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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: May have been scammed, need advice


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/386334

Society Hill - Posted - 10/19/2022:  07:57:09


Well, after 75 or 80 transactions involving banjos, I may have finally been scammed. Bought a real nice 1960s gold Fender Concertone off of one of the Facebook banjo groups. Talked to the "seller" a few times, agreed on a price, sent a cashier's check, heard back a couple of times after the check was processed that it was going to be shipped. After hearing nothing over the past 10 days or so, their phone is mostly off or no one answers, no response on Facebook Messenger, BHO account was locked, and no banjo. I have the name of who owns the phone number (not the seller), who lives at the house where I sent the check (not the seller), and who signed for the UPS check delivery (not the seller). There was no signature on the back of the processed check which means it was deposited electronically. Initially there was enough on-line banjo related info to make this look legit but digging into it deeper has been sickening.

With no contact for the past week or so, is all hope lost? What and when should the next step be, if any, or do I just suck it up and do a better job of buying from proven sellers on the Hangout? I'm kind of bogged down in this right now but need to move past it...

I am-

Sick in NC

Ira Gitlin - Posted - 10/19/2022:  08:13:36


Try the FBI and the USPS. They'd want to know about things like this.

buckholler - Posted - 10/19/2022:  08:14:17


Since you sent a check and it was deposited, I'd contact the local police for where you sent the check. You have all the information, names addresses, phone numbers, ect and they could do a criminal case for fraud. Who knows, maybe they will know the person. You can check with the bank and tell them it was fraud and they may be able to do something, since it was deposited to someone's account.

It'll take a little leg work on your part but you may be able to get your money back.

Scott

Texasbanjo - Posted - 10/19/2022:  08:21:20


PM me the username of the scammer and I'll unlock the account and see if there's anything of value that you might use to find him.

Bob Smakula - Posted - 10/19/2022:  08:34:17


When I had an issue wit a seller not sending the paid for banjo (close to 2 month delay), I called the local sheriff's office. The deputy I talked to was glad to have a diversion from the norm and had a little talk with the banjo owner and I received it within a week.

Definitely worth a call.

Bob Smakula

TX2AK - Posted - 10/19/2022:  08:50:06


My experience has been that, like Bob said, if you can locate the scammer, local law enforcement is your best bet. I can’t see getting anywhere with federal authorities, but it’s worth reporting. Facebook is full of scammers, and Facebook doesn’t seem to care in the least. I had someone steal my profile on there a little over a year ago. I received an email in the middle of the night, around 3:00 am, that someone was attempting to change my login and to secure the account if it was not me. An hour later, I received an email that it had been changed. By the time I woke up in the morning, it was gone and no way to recover it. The recovery email was changed too - which is crazy to me. I dug forever to find a place to contact Facebook, and finally found one. They never responded, I never got my profile back, and I have not and will not create another account with them.

KCJones - Posted - 10/19/2022:  08:53:26


Clarification request: You sent a check to a physical US address, and it was signed for by a resident of that address. The signing party is not the seller, but the check was cashed nonetheless.



How did your cashiers check get from the package recipient to the "seller"? 


Edited by - KCJones on 10/19/2022 08:53:50

Society Hill - Posted - 10/19/2022:  08:56:22


Is there a time period you would give, say by the weekend or 30 days or something like that. Or, would you go ahead and contact them?

Society Hill - Posted - 10/19/2022:  09:04:17


KCJones- It went via UPS and was signed for by someone that is not listed at that address (according to address websites) but apparently was there. The check was deposited somehow without a signature, possibly through an ATM according to our CU, and I have no idea if the $$$ have made it to the seller. I received a text from the person who I talked to indicating the check had arrived. This is the same phone number that was on several ads that are posted on the "sellers" Facebook Marketplace commerce site. I'm wondering if someone has hijacked someone's identity that has banjo-related information and is collecting $$$ for banjo, fiddle, guitar pics. $3600 to be exact.

Gallaher - Posted - 10/19/2022:  09:12:25


This kind of stuff heats me up. Just bad for the community.
It’s not a good idea but I might just drive over to the address...even if it’s a thousand miles.

