The Life of Bon: We got scammed, we got scammed, we got scammed scammed scammed.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

We got scammed, we got scammed, we got scammed scammed scammed.

I got scammed out of $1,100.  That is money I worked my butt off for and it is money I will never see again.  It happened in mid June and I wanted to write about it.  I wanted to let my blog feel how devastated I was, to share with strangers my story, to let my fingers heal the experience through the writing of it.

But I couldn't.  I don't know why, but I can't write well when I am highly emotional.  I have to be in a calm state of mind.  To some extent I have to detach myself from the experience to be able to write about it.  The first time I mentioned my dad's death on this blog was two years after he died.  It took me that long to be emotionally ready to write about it.

That is why I haven't written yet about how I got scammed.  I decided to give it a couple weeks before I was ready.  Then a couple more.  And maybe one more.

Now I feel ready.  Mostly I need some kind of closure on the experience- to tell it in its fullest and then move on forever from the experience.

There are two versions of this story and I'm not sure which one you want to hear so I will tell them both to you.

Version #1:  The short version-

I got scammed out of $1,100

Version #2: The long version-

In March, Greg and I decided to go to Hawaii with Greg's family.  His brother and wife would be moving out of state and it seemed like a good opportunity to gather us all together for some quality bonding time before they bailed on us.  I didn't want to get ripped off on some crappy hotel in Waikiki, and since I had lived in Hawaii before I figured I would take it upon myself to find us a place to stay.

There were three couples and no kids-  a condo would be perfect.  I googled "rent condo on Oahu" and went to some classic safe "rent a condo" sites like airbnb and homeaway.

I clicked on this link and thought the place looked nice- especially for $1,500 for the week.  That would only be about $500 a couple.  Score!




Looks, great, right?

So I pushed the little tab on airbnb.com that says "Contact me" to send a message to the owner.  I stated I was very interested, would like to know more, yada, yada, yada.

The next day I got an email in my personal inbox.  The owner stated the condo was available the week we were looking at but another family was also looking at it.  She also told me we would get a 30% discount since it was during the "off season" making the total $1,100.

"Freak, guys, I'm a genius!" I thought.  "I'm so good at this people should pay me to do it for them!  Less than $400 a couple to stay the week- yes I am amazing and people are lucky to know me!"  You know, normal stuff you think when you find a condo at a great deal.

I emailed back, said we would take it, and she said she would send us over a contract.  Her email looked super legit.  Just so you believe me how legit it was I'm going to copy and paste some of the details.

We have a special offer. The breakdown would be as follows:

$ 1,560.00 ( 7 nights )
$ 0.00 (Departure Cleaning Fee)
------------
$ 1,560.00 +
- 30% (Discount for special offer only)
------------
$ 1,092.00 (TOTAL/Tax included)

Cancellation 100% refundable 15 Days prior to arrival.

Rate is inclusive of:
- Hawaii tax
- Airport transfers, round trip (one time from and one time to airport)
- Wireless internet access (unlimited internet usage)
- Free Laundry service
- Daily housekeeping
- Car - Ford Galaxy (excludes petrol cost)

For this special offer payment of $ 1,092.00 must be completed within 7days (to secure
this booking).

If you would like to proceed I will just need your home address for the contract and I
will forward as e-mail attachment.

Airport Transfers:
Through popular demand we are offering Round trip airport transfers by our private driver
to pick-you up at the airport upon your arrival (he will be outside with a
sign that has your name on it) then check you in and bring up your bags and groceries. Upon your agreed
departure time, he will return to the villa, load up all your suitcases and bring you back
to the airport for your departure flight.

Check in & check out:
Check in time is 3 pm and check out 11 am (there is a flexibility  in case your plane
leaves or arrives at different times) to give the cleaning person a chance to properly
prepare the villa for my next guest.

Please let me know if you have any questions and how I can further assist you.

We look forward to being of service to you.

Kind regards,

Melissa Randy
Owner/Manager

She sent us over the contract with all the details.  I've never signed a contract for staying anywhere for a week, but I figured, whatevs.  Can't hurt.  The contract gave us all of her bank account info and stated that to reserve the condo we needed to wire the money over.

I realize now that this should have alerted me.  But I was innocent and naive and too trusting.  Anytime I've ever booked a place to stay, a flight, bought anything online I've always paid for a credit card or paypal so I should have known this was off.  I guess I just figured that since it was independently done and not by a big business they required the money just be sent directly over.

So that week I headed on down to Chase, my bank, and wired the money on over.  Not just my money, but my mother in law's money and my sister in law's money.  I took it all and sent it over and even paid the $40 fee to wire money internationally.

Yep.  She was having me send the money internationally.  Obviously this should have been my red flad number two.  Why was I sending the money to London?  But everything still seemed super legit.  The owner had signed a contract, there was a number to contact her, it was through airnbnb, a safe and trusted site.  I was fine.

So I sent that money on over, Greg at my side when we did it.  We smiled thinking about where that money was going- a condo for a week in Hawaii!  We were so lucky.

And that was it.  The money was sent in March along with the contract and we were good to go.

Three months later, Greg and I were getting ready to head out to Hawaii.  It was a Wednesday.  We were going to my cabin for a family reunion from Thursday to Saturday and then Saturday we were to drive to Boise (6 hour drive) where we would catch our flight to Hawaii on Sunday morning.  Who doesn't love summer and vacations and road trips and cabins?  Everything was great!

