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(This is from one of our posters. Please consider it, and other such approaches, carefully when operating on this board).
I’d like to think that I’m a person not easily fooled, but just recently I was fooled to the tune of $500 by an offer of U-M vs. MSU tickets, originating from a post on the Ticket Exchange Board.
The reason I’m telling you this embarrassing story is I don’t want it to happen to any of my fellow Wolverine fans. BELIEVE ME, I’d much rather suffer in private.
This is what occurred on the morning of July 21:
I received an email from a “gentleman” that said he had 8 tickets to the MSU game, and that he wanted me to respond and leave my phone number in order for him to contact me directly, which I did.
He then called me on my way home for lunch, told me of these tickets that he had, and asked if I was interested. The price was $125/ticket for 4 tickets. I asked for more tickets, but he said he had already sold the other set of 4. Looking back, I wonder why he didn’t try and get me for more money, but this may have been a way to ease my mind. He also stressed that he didn’t want me to sell these tickets if I wasn’t going to use them. Again, looking back this was probably just a method of easing my discomfort at buying tickets from someone I didn’t know. Believe me when I tell you that I thought from the beginning this might be a scam. I just thought I could protect myself from getting cheated. As you read more, you’ll find out I was wrong.
He told me that these tickets were originally from his late father who was a professor at U-M. They were very good tickets, and seemed reasonably placed for tickets of faculty. Once we had decided on a price that was agreeable to both of us, he set about telling me how he’d like to move forward. He asked me if I’d ever heard of a moneygram? I said no, I hadn’t. He said they were used to send money, but were secure. He asked me where I lived, and then found the nearest location that serviced moneygrams, which happened to be a Wal-mart. He told me that I could go there and that he would walk me through the steps on how to “deposit” the money, and how he would send me the tickets.
I was to go to Wal-mart with the cash, fill out the form, give Wal-mart the money, get a receipt with a reference code, and wait for the tickets via Fed Ex the next day. After verifying that I indeed did have the tickets, the driver would then put the receipt with the reference code needed to retrieve the money in a return envelop, which he would receive on its return, allowing him to get the cash. To help with the transaction, I was to put a ”Test Question” and “Test Answer” on the moneygram form, just in case there was any problem retrieving the money at his end (I’ll get to this later).
Sounded safe, since I wouldn’t be sending him the receipt with the reference code until after I saw the tickets, but just to make sure, while I was at Wal-mart and he was walking me through these steps I asked the “nice lady” beyond the service desk a question. I said, “Listen, I’m buying tickets from this gentleman, and I want to make sure he can’t cash this until I verify I have the tickets. He can’t cash this without the reference number, can he?” To which she replied, “No he can’t. He has to have that number to get the money.” I said, “Are you sure?”, and she said, “Yes”. I said thank you and proceeded to finalize the transaction and get my receipt.
At this point I think I’m safe. I have a receipt with a 9 digit reference number on it, something this “gentleman” couldn’t possibly know, and he wouldn’t know it until he received my return mail, after I had received the tickets. I proceed to walk out of Wal-mart, planning on returning to my office for the afternoon, but I got a bad feeling about what had just happened. Call it a really bad feeling if you will. I walked back into Wal-mart, just to be sure, and asked the lady behind the desk again, “I just want to be sure. He can’t get this money if he doesn’t have this reference number, correct?” She replies, “That’s correct.” At which time ANOTHER lady at the Wal-mart service desk says, “Well, unless he has a valid ID.”
At which point I say, “WHAT!!!!”
To make a long story just a bit shorter, we call and try to cancel the moneygram immediately, but within the 7 minutes it takes me to walk out of Walmart, walk back in and the time it takes for them to reach the people at Moneygram, the check has been cashed. It turns out you can cash those things, EVEN WITHOUT A VALID ID, if the person on the other end has the “Test Question” and “Test Answer”. We call a Manager over, and when I begin to tell her what has transpired, she interrupts me and says, “No sir. They can’t cash this unless they have the reference number.” At this point I put my head in my hands and tell her, “Oh yes they can.” Five minutes later and after reading the fine print of the moneygram, she agrees with me. (gee, thanks)
Now I know a few things:
1. I should have definitely got a valid phone number. He gave me a story about wanting to send the tickets out today, and being on the road, and he’d call me from the FedEx office, blah, blah, blah. Fact is I should have got it. No matter how safe I thought I was being. Hecould have given me the number to a pay phone, but that’s better than nothing I guess. He did end up giving me a number that he said was to his fax/phone at home, and it was a fax that picked up, but I’m sure it’s bogus.
2. I should only deal with people that I know on the board, or at least people that have a moniker. While not a perfect rule, it’s better than nothing.
3. I should only have dealt with a money sending system that I knew and trusted, like Money orders, Cashiers checks, Paypal, etc. Not having time to read the fine print came back and bit me in the backside, big time.
Well there it is. I’ve never before in my life been scammed for money, and I’ve dealt with people on-line for years. I just wanted to let you guys know what happened to me, because even though it’s VERY embarrassing, I’m hoping that my stupidity can at least help my Wolverine Brothers and Sisters avoid the same fate.
Posted on 7/22 11:15 AM | IP: Logged