Outraged

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This is a repost of a blog I just wrote on The Grief Warrior Project, a site dedicated to suicide prevention and supporting those coping with the horrendous grief that suicide brings.

Earlier this morning I noticed that someone had posted on a flea market group I run on Facebook that she had a psychiatrist who was recommending she get additional supports.  She stated she was a single mother without a lot of money and wanted to know what might be out there.

I messaged her to let her know that under the guidelines of that group, the post would have to be removed.  I also let her know that I’d worked in the mental health field for decades, and suggested some options.

She messaged back, thanking me, saying that she had heard privately from several people on that group who had been cruel, telling her to just take more meds and other shitty things.

I was – I am – outraged.

For now, this is what I’ve done (aside from writing this blog, and posting it).  The following was posted on the aforementioned Facebook group:

“As the administrator of this group, and as a human being, I am outraged by how one of our members was treated.

She posted looking for support services for mental health issues. The post itself did not belong on this group, but that’s not the point.

What has me outraged is that she’s received a bunch of messages from people hassling her about her mental health comments, and just being mean.

IF YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE, YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF.

I will not go on a rant here (although I really feel like it), but will give a warning right now: if I find out who from this group pulled such a stupid asshole stunt, you will be blocked immediately. No questions asked, no chance to plead your immature, bullying case.

Got it?”

Damn, this makes me mad.

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If you’re so inclined, I’d be thrilled if you would check out some of my other blogs.

https://www.warrior-project.org
The Grief Warrior Project.
Suicide prevention and grief support.

https://www.heritagecollectiblesmaine.com
Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps.
My beloved husband and I started this business in 2014… two years before he suicided in October of 2016.  It was supposed to be his retirement gig; he never made it.  All sales (after expenses) go to developing a drop-in center for suicide prevention and grief support: The Grief Warrior Project.

https://www.regroup.wordpress.com
ReGroupBizBlog.
I don’t do much with this, but it’s there to give some minor structure to my office and project management consulting work.

https://www.themainedogblog.wordpress.com
The Maine Dog Blog
Pretty outdated, but consists of the adventures of our three (now two) wonderful but annoying dogs.

There are others, but I’m seriously far behind in posting on them.

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When Your “Email Administrator” Has No Name or Contact Info…

I’m probably wasting my time posting all of the annoying scams I get, but I figure that if the scammers are sending them out, they’re probably reeling in some suckers.

And if I can prevent one person from being taken in….

Here’s the latest:

From: Email administrator. admin@supportu.com

Subject: Inactive Account

Dear Email Client,

Important issue concerning your account profile.

Please view/download the attachment below to review it.

Sincerely,

Email Administrator

And of course, the recipient (me) is supposed to click on the download button.

Beware!!

Sigh… Yet Another Scam

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Yet another scam – and this one not only keeps coming, but over the past few weeks seems to be ramping up, even though I’ve never responded, never click on the attachment and always immediately delete them.

It’s supposedly from a real life friend and business associate.  A second one also keeps coming through, very similar, but also supposedly from a real life business associate.

The initial emails were very poorly worded and obviously fraudulent. The latest ones are becoming more realistic.

So once again, watch out everyone!

Here’s the one from this morning.

“REAL NAME <kumar@comoqatar.com>

The attached invoice is past due. Please advise on the status of payment at your earliest convenience. Please let me know if you have any questions.

DOCD542224562.doc

REAL NAME [an email address that is his real one follows]”

UPS Shipment Scam…

Well today seems to be the day for scams… here’s another one, supposedly sent from a friend. All I have to do is open the attachment.

Beware, my friends…

UPS Quantum View

Tracking Number 1YS44202359954347

Shipment Details

Shipment number: 1YS44202359954347

From: Bruce B

Number of Packages: 2

Scheduled Delivery: 11/14/2018

This Guy’s Not Only a Scammer, But He’s An A**hole, Too

So this guy is not only a scammer, but he’s an asshole, too. I’m not even going to read most of it.

Beware of this crap.

From: Lebel Wellington

Tiскеt#515971779 <mason@wannyueh.com.tw> 14.11.2018 09:15:41 I really advise you to read this letter, just to make sure not a thing will take place

Howdy.. .

This will not acquire a lot of time, so direct to the issue. I got a footage of you spanking the monkey while at the pornpage you\’re stopped at, because of a great arse computer software I\’ve been able to place on a couple of web sites with that type of material.

You hit play button and all of the cams and a microphone begin their work in addition, it saves every fucking detail coming from your computer system, for example contact info, passwords and shit similar to dat, think exactly where i obtained this e-mail from?) And so now we all know just who i am going to send this to, in case you aren\’t planning to settle this with me.