Tuesday night I sent an email to Melissa with our flight plans and asking if there was anything else we needed to take care of before we got there.

Wednesday morning I sat in my classroom at my new school.  I tried to be super productive and get everything taken care of before we left town for 10 days.  I organized books, tried to figure out the layout of my new classroom, and also looked for a place of silence for a few hours so I could answer emails, schedule blog posts, etc.

Ping.  From the corner of my eye I saw that I had gotten a new email.  I clicked over, my mind always happy for a distraction, to read this:

Hello,

I'm the manager of the resort.
Melissa is not available for the moment.

We want to inform you that the resort suffered a fire and is destroyed 70%.

The persons that was there, forgot something deteriorated plugged in and caused the fire.

I am sorry to announce you that the booking will be canceled and the money will come back in your account + the money that you paid for the fly tickets.

Please reply with the sum that you pay for the fly ticket and your bank account details so we can give you all your money back.


Thank you for your understanding.
Frank

Now I might have been stupid enough to wire money internationally to book a condo, but I was smart enough to realize that there was something majorly wrong with this email.  I emailed back right away, demanding to know why we were not alerted of this sooner, but in the back of my head I knew the money was gone, knew we were going to Hawaii in three days and had no place to stay, and knew I had been totally scammed.

I called Greg right away.  He thought I was playing a prank on him.  Because that sort of crazy, dramatic stuff doesn't happen in real life, right?

At that point I knew I wasn't going to get a thing done in my classroom, so I grabbed my stuff and headed home.  I didn't cry on the way home, just focused and concentrated on finding solutions.  I'd fix this. My mom was at the cabin already where she couldn't get service. I didn't feel like we could tell Greg's family yet because we had just totally lost all of their money. I was desperate for a responsible adult to talk to, someone to talk to me rationally, to calm me down, someone older and wiser who would know what to do in this situation.

I called my brother.  No answer.  I called my lawyer friend in Arizona.  No answer.  I tried my mom even though I knew she wouldn't answer.  A desperate attempt.

Once I got home, it took both Greg and I several minutes to start thinking rationally and calmly.  Panic mode sets in and it's hard to get your brain to act, you know?  I had emailed back "Melissa" about three times and received no response.  I knew I never would.  I called airbnb to report the scam and to see what they could do. They basically replied that they could do absolutely nothing as I was not a registered user of their site. They had no record of any of my correspondence with "Melissa".  Yes, because she emailed me at my personal email I told them.  We went in circles for close to an hour with no solution.  When it came down to it, the guy basically told me that they couldn't help me because everything was done off the site. They didn't even have a record of my first initial attempt to contact her within the site.  As far as they know I could be making the whole thing up so they couldn't help me.  I understand that if I don't have an account with them there isn't they can do to help me, but the fact of the matter is a scammer successfully used their site and information I gave on that site to get my money.  They didn't seem too concerned.  (I talked to them again this week- they won't even take the page down as they continue to claim it's legit...)

Next I called Chase to see if they could help me out.  I had transferred the money from my Chase account, after all.  (Looking back and realizing what happened, I am a little frustrated that the Chase banker helping me to transfer the money didn't warn me at all.  I was sending $1,100 internationally to reserve a week at a condo?  Shouldn't bankers of all people know that that is suspicious activity?)  Chase basically washed their hands of the matter, saying the money had been gone for months and there was nothing they could do.

"Can't you figure out whose bank account it went into and demand the money back?"
"No, ma'am.  Their bank will protect them."
"You didn't protect me!"
"Ma'am, I'm sorry.  We can't access someone else's account who doesn't bank with us.  Besides the account has probably been closed for months by now."
"So you're saying there's nothing you can do about it?"
"I'm sorry, ma'am."

I don't blame Chase, I suppose I am just confused.  Anyone I have told this story to with two bits of sense has replied, "Why did you transfer money directly?  Never do that!  Pay with a credit card or something that will protect you.  NEVER TRANSFER MONEY DIRECTLY FROM YOUR ACCOUNT!"  So why wouldn't a Chase employee have told me...?

I called the resort where the condo was supposedly located to ask if there had been a fire lately. Naturally, they said no.

I called the number on the contract for "Melissa."  I called internationally, not caring the extra fees, the extra numbers to dial.

Dead end. Dead end. Dead end.

And just like that, the truth dropped heavily into my lap.  In the back of my brain I had known for hours what had happened, but now my heart accepted it too.  Accepted that I would more than likely never see that money again, that I had been taken advantage of, that I had willingly given my money to a crook.  I buried my head in the bed and burst into tears.  I had been stoic up unto this point- not a tear, not a crack.  Now the walls came down and I let the emotions and the stress and the feeling of utter stupidity and failure wash over me completely.

"I'm so sorry, Greg.  I'm so so so sorry," I cried into the pillow. "I lost our money.  I lost our family's money."  He hugged me and put my hair behind my ear and told me that we would be fine.  But I couldn't help it.  I felt so defeated, so stupid, so naive. I felt like an idiot as I thought back to this post where I made fun of people who fall for scams. I was embarrassed to have lost his family's money, to have allowed them to put their trust in me when I clearly didn't know what I was doing.