At least make sure name and address is well published

paulhealey - Posted - 10/19/2022:  10:21:03


I would contact the bank the check was drawn on. I know when I have attempted to use mobile deposit on a check that I have forgotten to endorse, it won't go through. I'm not going to pretend I'm a banker and I know all the banking rules, but I would imagine that endorsing a check that large is required. I don't know if it will work or if they can do anything, but my guess is you will have better luck there than with any kind of federal agency.

banjoez - Posted - 10/19/2022:  10:44:28


Those of us who buy and sell a lot online all hold our breath when we go outside the "norm" to purchase a banjo. Getting scammed at some point is probably inevitable considering the enormous number of online crooks there are. Like others have said contact the bank(s) where the check was cut and processed and see what they can do or recommend. I guess paying with PayPal does have it's benefits when it comes to fighting scammers. I hope you get the guy.


Edited by - banjoez on 10/19/2022 10:45:12

KCJones - Posted - 10/19/2022:  10:51:21


One silver lining here, that gives hope of a resolution: if the scammer was waiting for the package and signed for it, that means they're physically located in the USA. That means there's a chance that police will be able help. If it was overseas you'd have no hope, but this situation sounds like domestic wire fraud which is a much easier nut to crack for the authorities.

I'm sorry this happened to you.

Alvin Conder - Posted - 10/19/2022:  10:54:04


Horrible.

It seems since the whole Covid thing that just about any and all buyer/seller/auction sites are completely full of scammers.

Follow the process with law enforcement as noted above and hopefully some level of closure in your favor will follow.

I would also check with your insurance company. This may be covered to some extant.

As for going to the actual address, I would not recommend it on any level unless you go with LEO or legal representation,
Or at least 3-4 buddies. The world is just that messed up.

Joel Hooks - Posted - 10/19/2022:  10:58:16


Sometimes the people who collect the money (the place you sent the check to) are being scammed as well. This is the money mule scam.

They could have been hired to "process payments" or some other thing to convince them to accept the payment and then forward it to the scammer.

FenderFred - Posted - 10/19/2022:  12:09:58


quote:

Originally posted by Society Hill

Well, after 75 or 80 transactions involving banjos, I may have finally been scammed. Bought a real nice 1960s gold Fender Concertone off of one of the Facebook banjo groups. Talked to the "seller" a few times, agreed on a price, sent a cashier's check, heard back a couple of times after the check was processed that it was going to be shipped. After hearing nothing over the past 10 days or so, their phone is mostly off or no one answers, no response on Facebook Messenger, BHO account was locked, and no banjo. I have the name of who owns the phone number (not the seller), who lives at the house where I sent the check (not the seller), and who signed for the UPS check delivery (not the seller). There was no signature on the back of the processed check which means it was deposited electronically. Initially there was enough on-line banjo related info to make this look legit but digging into it deeper has been sickening.



With no contact for the past week or so, is all hope lost? What and when should the next step be, if any, or do I just suck it up and do a better job of buying from proven sellers on the Hangout? I'm kind of bogged down in this right now but need to move past it...



I am-



Sick in NC






Sorry to read about your misfortune. I stopped using cheques years ago. I use PayPal which guarrentees your money is safe with online purchases. Not only that they lock the account of scammers.  

Old Hickory - Posted - 10/19/2022:  13:39:24


quote:

Originally posted by Society Hill

The check was deposited somehow without a signature, possibly through an ATM...






If the check was deposited, it had to have been deposited into an account, which would have a number, owner, physical address, phone number, Social Security number and possibly email address associated with it. Thanks to "know your customer" laws or regulations, the receiving bank knows ful well who owns the account into which the check was deposited.



If the deposit was made at an ATM, there's a good chance there's video.



The scammer has committed federal crimes: Advertising the banjo and doing the transaction on the internet makes it wire fraud. Use of US Mail in this transaction makes it mail fraud. So the previous advice to contact the FBI makes sense.



Good luck.

Brian Murphy - Posted - 10/19/2022:  15:43:38


There is either a video of an ATM or counter transaction or an electronic trail. The feds and the banks have left nothing to chance.

