|Image Courtesy: 3plea|
Last evening I met a lady who was scammed online. Please do read her story and Beware of such scams.
She posted an advertisement to sell furniture on one of the community sites here in Seattle. She got few responses to her advertisement, one of them asked for a contact number and spoke with her. He said he was interested to buy the furniture and requested to hold the furniture for him for three days as he was relocating from California over the weekend and asked for her address so he can come pick it up.
Within 3 days, the lady received a personal cheque by Express mail in her name she was shocked as the amount on it was for 875$, she had listed the furniture for 350$ only.
She tried to call him and see what that confusion was about the overpaid cheque. He explained to her that he had purchased some other furniture in Seattle area from someone else and he had to pay to the mover to pickup the furniture and asked her to credit the cheque and keep 350$ for her furniture and pay the remaining amount to the mover.
She didn’t credit the cheque for 2days, she checked with her friends and others to see if it was safe to do so. Everyone she spoke said it was okay.
Next day morning, that guy called her again and asked her to credit the cheque and pay to the movers as they won't come until they are paid for. So she deposited the cheque around 10am. He called again asking her to deposit the extra amount 525$ to the movers account through money gram. He emailed her the bank account and address of the movers. She got the transaction id and number.
The day passed by, nobody came to collect her furniture. The next day when she called money gram they said the money has been withdrawn. She got panicked and called the bank the cheque was drawn from and to her dismay, CITI National bank declared that its an fake bank account.
She realized that she has been scammed, she reported to the police immediately.
By the time she finished narrating the incident she had tears in her eyes she said "I have never cheated anyone in my entire life. I was already going through a difficult time and don't know how I fell victim to this scam. Its not just about the money 525$ that I lost, its the feeling of being cheated". She asked me to write about this incident so that no one else falls prey to this scam.
Overpaid cheque scam is not new in any sense but what keeps changing is the way these seamsters come up with new and innovative ideas. It really doesn’t matter if you are a buyer or a seller, scam artists keep fishing for new preys in any different way possible. Few of the other well-known common scams that you should be aware of Royal mail lottery or Royal Bank – You will receive an email or phone call from unidentifiable source stating that you have won a lottery of a very large amount and you have to act fast to claim your winnings. If you respond, after 2 or 3 emails you will be asked to pay certain amount to cover the expenses for handling, remittance charges from different country and all sorts of charges. The prime motive of an scam artist here is to extract any kind of money from you giving you false hopes of having won a lottery.
Online stores or other eCommerce sellers – If you are a seller who sells any products online or have sold anything online. Be careful with these spam emails which are floating around the web. Don’t be surprised if you receive an email stating that “Your item has been sold, Ship now” which will look exactly like the official emails you receive from your online stores whenever your item gets sold. Lot of people have been scammed this way by shipping the item out before even verifying whether or not you have really sold an item and whether or not you have received payment for it.
Fashion designer – You will meet these guys in shopping malls or any other public places. They will be well dressed, they will say they just finished attending a fashion show and they have a few sample pieces of new fashion line of clothes which they received during the show and its not their size and wanted to see if it will fit you since you look fashionable. In the nutshell, they will give you two pieces of merchandise as a gift if you buy just one overly priced item. They are really good at this, all the merchandise are knockoffs of some popular brands.
Here I leave you with few tips that I find are very helpful in keeping yourself safe from these scams.
Few tips to keep yourself and your valuable information safe
1) Never share your Personally Identifiable Information(PII) with strangers, be it on phone calls, emails, text or social networks.
2) Never send money to someone you don’t know or don't trust. Don’t agree to deposit a check and wire money back.
3) Check bank and credit card statements regularly. Shred all financial documents, don’t just thrash it.
4) If its too good to be true, it probably is.
Please share any of the scams you might be aware of.