It is NOT your replacement for Facebook!
In mid-March, 2011, a number of Masons received invitations to join a 'discussion website' at facelodge.com. Prior to this time, there were no announcements about this site nor did the invitation give any hint as to the creators of the site or their Masonic affiliation, if any. The site is designed, perhaps illegally, to look like Facebook™. The website's registration is 'hidden' through a private domain registration at GoDaddy.com. Because of the clandestine status of this site, we would discourage any regular/recognized Mason from getting involved. Despite my very active online presence, I didn't receive an invitation. But, no need to feel bad: they're gone and forgotten at this point. We wonder why....
'MUGGED IN LONDON' email
Perhaps not coincidentally, the day following those invitations being sent, I received - at two personal email addresses - a plea from a Brother Mason in Canada claiming to have been in London where he was mugged. The email, somewhat predictably, asked for cash. However, as this Brother was seriously ill at the time and such travel would have been completely impossible for him, I knew the message to be a scam.
Further, the email was nearly identical to one that another Mason had ostensibly sent this past summer, again claiming to be in London and needing cash. Needless to say, it was false also.
What has happened - in both cases - is that a Mason's email address book had been stolen.
Is it possible that the Canadian Mason signed into the facelodge.com website where his address book was electronically purloined? Perhaps.
Be forewarned that if you do receive an email from someone you know claiming to be in London (or anywhere unexpected) and needing you to send cash, it is a scam! If the situation were as it's presented in the email, why didn't your friend just phone you and talk to you personally? Don't fall for these scams, Brethren!
Contacting us directly
Shortly after noting our concerns on another website, we received the following e-mail which makes this appear EVEN MORE of a scam. The notes I've added in red explain why!
*** If you are not a regular Freemason, you have received this email by mistake, and you are not welcome to join Facelodge Masonic Private Network. If this is your situation, please delete this message, as you will not pass the account verification process. Thank you ***
Really? They have a database which can check
someone's membership in every Grand Lodge in the world to ensure that the only
people they allow in are "regular Freemasons"? And by which Grand Lodge's
standards? ANYONE even vaguely familiar with Masonic recognition understands
that not all Grand Lodges recognize all others. Further, why is this requirement
imposed in the first place? They are not a tyled lodge.... The person/persons
behind this endeavor seems to want to continue the obfuscation.
Yes, I did "claim" I hadn't been invited - but that was only a small part of my concerns and I noted that I personally would never join an online site of this type without knowing who was behind it. And as commented above, the ownership of the site is hidden and the 'look and feel' of Facebook appears to have been misappropriated. This 'personalized form' e-mail completely ignores all of these concerns!
Feel free to create your account, and invite other Br.·. of your Grand Lodge
if you are pleased.
"Come into my parlor..." said the spider to the fly. If the site is NOT a scam, why hide who the individuals are behind it? As one who is extremely active online, I'd advise any Mason to use caution before becoming involved. Just 'trying it out' could result in a virus being placed on your computer, personal records being stolen, and more. Their invitation still seems awfully like a scam.
Once you create your account you will have a welcome friendship request from facelodge, and administrative account. Anithing <sic> you like to ask will be answeared. <sic>
Let's start with a few questions: WHO ARE YOU and why are you hiding your identity? Why so many grammatical and spelling errors? Why does someone have to join your site in order to have questions answered? Is this the way Freemasonry works in the real world? (Answer: NO! Only in the world of bogus/scam entities who take on the trappings of Freemasonry to attract the unwary!!!)
When someone is doing something right, they don't have any problems answering questions or explaining themselves, even if they've been 'off base' in their actions. Particularly when bogus pseudo-Masons, however, try to do things, they invariably become angry and defensive if they're questioned. What's more, they try to mislead through the use of 'tricks' which they think will not be noticed. Sadly, they're often correct in their assumptions and get away with a lot of things that - upon examination - no regular Mason would want to become involved with.
Such is the case with the person behind the Facelodge.com scam, it would seem. When a question was asked on the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts discussion forum about this, I replied expressing my opinion. Immediately thereafter, an unidentified person signed up to defend the site. Curiously, he claimed to be from "Washington, Washington". Make sense to you? No, not to anyone living in the US either. You can read the full exchange here.
On another Masonic forum, you can find a similar discussion. Read carefully and you'll note a couple of references to "Ed". That's me, folks. The phoniness of the site's claim to 'regularity' had been challenged and was, of course, met with predictable antagonism.
Had this been the work of a regular/recognized Mason, one would have expected to receive a full and frank explanation of what it was all about. There was/is no need to hide and to not disclose the parties behind the endeavor - unless, of course, it's not totally legitimate!
Thus we'll reiterate: this is NOT going to be what you think it is - and don't blame us if you wind up getting your address book or other personal information stolen as a result of your involvement.
Got more to add? Drop us a note (instructions are below: follow them, please) and we'll be happy to add your experiences here. Oh, and in this case, please do identify yourself and your lodge (with location) so we can confirm you're not just the same non-English speaking person trying to continue the scam!
Now, more than ever before....
coincidentally but likely not, a number of non-published internet email
addresses we established for 'throw-away' purposes have experienced a HUGE
influx of junk mail, much of it from similar sources. For want of a better
explanation, we trace it all to facelodge.com. Thanks, fools!
Created 6 August 2011 - but they were gone soon afterwards, another scheme to trap the unwary unmasked!
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