I pulled myself together enough to face the immediate future.  We were leaving to Hawaii in three days and had no place to stay.  We surfed the web, found a couple of expensive rooms in Waikiki, paid with a credit card, and tried not to wince as we looked at the extra thousand plus dollars being added to our monthly credit statement.  It ain't no thing, right?

With that done we were free to leave the computers and the phones and get away from the madness for a minute.  We stepped out of the house and into the blazing hot afternoon, as if the heat were mocking our pain.  We drove to Maverick and bought a soda and drove aimlessly around town.  I don't know why the house felt so oppressive, so heavy, but we couldn't stay there.  We had nowhere else to go so we drove.

More than anything else I felt vulnerable.  Taken advantage of.  Scared.

"It's not a tragedy," Greg said as we drove.  "It's just money.  Money comes and goes and you can always make more money.  But we have the most important things in life that can't be replaced.  We have a happy marriage.  We have our health.  We have our families.  It's just money."

Yep.  Just money.

Still, it might make me feel a little better if you could all tell me all the money you've blown on scams and schemes.  Even if you haven't, maybe you could just make something up.



82 comments:

  1. I was scammed out of $400 of my hard earned money while I was graduate school and not working and I remember how awful and betrayed I felt. I completely relate to your experience and glad you put it into words. I feel like in my case, I was just a complete idiot while your story at least seemed legit! But in either case, the end result was that we were both scammed and it's a horrible, horrible feeling. I like to believe that people are innately good and it's so infuriating and heart breaking to see cruelty for no reason!

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  2. UGHH feel you pain girl!

    I just wrote a post at the beginning of the month titled "Feeling scammed!" and it involved moving companies and a cross-country move. My stuff did actually get moved but long story short (VERY LONG STORY SHORT) they quoted me one price, i paid the deposit at that price, and then when they showed up the price was more but there was nothing I could do because I needed to be out of my apt. Then I was waiting for my stuff in Florida (where I moved to, from NYC) and they didnt even deliver it when they said they would so I had driven down and then booked a flight back + missed my stuff. I still don't even know if they delivered all my stuff b/c my friends were the ones who had to let them in and they don't know what I had originally!

    it is the absolute worst worst worst feeling - that being taken advantage of and HOW COULD I BE SO STUPID! - but you live and you learn and it's true, it's just money, it could be much worse.

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  3. So sorry for your ordeal. :-( How terrible! It is just money, but it's such a pain to deal with! I hope you were still able to have fun on your vacation, regardless!

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  4. I've never been scammed out of money. But I did used to work at a credit union and whenever we wired large sums of money, we were required to ask the member if they knew the person they were transferring the money to and if they were sure it wasn't a scam. I'm surprised Chase doesn't do the same thing! I'm sorry you lost so much money. It's "just money," but it still sucks.

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  5. Oh man, I am so sorry. I know how that feels. Just after Dustin and I got married I was looking for a job and I found a listing on Craiglist for a nanny position that would pay $1600 a month. The "family" was supposedly moving to Utah from Texas and after "hiring" me asked me to help them get stuff for their apartment so it would be ready when they got here. So he sent me a check for $1100 to cover the cost of the stuff. Then a few days later he emailed me asking me to wire half of the money back because they had some unexpected expenses come up. Me, being stupid and naive wired it back right away (to a place in Florida, which should have been my red flag!). Lucky for me, my brother who was a criminal investigator for the military at the time heard about the situation from my parents and called me and told me to reverse the transfer immediately. So I did. The next day, I found out the check had bounced and I had to pay the fee for that. Had I not reversed the transfer, the sick jerk would have made off with EVERYTHING that was in my bank account. It's so scary when stuff like that happens. Once again, I'm SO unbelievably sorry you had to deal with that. :(

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    Replies
    1. This is EXACTLY what happened to me... only it was $2,000 dollars and my bank never caught it in time so he took every penny in my bank account. I cried for days.

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    2. What?? Why would YOU have to pay the fee for someone else's bounced check?? You didn't write the check, they did! That's crap.

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    3. Because banks only care about making money. It's disgusting. I went through 4 banks in my town, getting mad and outraged at situations such as this until I decided to bank at a credit union.

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  6. omg that is crazy. i'm sorry that happened to you - i can't even imagine!

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  7. When we were dating, my husband bought a plane ticket for his sister...that she didn't use. He was out $250, and this was a time when he was in college and had no money.

    This whole story makes me sick. I hope people take it to heart! I'm one of those super-suspicious people, but you rarely think that way "in the moment".

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  8. My mom bought Disneyland tickets on Craigslist. They were three day park hopper tickets, and she was paying for one day, essentially. He even sent her an extra ticket! We could invite our cousin! He offered her payment options of paypal and a prepaid visa card. Since she didn't have a paypal account and she was on her way to the grocery store anyway, she picked up a prepaid visa and sent him the numbers.

    Yeaaaaah, those tickets were already used (He sent us the PDF file with the bar code, but of course they had already been scanned days ago by someone else) My poor poor mom. And I felt horrible because the whole Disneyland idea was mine. And it was my sister's birthday and just two days before my brother's wedding. She had to pay full price for only Disneyland tickets and she cried for a while. It was really sad.

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    Replies
    1. Ooooh, that makes me so mad and I don't even know any of you! Your poor mama--what a sweetheart. Craigslist is basically evil... I mean, really.