I\’ll put a account address below so that you can hit me 470 $ within 4 days maximum via btc. Notice, it isn\’t that huge of a value to cover, guess this tends to make me not that awful of a person.

You\’re welcome to complete whatever the fuck you want to, but if i will not see the total amount within the period of time stated over, well… u by now know what may happen.

Therefore it is your responsibility right now. I\’m not going to go through every detail and shit, simply ain\’t got time for this as well as you possibly know that net is loaded with letters such as this, so it is as well your final choice to trust in this or not, there may be only a proven way to uncover.

This is my btc wallet address: 1DLt3sFcfZa9YVaYpjYsjS1YfJSmBZSGLr

Enjoy yourself and just remember that time is ticking))

Please Put Your Email Address to Report Fraud on Your Website’s Home Page

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A couple of my pet peeves…

I just received an email regarding the need to sign in immediately to my Bank of America account, using the link provided.

I don’t have a Bank of America account.

So I go to the Bank of America website, looking for the email address to forward the phony email to their phishing/scam/abuse department.

About 10 clicks later, and after having to read through a bunch of very small text, I finally find it.

Abuse at bankofamerica dot com.

Peeve #1: Why did I have to spend so much time looking for that cussed address, when everyone knows how much fraud there is out there? It should be highlighted on the home page.

Peeve #2: Why do all of these banks and other organizations use something different? “abuse@”, “spam@”, “phishing@”. Wouldn’t it be nice if they all used the same freaking one? (I suppose they could say that if they did, and someone thought they had the right address but instead forwarded the spam email to “phishing @ bankamerica dot com” (without the “of”, that it wouldn’t get there… but still, go back to Peeve #1).

******************************
If you’re so inclined, I’d be thrilled if you would check out some of my other blogs.

https://www.warrior-project.org
The Grief Warrior Project.
Suicide prevention and grief support.

https://www.heritagecollectiblesmaine.com
Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps.
My beloved husband and I started this business two years before he suicided; it was supposed to be his retirement gig.  He never made it.  All sales (after expenses) go to developing a drop-in center for suicide prevention and grief support: The Grief Warrior Project.

https://www.regroup.wordpress.com
ReGroupBizBlog.
I don’t do much with this, but it’s there to give some minor structure to my consulting work.

https://www.themainedogblog.wordpress.com
The Maine Dog Blog
Pretty outdated, but consists of the adventures of our three (now two) wonderful but annoying dogs.

There are others, but I’m seriously far behind in posting on them.

Eat This Food and Double Your IQ in Minutes!

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Just got an email telling me that I could eat a certain food and “double your IQ in minutes”.

Uhhh…. Seriously? That would put me – and and an awful lot of other people – right up there with the highest IQs ever recorded.

The highest IQ scores ever recorded:
William James Sidis (IQ score: 250-300) — This is probably not true, but rather a great exaggeration by his family.
Terence Tao (IQ score: 225-230)
Marilyn Vos Savant (IQ score: 228)
Christopher Hirata (IQ score: 225)

Since 50% of adults are clustered in the 90-110 point range, doubling those scores would put them way over Stephen Hawking and Einstein. (And remember, too, the impact of standard deviations.)

Kim Ung-Yong (IQ score: 210)
Edith Stern (IQ score: 200+)
Christopher Michael Langan (IQ score: 190 – 210)
Garry Kasparov (IQ score: 194)
Albert Einstein (IQ score: 160-190)
Stephen Hawking (IQ score: 160)

By golly, I should eat that food and get smaht. Of course, the email forces you to click on a link to find out what it is.

I’m definitely smart enough not to do that!

The moral of this story is, of course, if it sounds too good to be true… it probably is.

Porn Blackmail Scam – Don’t Fall For It!

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So I get up this morning, head in to the bathroom along with my phone, and as I’m scanning through my emails, the one below pops up.  Argh!  Like everyone else, I hate these assholes.  Get a real job, or volunteer for the elderly, homeless, or disabled, or plant trees in barren areas… do something with your worthless life.  Hopefully karma is real, and you will get yours…

The only truly scary thing in this email is that the guy (presumably a guy) has an actual password I used for several professional sites a decade ago.  Obviously at least one of those sites was hacked.  (I keep a record of every password I’ve ever used.)

