Postal authorities seize online financial pyramid cheques

As a result of tips from readers about an organisation called, I'm pleased to report, the US Postal Service recently seized the contents of PayLine's private mailbox in Florida.

As a result of tips from readers about an organisation called, I’m pleased to report, the US Postal Service recently seized the contents of PayLine’s private mailbox in Florida.

This will rescue the cheques worth thousands of dollars sent by innocent people for an unbelievably popular internet financial pyramid.

PayLine made incredible promises through its website and a sophisticated email marketing campaign. First, you’d pay $US200. Then you’d sign up two other members. After that, you’d get a pro rata share of 50% of all the money received from future members, to be divided among older members. In addition, you’d receive one free “travel mile” for every member who joined after you, whether or not you’d personally enrolled them. PayLine promised thousands of miles of free airline tickets.

Nearly 300,000 internet users had “preregistered” by email as of the last time I checked a digital counter at the site, which I believe to be accurate. I discovered PayLine actually has its headquarters in St Kitts and Nevis, Caribbean island havens for money-laundering. And the web outfit’s financial promises were mathematically impossible. That didn’t stop an unknown number of preregistrants from taking the next step and actually sending in their $US200. Fortunately, some of those people will get their money back now.

Linda Walker, public information officer for the Postal Inspection Service, said in an interview that postal authorities had mailed a notice to PayLine officials requesting proper identification.

“They have not responded, and we’re still holding their mail,” Walker says. Brian Booth, PayLine’s director of affiliate relations, confirmed the postal action but says that PayLine was in compliance with all state laws. I’d like to thank the readers who alerted me to this organisation and InfoWorld for printing my opinion of it. I believe that we computer professionals need to look up from our keyboards periodically and evaluate the ethics of things we see happening on the net.

Create a virtual CD drive

Windows programs sometimes require a particular CD-ROM to be in a specific CD drive. Reader Anthony Cimorelli describes a workaround for this kind of behaviour in Windows 2000.

Step 1. Create a hard disk folder with a name such as C:\VirtualCD.

Step 2. Copy your CD (or the needed portion) into this folder.

Step 3. Right-click the folder, then click “Sharing”. Share the folder using a name such as VirtualCD.

Step 4. In Windows Explorer, pull down the Tools menu, then click Map Network Drive. Select an unused drive letter, such as V, then browse to the VirtualCD folder and select it.

Step 5. Install the program from drive V or change the software’s references so they point to drive V. Cimorelli says this method works well for programs with a lot of CDs, such as Printmaster. As another example, one mapping program I’ve used has a huge database of streets on one CD, with bodies of water on a second CD. To include both streets and rivers on the same map, Cimorelli’s method allows you to assign one or both CDs to different drive letters, although they are merely different folders.

Here’s a use for those old disks

Speaking of CDs, I have written that some programs fail to create writeable CDs properly, resulting in a useless disk. Reader Steve Fleming says these CDs do have a practical use when starting his car. “They make terrific ice scrapers as long as the ice is not too thick,” he writes.

Send tips to Brian Livingston.

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