      Daydreaming Realist

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  9. Oh no!! That is so horrible. And it sucks when you think it was a site that you can trust :(

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  10. oh, no, I'm so sorry this happened to you! It is just money, but it was YOUR money that you/your family *earned*. That crook should have to pay you back... ((hugs)) to you, mama. Stick with no "off the record" deals through the reputable site(s) from now on. Here's another hug for you about your dad xoxo.

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  11. gol, i'm so sorry to hear that. i hate liars.

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  12. Believe it or not, I know about 4 other people this exact scam has happened to!

    I'm so sorry!

    Carly
    www.lipglossandcrayons.com

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  13. I hate to make it worse or bring up more of how upset you are but if I were you I'd write a review about your experience I was tempted to write saying "since you had a fire here you should take the ad down." And the two reviews are fake I can't believe the site won't take this down.

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  14. Aw I'm sorry this happened. I recently was hunting for apartments/townhomes and 90% of the listings I came across were scams. I almost gave up :(

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    Replies
    1. I flagged it, just in case! :)

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  15. I completely understand what you must've felt. A couple of years ago, my dad booked an apartment for my brother to stay in when he went to live for a couple of months to Bristol (UK). The apartment was supposedly legit, as a friend of my brother had found it when looking for rentals.
    My dad spoke with the owner a few times, and he wired him the money for the rent after that. A couple of days before my brother had to leave, the man didn't answer his phone or emails. My father finally got him on the phone, but he just said that the money was gone and that there was no apartment, and my father called him all sorts of names in spanish. And that was that. 1000€ (approx.) lost and gone.

    I can also say that I've wired money to condos on other occasions, and I've had the good luck that I haven't been scammed. I can truly say that you can never know when something is legit, sometimes you have to believe in people's honesty.

    When these kind of things happen, I loose my faith in humankind.
    However, seeing how people unite and give each other love (like you and Greg), restore it. <3

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  16. Oh my gosh this is so horrible! I had such a heavy heart reading this! Ironically, my mom is the CEO of a bank in the northeast and I called her immediately to find out the craziness of this! Her bank doesn't even allow international wire transfers without both parties being present or having a representative present for this very reason! She said it, sadly, happens all the time with banking conglomerates like Chase. It's sickening. Another creepy factor is that the pictures you posted of the resort look exactly like the resort Dane and I live in. Was it, by chance, Ko Olina?

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  17. I know that this experience will probably scare you away from all sites like Airbnb in the future, but I really have had some lovely holiday stays booked through them. Wiring money to an international an overseas account is a pretty famous scam over here in England, so anytime the response mentions wiring money I immediately write it off. Once when I was flat hunting, I found the perfect one on an apartment hunting website- it was a great price for London, a good location for me. Really perfect. I even got shown around then apartment by the "owner" But then they started saying things like I needed to wire a deposit before they drew up the contract. No. Just no. It's awful how many people get away with doing things like this! xx

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  18. Ugh that's the absolute worst feeling in the world. I hate that for you guys, so much. Airbnb is usually wonderful (we've only had great experiences) but make sure you register with them and do everything through their site! Never wire money to anyone. If they don't have paypal, credit card capabilities, or let you pay in cash when you arrive...then keep looking. Those were all warnings a friend of mine gave when she learned the hard way and lost $5000 to a beach rental scammer a few years ago. Otherwise, I would have never known myself! I hate that so many scammers get away with this kinds of stuff. I can only imagine how frustrated and violated you must feel! Greg put things nicely into perspective...what a sweetheart! But still, hard earned money is sad to see go, especially in that way!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Casey,

      I was wondering what your friend did after she just got scammed. I just found out that I got scammed $3500 now. I don't know what to do. Did she go to the police? Did she get her money back?

      Olivia

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  19. My friends and I were scammed last year for a house we wanted to rent for St. Patrick's Day. Out of some amazing miracle, we got our money back, plus a little more, but I think that was only because it actually was a legit house to rent. The lady had just purposely overbooked the house that weekend. I only found out because I happened to google the house one afternoon. People suck sometimes.

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  20. This so is not fair. Sending huge hugs for you. x

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  21. ugh that i seriously so so awful! i feel like we were kinda scammed with our house. the sellers hid a defect with the plumbing (which we just had to have replaced for thousands of dollars). a lot of the little issues though are our fault for not realizing. so i blame myself a lot too. it just feels so so awful to be taken advantage of. but then i also try to remember - it's just money and i'd rather lose money than have a lot of other bad things happen. though i'd still be upset too!
    -- jackie @ jade and oak

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  22. We've been that person on the tv commercial who says "are we in ______ cause my credit card is." Right around when we paid for Mexico, and the stupid travel agent charged the wrong card, the card she was supposed to use got used at Nordstrom in Beverly Hills and then a hotel there too. I hope they had a fun trip and it sucks but we got it fixed.

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  23. I'm so sorry this happened to you. There are such awful people out there.

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  24. OUCH! My my heart and pocket hurt for you. This is so unbelievably upsetting. So sorry you had to go through that!

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  25. We lost our entire life (retirement) savings in a huge investment scam back in 2008-9. Kind of like Bernie Madoff, but not as famous. The investment itself existed, but the investment project manager took everyone's money and headed off to Belize or somewhere. I won't mention the amount because it's so high I just cringe. We almost lost our home, we lost one of our cars, and of course, our future security. The repercussions will go on for years.

