18 April 2008

Is my tattoo showing?

No really. It is, isn't it?

So you know how everyone says things come in threes? Heh.

1. A couple of weeks ago, a guy contacted me by email to inquire about purchasing my pins wholesale. He said he was in the UK and wanted to sell in his European shops. So I told him my terms and the total, and he said he would send a cashier's check. Okay then. He called the next day, which happened to be Saturday. He did not sound British. His accent was definitely a US accent, but still there are many ex-pats in the UK, so I just thought he was a little odd. Then came the email. He said he had had a client of his who owed him money send a cashier's check from Chicago for $[insert ridiculous amount of money] and I was to cash it and send the remainder to his secretary in Florida to purchase textiles. And I could keep an extra $50 for my troubles. Right. And did I tell you before that I am really a Nigerian princess in disguise? Of course, at that point, I knew it was a scam. But I received the check that very day. Thinking someone might be interested in trying to catch this guy, I played along and asked him what he wanted me to do with the excess money. He gave me instructions to send it via Western Union and then he sent the addresses of two Western Union outlets in my area. He was obviously prepared. So I called the FBI's internet division and told them the story. They didn't care. It was an amount under $50,000. It didn't matter that this guy was probably doing the same thing to dozens of other people. It didn't matter that I had a forged cashier's check in my hands, or that he had given me instructions. They just didn't give a hoot. So I called the bank on the cashier's check. They didn't care either. At this point, I took said check down to my local bank. I showed it to the manager and said it was of dubious origin. She took one look and said she thought it was fake. So she called the other bank. They were rude. They said unless they knew what branch the check was drawn on, they couldn't trace it. And then they said it wasn't their problem. So she called the processor named on the check. They didn't care either.

But really, it did set me straight about one thing. I no longer wonder how people get away with all of the scams that seem to be floating around these days. Truly. No one cares. Except for the victim.

2. Yesterday, a woman called from a "production company" and let me know that her company was putting together a "gift suite" for the MTV Awards. She thought my product would be great. Hunh?! All I had to do was give them at least 70 pins and be there to meet and greet all of the celebrities that are just waiting to put on their new...shawl pins. Hee. Because really, Beyoncé needs one, don'tcha think? ;)

3. Then there is the worst one. We have had the same web host for about 11 years now. We thought we had a great relationship with them and we steered tons of business to them. Well, it now seems that they have been systematically over-charging us. And probably many many others. Here's how they did it. When we signed up, hosting a website cost a lot more than it does now. And came with a lot less storage space. So we signed up for the package that gave us what we needed. Over the years, we have accumulated more websites, for a total of four with them. Also, over the years, unbeknownst to us, they lowered their prices to be more competitive. But they did it in a super sneaky way. Instead of lowering prices on their plans, they apparently increased the amount of storage and traffic that each plan includes. Several times. Without saying a word about it. (I love the Wayback Machine). So instead of letting people pay for what they use and reducing charges, they charged us for services we weren't using and didn't even know we had. Pretty clever, eh? I figure that just over the past three years, they have overcharged us more than $3,000 for something we have never even come close to using. When we were talking to the tech guy about reducing costs, the first thing he said was "why on Earth are you on this plan?!" He changed it all and guess how much our bill went down? $100 per month. Yeah. I am feeling a little sick. :P

On the lighter side, the Faroese Muir is progressing! I can never get over the fact that so much knitting can fit in so small a space:

Amazing, no? :)

Have a great weekend! And watch out for scams, ya hear?!



Blogger punkin said...

Wow. I am flabbergasted. After all the years I spent in banking, all that training about reporting scams. The bank doesn't care?! The FBI doesn't care?! Well, there it is, I guess. That explains a lot about how these creeps get away with their illegal activities.

I am sorry to hear about the overcharge. I hope there is a way to recover some of your money.

You don't have a tattoo. I think the rules of the game have changed.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Soo said...

Ooooh - those scams get my blood pressure rising. And the lack of response from people who should care is really frustrating. Grrrr....

12:27 AM  
Blogger judy said...

When that scam type comes in the mail, I take it to the PO and they seem concerned. Probably as far as the trash can based on your story. Disgusting!

4:12 AM  
Blogger Carole Knits said...

Wow. Those 3 stories are really terrible. And probably just a drop in the bucket to what's going on out there. I am glad you got the web hosting bill reduced, though.