Here’s the blackmail email:

—-“ is your password. Lets get directly to point. You may not know me and you are most likely wondering why you are getting this email? There is no one who has compensated me to check you.
 
actually, I actually setup a software on the X videos (porn material) web-site and there’s more, you visited this website to experience fun (you know what I mean). While you were watching videos, your internet browser initiated working as a RDP with a keylogger which gave me access to your display as well as cam. after that, my software collected your complete contacts from your Messenger, FB, and e-mail . Next I made a double video. First part displays the video you were watching (you’ve got a nice taste hehe), and second part shows the view of your web cam, yeah it is u.
You get two solutions. Why dont we explore each of these solutions in details:
 
Very first choice is to neglect this message. Consequently, I most certainly will send out your actual videotape to all your your personal contacts and visualize regarding the disgrace you will definitely get. Do not forget if you happen to be in an intimate relationship, exactly how this will affect?
 
Latter option would be to compensate me $7000. We are going to call it a donation. As a result, I most certainly will straightaway erase your videotape. You can carry on with your daily life like this never happened and you will never hear back again from me.
 
You’ll make the payment by Bitcoin (if you don’t know this, search for “how to buy bitcoin” in Google search engine).
 
BTC Address: 1FdbtXUuxdppEgxd2GNCyDB5moKaNjmWV9
[CASE-SENSITIVE, copy and paste it]

If you may be curious about going to the cop, very well, this message can not be traced back to me. I have taken care of my steps. I am just not looking to ask you for a huge amount, I just want to be rewarded. I have a specific pixel within this e mail, and now I know that you have read through this email message. You have one day to pay. If I don’t receive the BitCoins, I will, no doubt send your video to all of your contacts including members of your family, colleagues, and so on. Nonetheless, if I do get paid, I will destroy the recording immediately. It’s a nonnegotiable offer, thus do not waste my personal time and yours by replying to this mail. If you need evidence, reply with Yeah and I will send out your video to your 7 friends.

Here’s an article on the topic, explaining how it all works (and doesn’t work):

Danger, Will Robinson! (A Repost from Our Heritage Collectibles Blog)

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WARNING! Danger, Will Robinson! – or – If It Seems Too Good to Be True…

The “science” of scamming is fascinating – both from the perspective of the gullible victim, and from examining the tactics of the perpetrator.  As a nearly life long social worker, and as someone who’s had multiple scammers attempt to steal from my businesses (real estate/property management, and retail) over the years, I’ve studied these crooks – and even taught a couple of classes on the subject.

The good ones know how to suck us in, and appeal both to our innate greed (desire to get something for little effort), emotions (desire to be helpful) and gullibility (desire to believe in the goodness of others).  They don’t generally hit you over the head with their methods, but rather, reel you in until you’re screwed.

When Scam-Boy hit me up via text a couple of weeks  ago, I immediately knew exactly what was happening.  This guy – unlike the one of a month or so ago, who gave up immediately when he realized I wasn’t falling for it – seems kind of stupid and bad at the whole thing.  I’m not going to give away everything he did wrong here, because there’s no sense in educating perps-in-training, but maybe you can figure it out.

And you can see how much fun I’ve been having with this jerk.

Here are the texts to date:

Saturday, July 23.  9:08 am
(702) 550-1171

Scam-Boy:  “Live – Love” Settee, Handcrafted – $248 (Lewiston)

S-B:  Live – Love Settee by Local Artisan – $248 (Lewiston)

ME:  ????

S-B:  Can i send you a cashiers check for the item and once check clears my movers will come for pickup

ME:  Once payment is received you can of course have the item. 

S-B:  Okay..Text me your name and mailing address to mail the check to asap

ME:  Make the check out to What a Great Event. The mailing address is P O Box 282 Auburn ME 04210. With tax the total is $261.64. 

S-B:  Okay…note,i will include the movers fee to the payment so once you have your cash,rest will be for the movers so pickup can be done,

S-B:  thanks.

Later that same morning (my iPhone didn’t record the time)

S-B:  Got my previous text  ?

ME:  Yes

S-B:  i will keep you posted

I did not respond.

 

Saturday, July 30 (one week later).   3:10 pm

S-B:  electronically via ATM,mobile deposit or bank and get back to me with when you want pickup done,thanks.

S-B:  Sorry i got back to you late.Here’s the tracking # 9405501699320088902930 i got from usps. Once you have it, kindly have it deposited

I did not respond.

 

Monday, August 1.  11:32 am

(402) 295-5764  (Note the different phone number.)

S-B:  Good morning,check delivered.

I did not respond.

S-B: Your item has been delivered and is available at a PO Box at 8:56 am on August 1, 2016 in AUBURN, ME 04212

S-B:  kindly deposit and advice on pickup,thanks.

I did not respond.

 

Monday, August 1st.  1:15 pm.

