The Scam

I alluded to a scam in an earlier post.  I guess it’s time to elucidate.

On Monday I stopped for Gas on my way home from work.  I don’t like it, but sometimes it just has to be done.  My card was denied, and I had to use another one (I have a whole deck of them, but I don’t let that get me into trouble…)

I needed contact lens solution or something and stopped at Walgreens.  My card was denied again (I just had to try it, of course).

I called Chase to get the scoop.  It seems that someone made about 20 online UPS purchases in the space of 10 minutes or so.  It turns out that someone used my card, my old home address, and my work phone number to mail — overnight — fake cashier’s checks for $2000-$3000.  The checks were from some James Carrick.  I should also point out that my Discover card was misused in the distant past — and they called me.

On Wednesday I started getting phone calls at the office.  “What’s this check for?”.  “The bank says this check is no good – what gives?”, etc.  I got one call from a Private Investigator — “I got this envelope and I’m afraid to open it – what’s in it?”  I replied “I don’t know – probably a bad check”.  He then confessed “Actually, I did open it.  Who is James Carrick and what is this payment for?”.  Suspicious fellow.  I think he disconnected his phone number the next day.  One recipient thought it was supposed to be payment for a “driving job” he got on craigslist.  Another fellow thought it was payment for “modeling work.”  I asked if he got the work on Craigslist.  He said no, it was another website; did I want to know what site?  Um, no thanks, probably.

One recipient refused delivery and the envelope was returned to sender — that’s me!.  I was able to retrieve the envelope from the family living in my old house.  It is a large cardboard mailer.  Inside is a cachier’s check and a tiny slip of paper with instructions – “Kindly check your emails for instructions.”  Apparently the scammer cannot affored full sheets of copy paper.  I think most of the envelope recipients didn’t even see the note.  I called all my victims back, and not one of them was sufficiently email savvy to produce an email for me, so I still don’t know what the instructions would be.  All of these scams involve keeping some of the money and forwarding some of it to someone else.  After your payment is gone, the check bounces and you are out some dough and feeling foolish.  Apparently dog breeders are having a hard time with this one.

I took this opportunity to change all my financial user names and passwords.   I know I should do that regularly, but somehow it just doesn’t seem urgent.  Usually.

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