5:04 AM  
Blogger jennsquared said...

Wow. I'm very surprised that the banks and FBI don't care about the scam! No wonder there are so many people doing this that are getting away with it! How sad.

5:37 AM  
Blogger FairyGodKnitter said...

Don't they know that knitter's spend most of their time solving problems and will figure this all out eventually? Geez.

6:07 AM  
Anonymous beth said...

SO surprised to hear the bank wasnt interested! I work in a bank's Financial Inteeligence Unit and we follow thru on ALL of these types of occurrences. We DO NOT want our customers to get burned - and i am surprised how often it happens! You should call the Corporate Headquarters of the branch and ask to talk to the AML OFFICER (Anti-Money Laundering) OFficer- every big bank has one, they will be interested.
Sorry you've had such an ODD week!
take care-beth

7:36 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Romi, owning a photography studio, we get a lot of scams similar to your first one. Most are of the "wedding abroad - we'll fly you here" and the same check nonsense. Contrary to your experience, the banks and FBI HAVE been interested and asked for the materials to be sent to them. I'm shocked that you had this experience.

And nope...no sign of that tattoo!

7:51 AM  
Blogger Gudrun Johnston said...

Wow what an eventful time you've been having....I just don't answer my phone anymore!!

7:54 AM  
Blogger Yarnhog said...

I love the picture.

You seem to be one somebody's list. Do you suppose there is a "scam" list, the way there is a "telemarketer" list? Oh, wait. Not much difference, is there?

I'm glad you're not gullible enough to fall for it, but just think about all the people who are.

I'm surprised the bank wasn't interested. Usually, they're the ones you can count on to aggressively pursue scammers, since they're the ones who ultimately pay.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's just amazing that no one cared about the check scam!

12:09 PM  
Blogger lv2knit said...

It really makes you wonder -- with all of the [faux] concern about these scams you hear about in the news every day, why doesn't anyone get interested?? There is so much identity theft and the like, it makes you really get mad!

3:13 PM  
Anonymous AlisonH said...


10:02 PM  
Blogger NH Knitting Mama said...

WOW, I can't even begin to imagine the sick feeling in my stomach to know that the bank or FBI wouldn't care about such a thing. You're right. No wonder so many get away with so much.

10:09 AM  
Blogger ...Sarah said...

I bet they do it because for every person who realizes it is a scam, there are three or four who don't (maybe more).

4:44 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

So if ypu get ripped off for $45K the FBI is fine with that?? Sheesh, this country really is going to hell in a handbasket!

Imagine someone who isn't quite as smart as you....scary stuff!!

7:14 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Rosemary- It's fraud, but they all get away with it. And they target people on fixed incomes who are vulnerable.

So, will we be seeing Madonna wearing a shawl pin in her new video?

7:54 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

Wow, sorry to hear about all of that. It doesn't surprise me that the banks and everyone else didn't care - people are slackers!! That's why it doesn't matter how many controls and laws they put into place, if people don't care, they won't implement them.

9:22 AM  
Blogger the boogeyman's wife said...

i'm surprised at the bank's response. my husband works for a national bank, and he catches scams all the time. they run it to their scam line, even with relatively low dollar amounts ($2000 maybe). although i don't know if they actually can catch anyone. at least you were clearheaded enough to try and get some info on the guy.

it's surprising how many people do fall for that sort of trick. like, why would the guy trust you, a stranger, to send him back $5000 (or whatever)? really there's no logic to it, and it's very disappointing that the FBI has that minimum dollar amount - which i'm sure the scammers know and deliberately stay below.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised about the scams (I see them all the time) but I can't believe the bank people don't care about it! But I bet they would had they cashed it & given you the money...then they'd involve the feds to come & hunt you down. ugh

4:37 PM  
Blogger AnnF said...

It seems the only way to make them care, is to contact your local tv station. Because they hate to be caught not caring on tv.

7:16 PM  
Blogger . . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

No wonder our banks are in crisis.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

At least YOUR bank cared enough to do some calling. But maybe you should contact a tv station or newspaper office about doing a piece on your story. The "not caring" of both the FBI or the Bank should be shown to the public. Maybe next time they'll care. Maybe not ... it's what this world is coming to.

2:55 PM  

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