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear that. I am on here because I just got scammed a very high amount just now on an apartment and I want to see how other people are coping with the fact. I just filed a police report. I will see what they can do.

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  26. Stupid scammers!!!!
    http://johced-ourjourneytoeverywhere.blogspot.com/
    xxx

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  27. Oh my gosh, this is heartbreaking. I'm so sorry this happened and know that this is the kind of lesson that only has to be learned once, even though it's a biggie:(

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  28. I forgot to say how sorry I am for this horrible thing that happened. It just made my cringe to read about it, and wonder at the absolute EVIL in people that they can hurt others this way.

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  29. My husband and I went to Provo's official bridal show when we were engaged. One stand was offering a drawing for a free Carnival cruise. Now, I'd been on Carnival cruises before and liked it, so we entered, saying, "What the Heck," along with countless other couples. We got an official looking envelope right before our wedding saying we won (we called our friends who had also entered--they hadn't received any call). Inside was official looking vouchers. We called and stayed on the phone for a while and they wanted us to put in a deposit. And all this other stuff with card info. We basically lost $500. Thankfully it wasn't anymore (and thankfully we had already booked our real honeymoon--we were gonna use this as a 1st year anniversary).
    Our Fairy Tale

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  30. Oh, this just makes my stomach hurt. The same thing happened to me, but it was for a car. I sent money through Western Union to Canada. Red flags everywhere, but I just wanted it to work out so badly. It seemed too good to be true, and it was. I just don't understand how people can live with themselves when they're doing this to people! It's horrible.

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  31. Damn.
    I lost $89 to LivingSocial this year and it bothered me for months! The LivingSocial merchant passed away and I obviously wasn't able to use the voucher. LivingSocial refunded the money to a closed bank account and then said it was gone but the bank never got the money... Neither side of the issue (LivingSocial or BB&T) would help me or offer to give me my money back. I even offered to just take a LivingSocial credit... nope.

    It was so frustrating because you work SO hard for your $$$ and don't want to see it disappear without getting anything in return. We are lucky to have men who can calm us down and remind us that "it's just money." But still. It sucks.

    I'm sorry this happened to you and I will keep this in mind. There are crazy people in the world and you can only hope it will all come back to bite them in the ass someday...

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  32. I'd have been devastated. Devastated. And I'm sure that you were. So sorry that some screwball did this to you. People really suck sometimes.

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  33. :( I'm so sorry this happened to you. And honestly, I can see that a lot of people in the same situation would do the same thing. Especially since it was through a legit site and the first email didn't have anything fishy except for the wiring. And if you haven't really wired money before, how do you even know what's legit or not??

    I think that what your husband told you is definitely true, even if it's hard to see and feel. I would hold on to this for a long time because I'm bad at letting things go, but I also know that a few years from now you hopefully will laugh. Or at least it won't sting as much. This world makes it hard to be trusting sometimes, but not letting go of the trust is huge. It makes us human and vulnerable and a lot more interesting. So you live and you learn, and you'll be more careful in situations like this, but don't think you are stupid or this is on you. I think LOTS of people would have done the same thing, myself included.

    I hope you got to enjoy Hawaii at least and the cloud of the whole thing wasn't too overwhelming. :)

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  34. There are sick people in this world! I'm so sorry for your loss :( and I can totally relate...

    A few months ago, my husband and I were trying to sell my macbook on craigslist. A guy messaged us about it and said he was very interested, and offered the full price! The only thing was he wanted to send it as a gift to his son who was studying abroad (a normal thing people do, right?). He gave us the address and said he would give us another $100 if we took care of the shipping for him. We agreed, but only AFTER he sent the money to us. The next day we received an email from PayPal saying the money was on its way over -- totally legit with the PayPal logo, links, and everything. I figured I'd have $1000 in my bank account within a few minutes, so I headed over to the post office and paid $89 to ship my computer internationally. The money never came. We waited another day... nothing. We contacted the guy and he said surely it would be there anytime. We waited a few more days and he stopped responding to our calls, emails, and texts. We called PayPal and they had no record of any interactions between my husband and the guy. They told us to look at the sender's email on the message we had received from "PayPal" to see if it was their actual email. It wasn't. The guy had created an email and named it "PayPal," copied and pasted their links and logos into it, and walked away with a free computer.

    Who knows, maybe our scammers can be friends in hell together!

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  35. That is such an awful pit feeling in your stomache to realize that someone took advantage of you...thank you for sharing this story though, it will make me be more vigilant, and hopefully stop many others from being scammed.~Brett

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  36. Oh my goodness Bon! I'm so sorry. It's sad that people have to resort to lying and stealing from people. I'm sure you felt so betrayed and embarrassed. But you totally meant well!

    Hope you're feeling better :)

    xo, Jessica

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  37. That is just awful!

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  38. Wise words from Greg, but still... it's money.... :P

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  39. Chase CAN and SHOULD do something about it. But they're a shit bank so I'm not surprised. Someone, somewhere, has a record of that bank account and the name and ID attached to it. It's bank fraud, even internationally (especially in England) and Chase can absolutely call them and report the crime. Definitely ride them to do this- you won't get your money back, but maybe you can keep them from hurting someone else in the future.