I went to the post office and picked up the check (see below), which was in the amount of $1,750.00. Although visually it appeared to be a real check drawn on a CitiBank account, the paper it was printed on was not check paper, and there was no stub or notation at all.  The return address on the USPS mailer was Miami.

And remember, the total for the item with tax was $261.64.  This was rather a lot more. Ahh, what was it that Scam-Boy said?  I was to use the excess to pay the “moving agent”. Seriously, this item could be shipped for $200 or thereabouts. To pay a “moving agent” what would amount to somewhat under $1,500.00 is patently absurd.

I then went straight to my bank and asked to speak to someone in the fraud division. They called CitiBank, and were told CitiBank would not verify funds over the phone, but my bank could fax them a copy of the “check” and they’d verify the funds then.  CitiBank did not respond to the fax by the time I had to leave for one of my social work clients.

As I left the bank, I called the FBI and was directed to their Internet Crimes website, which lists a number of scams including one similar to this one, and which is reprinted at the end of this blog.

 

Tuesday, August 2.  9:00 am

I went into my bank this morning and was given the faxed response from CitiBank which said in essence that they do not verify funds.  This was after the initial call in which they said they would verify via fax.  (See copy of return fax below.)

Seriously?  All banks verify funds.  But CitiBank won’t?  After they had said the previous day that they would?  So I looked up CitiBank’s policy, which you can find on-line here: http://www.ehow.com/how_8444254_verify-check-citibank.html

  • According to this site, in order to verify funds with CitiBank, one must physically go into a branch and present the check to a teller, along with proof of your own identification.  (This is different than my bank was told.)  Although there are ATMs nearby, there appear to be NO Citibank branches in Maine, and none even within 50 miles of Maine’s southernmost tip.  So, verifying funds from a CitiBank account is not available to Maine residents, unless one wants to spend hours traveling out of state and back.

 

Tuesday, August 2.  1:38 pm.

(281) 529-5093 (This is the 3rd phone number the guy has used.)

S-B:  I DONT APPRECIATE YOUR LONG SILENCE AFTER THE DELIVERY OF MY CHECK

ME:  No need to yell. I also work full-time as a social worker and I am pulling 110 hour work weeks. I am with a client right now. Will get back to you soon.

S-B:  when will you be able to check your mail box and have the check deposited ?

Later that afternoon, when I didn’t respond…

S-B:  Got my previous text ?

I did not respond.


Wednesday, August 3.   8:55 am
(917) 631-7338  (This is the 4th phone number the guy has used.)

S-B:  Good morning,have you been able to deposit the check yet  ?

ME:  Our policy is to always verify funds prior to deposit when the amount is over $500. Your bank refuses to verify. If you would kindly authorize them to release that information I would appreciate it. 

S-B:  My banker adviced you are to deposit the check and wait for your bank policy for check to clear and funds are available in your accoun

S-B:  t before we proceed with the pickup

ME:  Oh, we will be delivering in your area so can handle that as well. Our typical charge (please see shipping policy on our website) is 79c per mile which would add up to a significant sum, but because we can combine this with several other simultaneous shipments, we’re willing to do so for the difference between the cost of the item and the amount of your check. 

ME:  So as soon as your bank verifies funds, we will deliver the item to you. The full amount of your check will cover everything and you’ll be guaranteed a timely, quality delivery!

S-B:  i have a mover agent who will come for pickup

S-B:  All you need to do is deduct your item fee + $40 extra and send the rest to the movers so pickup can be done thereafter,thanks.

ME:  That makes little sense as we’ll already be in your area, but that’s your decision. In any event, just have your bank verify funds and the item is yours. Otherwise, I do have someone here in town who has asked for the item. 

ME:  I’m about to go into my daytime job and won’t be available again until tomorrow. I’m at the bank ready to deposit this if you would just verify funds.

 

Wednesday, August 3.  10:38 am

S-B:  check deposited ?

ME:  No. You didn’t respond and I had to go to work. Am in a meeting. Will be unavailable to address this for the rest of the day, as previously noted. Sorry.

 

Thursday, August 4.  9:30 am

I should have heard from Scam-Boy by now.  Or has he finally caught on that I’ve been messing with him?  My next step is already planned out, but perhaps he’s gotten cold feet?  It may be time to reach out to him, since all along, I’ve let the guy contact me and that is likely a tip off that I think he’s full of horse puckey – I’m showing no urgency on my end…

 

Thursday, August 4.  10:28 am.

ME:  So…??

A while later.

S-B:   Good morning.

A while later.

ME:  Sorry.  Customers in the shop.  Where did we leave this?  You were going to have your bank verify funds availability, right? 

 

Friday, August 5.  7:15 am.

