Monday, November 17, 2008

The Big Scam, bastards almost got me!

to spare all of you with all of the details that make me out to be even more gullible than I, but make you all aware that it certainly could happen to you, the story goes like this...

September I am contacted by what appeared to be a nice young lady wanting to visit Morro Bay while on a break from her overseas university to learn about quilt making. I do teach quilting professionally, this this was not too absurd, especially due to the fact that I am not the average quilt maker. It was to be all so easy, her father, a high ranking military official contacted me to set up travel plans and payment arrangements. Still no problem. October came and went and she never showed up. Oh well guess it was a scam, but neither party gained anything, so maybe a practical joke played by one of my friends (however, none of them are clever enough to pull off something this elaborate with multiple email addresses, government officials and quilting) November, I get this email stating that the lady will be arriving in five day in just a few days, her exams had gone long (never heard of that before - fall break being delayed by five weeks) and the money, $1000.00, would be arriving to cover my fees. At this point I am pissed off that they think I can just drop what I am doing and accommodate this gals needs, but being that a grand sounds good, i figured I could work her in. On the day she was to arrive, the Money Orders did show up. Wow, I tore into the envelope air mailed from the US embassy, and found $4600.00 in money orders. Most tipping happens at the end of my events, so I became even more skeptical. I then received an email on the following stating that I had been accidentally shipped all the funds and I was to simply deposit all the money orders into my bank then send out the funds less my fees of course. The student to be was now stuck without her travel money so I needed to do wire the funds to two separate accounts overnight. RED FLAG! Fortunately for me I was always leery, so prior to cashing the total money orders, I asked the Bank, they said if I cashed or deposited the money order, the funds were my responsibility just like a check. If they were counterfeit, oh by the way they were counterfeit, I would have been out the money. If I would have sent the funds back, I would have really been out the money, Money orders take several days to clear the banks, but they will give you funds on demand. So, if you ever find yourselves in a situation where you were "overpaid" in money orders, never give a refund until you check the bank of origin of the money orders to make sure they are legit. As for me, all they got was a bunch of my time in correspondence, I understand that many have not been so lucky. Yes, it is their job to try to rip you off, so they may spend several months setting you up for the fall, if it feels weird it most likely is so be careful.