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  40. I am so sorry about the loss you and your family incurred and the emotional stress this has caused you all...especially you. You tried to do a good thing for everyone and were taken advantage of by the very institutions you believed should've been there to protect your rights...the victim's rights. I agree with Beth W. You need to push Chase even further into assisting you in this matter. It is a criminal matter and they should be doing something to help in either recovering your money and/or find the person and pressing criminal charges. You might have to take that website and report them to the BBB. I'm not sure how much they can help, but if you still have the correspondence between you and "Melissa", you can show this. There could be something much bigger going on. It's amazing how real some of those scams can be. Again, I'm so sorry for the situation you had to go through. Have peace in your heart and know that you didn't do anything wrong. You thought you were doing something nice for you, your husband and your family. Stuff happens and God never gives us problems that we can't handle. *hug*

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  41. When looking for homes in Provo/Orem last year I ran across this beautiful 2 bedroom Townhouse with dark wood floors. They sent me an email saying that they didn't like to put the address of the place up on Craigslist cause it had been broken in to, and asked if we could fill out a credit report along with addresses from our previous places to bring to the meet up. I filled out all my husbands information and waited patiently for a response email. After I didn't get one for a few hours I felt like something was up...so I went back to the email and pressed on the credit report link and it WASNT THERE. It had disappeared! I started freaking out cause they had my husbands social, credit card info, and pretty much all his life information. We called Wells Fargo and they were super helpful and let us know that if anyone tried to get into his account that there was a security measure put up. I totally felt embarrassed and naive too :/

    Here is another story that will probably make you feel better...someone called my Grandma and said that he was my cousin Andrew and that he was in a Canadian jail on the way to a wedding because his friends were drunk and asked if she could wire bail money and not tell his parents. Instead of calling my aunt and uncle like she should have, she drove down to Western Union and WIRED THE MONEY. On the way there she called my mom all hysterical asking if she could find the closest Western Union to her, my mom kept on asking what was wrong and my Grandma kept repeating that she couldn't tell my mom. My mom blew it off cause it was just a super weird incident. Then my Grandma called the Canadian jail and asked to speak to my "cousin" and they said they had no one by that name there. THEN she called Andrew's parents, my aunt and uncle. They were furious! My cousin Andrew was at BYU-I, and had never been to Canada before. Soooo my Grandma pretty much wired $1,200 to some stranger in Canada. Ya...kind of horrible, but kind of funny now that it's been a while since it happened :)

    I'm so sorry for your scam!! I hate stuff like that cause you feel like you've just been personally violated :/

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    1. Uh-oh. I also found a house on Craigslist that I was going to rent and they wanted me to fill out a credit report (which I did). I never got a response. I do hope it was legit (the site looked like it) but who knows! Fortunately I haven't had my identity stolen yet...

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  42. I am so sorry! This is awful, but it is just money. Although that doesnt stop you from wanting to poke out someones eyes with a hot poker. I bought a huge order of stuff for my sorority (with their money) from a LEGIT website. I got the email confirm used paypal, all safe. Then after a month of it not showing, the email i received was "oh i messed up putting it on a spreadsheet" okay, another few weeks, and the email response to my "please send this ASAP or give me my money back" was "i hope we can get it soon" WTH! needless to say, we never got our stuff, took us a YEAR to get the money back. most of us were graduated and all over the country. how embarrassing that i looked like a fool

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  43. I love that you shared this and I love Greg for his great perspective in such a crappy situation. But wow, what a frustrating and upsetting story. I'm so sorry this happened to you!!

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  44. Awww I'm so sorry that happened to you! How awful! :( Greg is awesome for being so kind, calm, and rational and focusing on what truly matters in life, high five to him! What did you tell the family as to why you all stayed somewhere else?? Wow!

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  45. Also, I cannot believe that booking website would keep their scam up like that!! Wtf! I know I'll never use that site to book anything ever!!

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  46. This is tragic! Your husband is totally right though - it's just money and it comes and goes.
    So sorry that happened to you!

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  47. I purchased a voucher on a local Groupon site that the Denver Post newspaper runs. It was for a flight and 2 night hotel stay in Vegas for 2 people and it was $300. I thought it was such a good deal and I was excited to go with a friend. She was going to pay half. Well when we went to book it there was a middle man site and they never responded until months later saying that the company on the other end doing the trips went bankrupt so sorry about you. I think they sold several 1000 of the vouchers including to my parents, my dad's coworkers etc because I had passed the link along. Major suck and embarrassing :(

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  48. Man. That's all I can say. It makes me SO mad. You feel bad enough losing your OWN money, but even worse losing someone else's (family members). Even though you still got to go on the trip, there was a cloud over it...that makes it even worse. It just seems like there should be some sort of legal ramifications!

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  49. Man. That's all I can say. It makes me SO mad. You feel bad enough losing your OWN money, but even worse losing someone else's (family members). Even though you still got to go on the trip, there was a cloud over it...that makes it even worse. It just seems like there should be some sort of legal ramifications!

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  50. I am so sorry! That is awful. I have never been scammed for my money, but there are so many people out there running scams that I will probably run into an issue at some point. I typically Google whatever the company name is followed by review. Multiple times after reading through the reviews I have realized that it was a scam!

