailbox soon to be stuffed full of crap solicitations from similar outfits as well as every bit of marketing aimed at their kids. Snail mail solicitations can be tossed into the trash, but getting of the telemarketing lists is gonna be a royal PITA.

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It depends on how you define "scam". I've seen these books and my children have brought home paperwork to order the books but I don't think any parent is going to believe that having their child in this book is going to help them achieve future success. It's a vanity book.

If the book publishers are claiming that inclusion in the book will bring you fame and fortune, etc. that would be a scam. But if they're just trying to sell you a book then it's no different then spending money on any other book.

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their domain name is usaa-academy.com. united states achievement academy academy dot com is recognizing their kid for academic excellence. meh

the hack photoshop job of their building front is enough in and of itself to convince me to never pony up coin for this:

i'm just not seein' that in their google streetview:
http://goo.gl/maps/cnB8z

even if you don't tell your friends, at least you know who to go to when you have a trunkload of acai juice or ACN telephones to get rid of!

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Like this: "Uh... dude, you're getting scammed."

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Did they get the book they paid for? I would assume they did, hence the picture. If so, they have not been scammed.

Were they under the belief that this means jack squat? If so, then they have been scammed.

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On http://www.usaa-academy.com/uhbookpreview.html

it says "The USAA Yearbook is acclaimed by featured honorees as one of the highest honors they could ever hope to achieve."

If so, I feel pretty sorry for those "honorees"

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It would seem that it is too late now. But you could link to information about those types of schemes.

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Seems semi-legit. From what I understand from what @lavikinga posted, this may be more of a business than a non-profit organization.

There are two ways they make money off of you.

1) You get nominated.
2) They'll publish whatever you write on their book.
3) You "voluntarily" buy the book for whatever the price is.
4) The money goes towards the scholarships in which you have to pay a $6 fee to apply (say whut?).
4a) They also have a "store" in which you can buy membership cards and certificates which would supposedly look good on your job application or school. Who knows, it might just work.
5) Let's say you get accepted, they'll probably most likely keep an unknown share of the sums of all sales in their pockets.

That's just my hunch of what does place does.

I wouldn't mind using a google maps image of my business, as long as it doesn't look to bad. But why not use your own camera or something.

Plus I would've used a .org domain for being an "official whatever" rather than a .com.

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It's a vanity publication. All it takes to get in it is for you to pay money. They make it seem like an honor that's been bestowed upon you, because that's what will get you to pay them for the book. Nobody ever sees the book except for the people gullible enough to pay for a copy with their info in it.

As to whether you should tell them...no. Sounds like they are ecstatic that their son is in the book, and you telling them the truth would just ruin their fantasy. The time to tell them was before they fell for it hook, line and sinker. Seriously, how many more copies of the book can they buy? It's not like they're going to blow the family fortune on copies of the book. Just let them be proud of their son...that's more than worth the small amount of money that they're throwing away.

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thanks for all the replies folks. i've decided to just let it go for now. it doesn't sound like my friend is going to be ordering multiple books. if they do decide to order multiple books, i'll bring it up then.

@ohcheri: they don't say fame and fortune, but from the research i've done, they seem to tell people their kid is part of an "elite group" for being in this book.

@lavikinga: yeah, i saw that forum as well. the main thing is that they already bought and have the book. so, i'm thinking bringing it up at this point might not be the best idea.

@gmwhit: baby carl669 is doing great! he's still a runt. doc said he's in the 3rd percentile for weight, but she also said preemies can also take 1-1.5 yrs to "catch up". so for now, we're just letting him be his happy, wiggly self.

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let them enjoy their ignorance. They probably don't have much going for themselves anyway.

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Haha, I checked pinchecat's streetview. I'd say the building is definitely there. The Top corner of the building is visible and looks similar, but holy man, look at that shrubbery! They need to save some of that scholarship money and invest in a grounds keeper.

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Ask him for 20 bucks because you need to help pay for you grandma's surgery......

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@carl669: Don't have an answer for your question. Probably would say "Let It Be." Knew someone many years ago who 'bought' into that w/'The Best Upcoming Business Owners, blah, blah' (I made the name up, but it's a true story.) You pay, in essence, to get your name in the book. Who cares, really?

Did want to ask you how baby carl669 is doing. Hope all's well w/you and yours.

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I think I'm actually in one of these books... basically it's not really a scam, but it's also not a prestigious award or rigorous process to get listed. Pretty much it's a sole teacher's recognition printed on paper.

Here's what happens... teacher goes on there submits name of students she wants to recognize for outstanding work in her class / subject, etc.

Then they just send the students (usually through the teacher) a letter congratulating them for their hard work and ask if they would like to have their name published in the yearly national publication of all students "honored" you can chose to not be listed, to be listed, or to be listed with a picture and short bio (for a fee), and also if you want to purchase the book as well.

That's really it... it's like an expensive "good work certificate" the book is like $50 something if I remember. Not worth it in my opinion. I never bought one. It was just something extra to put in the resume when I was applying to college... lol

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I don't know about a scam, but I don't like that they used the same name as my awesome bank: www.usaa.com

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There's another one that's been spamming me for several years to include me in a who's who in American Non-Profits. Ridiculous

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Why do you think this might be a scam?

Sincerely,

Sharon Peters, class of '69