BanjoLink - Posted - 10/20/2022:  14:18:52


Just about everything said here is correct, but I have to admit that I am skeptical about any federal or state agency giving a rats patoot about this or any other scam. I have a friend whose son's mandolin was stolen a number of years ago and when it turned up for sale, he had no luck getting anyone's attention. I am afraid that may be the case here too. I would still try and see if it these suggestions lead anywhere. If it were me I wouldn't care so much about the money as seeing the culprit going to jail ....... which under any circumstance is unlikely to happen.

Texasbanjo - Posted - 10/20/2022:  14:32:31


quote:

Originally posted by BanjoLink

Just about everything said here is correct, but I have to admit that I am skeptical about any federal or state agency giving a rats patoot about this or any other scam. I have a friend whose son's mandolin was stolen a number of years ago and when it turned up for sale, he had no luck getting anyone's attention. I am afraid that may be the case here too. I would still try and see if it these suggestions lead anywhere. If it were me I wouldn't care so much about the money as seeing the culprit going to jail ....... which under any circumstance is unlikely to happen.






It's guaranteed to happen if nothing is done to try and solve the problem.



Maybe there's a federal office of some sort in town that could at least give more help or at least information about what might be able to be done.  I'm skeptical, too, but doing nothing means he'll try it again and again.

Society Hill - Posted - 10/20/2022:  14:33:06


Thanks so much, great advice and insight everyone. Our credit union said that the Federal Reserve is the branch that actually moves $$$ from one account to another one and the holding bank (mine) doesn't have a chance to see or act on it. They get a copy of the processed check but there are so many digital deposits going on that most banks don't ask for a signature on the check unless you are doing it in person. At my age, I always do that but that's not the case for most of the country. The primary option here seems to be to file a fraud complaint with the local police in that town and see if it gains traction. Not only was $$$ lost and a really nice banjo not received (disappointment on my part) but I'm getting a full dose of disappointment in what some folks are willing to do. All in all, it's a good lesson to learn at my age because I was starting to think maybe I had a chance with that princess in Africa that I keep hearing from...

Thanks for all the concern, well wishes, and shared disappointment, that's why I like this group so much. I'll keep you posted if this turns out better.

BanjoLink - Posted - 10/20/2022:  15:42:39


quote:

Originally posted by Texasbanjo

quote:

Originally posted by BanjoLink

Just about everything said here is correct, but I have to admit that I am skeptical about any federal or state agency giving a rats patoot about this or any other scam. I have a friend whose son's mandolin was stolen a number of years ago and when it turned up for sale, he had no luck getting anyone's attention. I am afraid that may be the case here too. I would still try and see if it these suggestions lead anywhere. If it were me I wouldn't care so much about the money as seeing the culprit going to jail ....... which under any circumstance is unlikely to happen.






It's guaranteed to happen if nothing is done to try and solve the problem.



Maybe there's a federal office of some sort in town that could at least give more help or at least information about what might be able to be done.  I'm skeptical, too, but doing nothing means he'll try it again and again.






Yes Sherry ...... that's why he has to try!  I actually think these sort's or crime should be an extremely high priority, since mugging people and assaulting people on city streets have lost favor of the authorities or at least the prosecutors.

Alex Z - Posted - 10/20/2022:  17:18:51


If I'm understanding the situation, the poster purchased a cashier's check.  A cashier's check specifies the payee.  If the receiving bank has paid out money for a cashier's check to someone other than the payee, then they have made a mistake.



I've been through a similar situation.  The bank doesn't want to own up to it.  But I forced the issue, "What authority did you have to pay money to someone other than the check was made out to?  You, bank, were scammed, and it was because of your failure to require proper identification.  I don't care about your ATM common practices.  So who got the money, whose account?"



That's where the lawyer comes in, to get the bank to identify the account, and that identification goes to the police.



Now, the account itself could be fraudulent.  Somebody sets up an account using a false name, false ID, false social security number, and never uses that account before or after depositing the check and taking the cash.  But there is a chance that there will be some information attached to the account that the police can trace.



 



 

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