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  51. Bon, I'm so sorry. That is horrible. I work at a bank, wires especially and we are told to be a little nosey and ask about the wire, that they know who they are sending it to and why so we can see if there are red flags. In my personal opinion Chase is partially responsible for it. No it's not easier to just place blame, but I am saying that it is part of our job when sending wires that we help customers not lose a penny to fraud. I am sooo sorry about it nonetheless. I am glad that you guys did end up having a good time in Hawaii.

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  52. Dear Bon, I am so sorry!! That's devastating, especially when you and your hubby are in such a transitory point in your life! Hey, I know you didn't have a great experience with a different travel agency but I worked for one over the summer. Boomerang Tours. Small company, just a couple travel agents and a secretary. Some of the best and hardest working people I've ever met. :) they don't even charge extra then you would pay for on your trip, just commission. That's my spiel. :) boomerang tours.com if you ever wanna check it out!

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  53. I just got scammed out if $600 by an apartment complex. I'm still waiting for half the money I'll get back. They we're so dishonest with me and seriously ruined my July. It was the worst experience ever. And i'm currently so broke because of it that I have to get food from the bishops storehouse till I can pay off my credit card.

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  54. That seriously blows. Did this happen before you came over to my house to see Elle? I remember it was right before you left for Hawaii. Were you ever worried you gave them your home address and they knew you were going to be out of town? That's what made me nervous reading it. So it could always be worse but i am so sorry it happened. At least she gave you a discount! I guess the only upside is you have a new idea for April Fools day next year. Kinda ironic that the biggest prankster got pranked the hardest. And I thought you were always the queen of tricks.

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  55. My husband and I were so excited to move out of our nasty first apartment after the first year. The month came when it was time to put in our notice of departure, and we practically skipped all the way to the leasing office! When we got there, the new property manager told us that we had actually signed an 18 month lease, not a 12, and we were responsible for another 6 months! I was furious. The complex didnt even offer 18 months leases! So we asked him what our options were and he said he would be okay with us moving out, and that he would find someone to sublease.

    We were cool with that, so we moved into a lovely new apartment and lived happily ever after. Then four months later, my husband got a harassing debt collector phone call telling us that we were being sued for six months of unpaid rent. We were shocked. We called the former manager and he denied ever making an agreement with us. He claimed we still had the keys to the apartment (not true) and that we owed them every penny. Since we had nothin in writing (big mistake) we had no claim.

    After the most stressful arguing of my life, we settled with the debt collectors for half the amount we owed, which was still several thousand dollars. And thankfully I was able to get the incident expunged from my credit score. But it was easily one of the most frustrating experiences of my life, and incredibly difficult for a money-strapped, newlywed couple of students!

    So sorry to hear about what happened to you, but you are NOT alone!

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  56. This is so awful!! I would have been devastated as well! What a great thing that your husband had such a good attitude about it though. =) So true that it's just money & you still have health & family and love!

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  57. I hope you go to the police. Im sure Chase would be forced to provide the account number to the police.

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  58. Ugh that is terrible. My in-laws almost had that happen to them with a time share. Luckily my husband and I realized how fishy it seemed and got them out of it. It is so sad this happens. OH! So when I first started college I was looking for a job and found this job on craigslist where all I had to do was forward some business man's packages to him or something. Doesn't sound scammy at all right? Ha! Anyways, I ended up getting my first paycheck without even doing anything addressed to me but it was from a totally random person. It seemed bizarre so I called up the lady on the return portion of the check and she had her identity stolen and was freaking out for months over it. 18 year old me was traumatized!

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  59. I'm really sorry about this situation. I hate Chase bank. There is currently a class action lawsuit against them because they have HORRIBLE banking practices. They don't go in time order of when you buy your purchases over the weekend, they debit the amount from the highest paid, so instead of bouncing your account once, it will happen several times causing hundreds of dollars in fees. That's why I stopped banking with them in 2005. They also opened a credit card even though I stated at the opening of my account, that a credit card is to NEVER be opened in my account. Apparently I bounced my account once (I worked midnights as a nurse and wasn't in the habit of keeping track of my finances at that time in life) and it opened a credit card that I didn't pay for about a year. Since you're a teacher, I would recommend that you find a Credit Union.

    I love how you are taking total responsibility for this, BUT Chase is a bit responsible in this, even if they deny it-that's all they're good at. They should have caught this error because looking at the comment on your ONE post, it happens to a LOT of good people ALL the time. I know how much this hurts, and I know you feel bad because it's your family's money.
    Hopefully, they are as good as your husband (which I'm sure they are, because they raised him), and they will have the same understanding. It IS money, and you didn't do it on purpose.

    What's really shocking is that the website you mentioned doesn't take your claim seriously. It's so hard to know who you can trust. It makes me not want to travel at all.

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  60. Just getting to this post now, but I lefit cried a little for you. I'm so sorry you had to go thru all of this!! I work for a travel insurance company and (altough I'm not in sales or claims) I've heard so many stories. Looking into insurance is an exrta expense but no one should feel like you had to when there was no response.

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  61. I too have had horrible experiences with Chase. We switched to a credit union 2 years ago and couldn't be happier.

    I think that everyone has some sort of "scam" experience in their past. Perhaps it's a right of passage? My brother actually paid $100 to ship his Nintendo DS overseas to Nigeria through an "ebay" transaction, only to find out that he'd been scammed.