Scam-Boy did not respond yesterday.  I messaged my husband that “Wah… my friend doesn’t want to play any more”, and considered just dropping it and finishing this blog, but this morning decided to try one last time to see if I could keep him going and sent off the following:

ME:  Okay.  I’m willing to do business with you but need something more from your end. 


It’s unlikely that he’ll respond; I suspect he’s figured out that there’s nothing happening here.  (That should be obvious, right?)

So I’ll publish this – and if there are any new developments, will let you all know!

For anyone who’s tempted to cash a “check” for far more money than what you’re owed… seriously, think about it!  Why would some guy send me 7 times the cost of the item?  For his movers?  Really?   This guy is going to pay movers nearly $1500 when I could ship the item for $200?

Just be smart, and don’t get caught in this crap because you will lose.

UPDATE:  I messaged CitiBank, forwarding them a copy of this blog.  Here’s their response:

Hello and thank you for your message. Citibank does not provide account specific information to third parties without customer’s consent. – Yuriana C.

Would it have helped to have known that there was indeed enough money in that account to cover the $1,750 “check”? Likely not…. but then, that’s not the point. CitiBank should be on the alert for fraudulent activity using their bank, and should have been interested to learn of a possible fraud being perpetrated.  They were not.

I did hear back from Scam-Boy yesterday after my probe above.

ME:  Okay.  I’m willing to do business with you but need something more from your end. 

Friday, August 5.  7:18 am.

S-B:  Okay..i’m all hearz

ME:  The item costs $248 plus tax. It would only cost you about $300 for shipping and handling via Fed Ex.  That’s a total of less than $600, which is $1150 – or one-third of what you sent me.  No reasonable person wants to spend three times what they have to for an item. So you send me a money order for $600 and once it clears I will ship the item to you.  No need for a moving agent who’s going to overcharge you.

I did not hear back from him after this; nor did I expect to.  I continued to play the straight man on this, just to mess with him.  Unless he reads this blog, he’ll never know for sure whether I was stringing him along, or if I was just a stupidly earnest business owner.

From the FBI’s Internet Crimes website:
COUNTERFEIT CASHIER’S CHECK

The counterfeit cashier’s check scheme targets individuals that use Internet classified advertisements to sell merchandise. Typically, an interested party located outside the United States contacts a seller. The seller is told that the buyer has an associate in the United States that owes him money. As such, he will have the associate send the seller a cashier’s check for the amount owed to the buyer.

The amount of the cashier’s check will be thousands of dollars more than the price of the merchandise and the seller is told the excess amount will be used to pay the shipping costs associated with getting the merchandise to his location. The seller is instructed to deposit the check, and as soon as it clears, to wire the excess funds back to the buyer or to another associate identified as a shipping agent. In most instances, the money is sent to locations in West Africa (Nigeria).

Because a cashier’s check is used, a bank will typically release the funds immediately, or after a one or two day hold. Falsely believing the check has cleared, the seller wires the money as instructed.

In some cases, the buyer is able to convince the seller that some circumstance has arisen that necessitates the cancellation of the sale, and is successful in conning the victim into sending the remainder of the money. Shortly thereafter, the victim’s bank notifies him that the check was fraudulent, and the bank is holding the victim responsible for the full amount of the check.

Fraud 3 Fraud

Dear Petty Thief

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Stolen

This was first published on the website/blog of our arts & antiques shop (Heritage Collectibles) but I thought it also belonged here.

 

Dear Thief,

I know our little flower beds outside our shop weren’t doing so well, and looked kind of sad.

I’m sure you meant well by pulling up the remaining plants – more than likely you thought they deserved a better home with you than in our wretched little space.

However… we were putting in a fair amount of time tending to that tiny garden, and had plans to add more colorful flowers later.

Now we won’t bother.

Seriously, what ails you, anyway?  What makes you think it’s okay to steal from us?  And yes, pulling up our plants is stealing.  It doesn’t matter what the value of something is, or where it’s located, taking something without permission that doesn’t belong to you is stealing.

Okay, we get it.  We understand that sometimes people want something and for whatever reason, can’t have it.  We’ve been there with a budget so tight that paying bills is a desperate challenge each and every day.

We’ve been there trying to figure out when – and if – we’ll ever be able to pay back those to whom we owe money, and wishing we could afford things that other people have.

But other than the stupid teenage pranks that many of us pulled (and which we grew out of but still cringe over), we have never once deliberately taken something from another person with no intention of paying them for it or reimbursing the expense.

Yes, the little garden was pretty forlorn-looking.  And now it’s just plain pathetic.

But it was ours.  OURS.  Not yours. And you had no right.