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  62. Oh that's horrible! We got screwed out of our security deposit at our last rental when the landlord fudged the paperwork. When we checked out, she told us everything was clean and looked great, no problems. We asked if we needed to sign anything, and she said no. Several weeks later I got a copy of our contract in the mail, with all these notes about bogus cleaning and repairs that were needed. I fought it for months. Even went to the BBB. Everyone pretty much said, "The landlord said it needed to be done. Tough luck." We should have received $1000 back, but we never saw a penny. I still cringe whenever I drive past that complex.

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  63. I'm so sorry that happened to you. I don't think I personally have been scammed out of anything. I would think the bank should have forewarned you also. :(

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  64. I am so sorry Bonnie! We all have to learn the hard way sometimes, we just had to learn the hard way through our Lake Powell experience. Each couple lost about $2,000! It is always frustrating but Trevor said the same thing, it is just money and we are all healthy and alive and that is what matters. It can be hard to remember that while in the midst of the anger though! *le sigh!*

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  65. I work customer service at Wal-mart, and we are trained to look for red flags & as soon as I saw your title, I knew I was going to be reading that you got scammed wiring money. I agree 100% that the Chase people should have asked questions...such as do you know this person? Have you spoken to them in the last 24 hours? I would have denied your transaction as soon as I found out that you were sending money overseas for a Hawaii house. *hugs* So sorry you had to go through this!

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  66. Hello every one, please be careful from scams, if you have been scammed by all these fraudsters, and you want them to return your money please inform me so that i can inform you on how i retrieve my money back from them and even gave them punishment
    my email is Helenmarc33@gmail.com

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  67. Hello every one, please be careful from scams, if you have been scammed by all these fraudsters, and you want them to return your money please inform me so that i can inform you on how i retrieve my money back from them and even gave them punishment
    my email is Helenmarc33@gmail.com

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    ReplyDelete
  69. I got scammed out of $1,150 from a co-worker of mine. He was a really good liar and deceived me, but I'm young and dumb. Better to learn now than later.

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  70. My Name is Mr Albert Fletcher Wealth .I will love to share my testimony to
    all the people in this forum because i never thought i will have my
    money back and this meant so much to me..I met this lady on Facebook and within a short period of time she started showing interest in me and then i started to like her,then it got serious as i started loving her,then after 3 weeks of love talk she told me that her daughter had an accident and that she needed urgent operation and asked me to help her with 1000 dollars which i did.After this period she kept asking for more which i sent to her and all of a sudden she stopped messaging me and on one faithful day she sent me a message saying its a SCAM that she does not exist..i lost
    my job as a result of this because i couldn't get myself anymore,my life was
    upside down and everything did not go smooth with my life...I tried
    all i could do to have get my money back,but all did not work out until i met a
    Man when i Travel to Africa to execute some business transactions i have been
    developing some years back..I told him my problem and all i have passed
    through in getting the scammers and my money back and how i lost my job...he told me he was
    going to help me...i didn't believe that in the first place,but he swore
    he will help me out and he told me the main reason why i fell for the scam and some other hidden secrets. i was amazed when i heard that
    from him. he said he will cast a spell for me and i will see the
    results in the next couple of days..then i travel back to USA the
    following day,i called him when i got home and he said he's busy
    casting those spells and he has bought all the materials needed for
    the spells,he said am gonna see positive results in the next 2 days
    that is Thursday...Suddenly i got a call from the so called lover at exactly 12:35pm on
    Thursday and he apologized for all he had done ..he said,he never knew
    what he was doing and that he has my money as he could not sleep for days because he was having terrible nightmares about the money and he wants peace of mind and he
    promised not to scam again. it was like a dream when i heard
    that from him and when we ended the call,i called the man and told him
    the scammer called and he said i haven't seen anything yet... he said i
    will also get my job back in 2 days time..and when its Saturday,they
    called me at my place of work that i should resume work on Monday
    and they gonna compensate me for the time limit have spent at home
    without working..My life is back into shape,i have my Money back
    and and now am back to my old self and i have my job back
    too,This man is really powerful..if we have up to 20 people like him
    in the world,the world would have been a better place. He has also
    helped many of my friends to solve many problems and they are all
    happy now. Am posting this to the forum for anybody that is interested
    in meeting the man for help. you can mail him on this e-mail;
    kakabuspiritualhome@gmail.com i cant give out his number because he told
    me he don't want to be disturbed by many people across the world..he
    said his email is okay and he' will reply to any emails asap..hope
    he helps u out too..good luck his email;
    kakabuspiritualhome@gmail.com



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  71. I'm so sorry this happened to you !! And thank you for sharing your story and hopefully helping someone else who may come across a similar offer and because of your story say no !! Your husband is so right, even though this situation SUCKED, it's just money. And if you ever find out any more information about these people in London who stole your money you let me know and I'll go pay them a personal visit !! ;)

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  72. You and Greg totally remind me of me and my boyfriend. He is SO great at calming me down!

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  73. I got scammed out of $1,150 from a co-worker. Thought he was a potential good friend. Turns out he's just a piece of shit con-artist and incredible liar; but we live and we learn. I'll never loan anyone money again. At least I'm only 20 years old and learning how selfish people really are.

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