A while back I told you about a scam victim who was arrested. Stories like these always frustrate me because as a former scam victim I know the hurt and pain that you go through when you find out that you have been scammed, but these victims have that feeling plus more because they now have been arrested. They do not just face the financial recovery process that people like myself went through, but they also have to hire a lawyer to prove that they are the victim in the case and not the criminal. What happened to innocent until proven guilty?
This victim was also responding to a Secret Shopper ad.
Here is the story of this latest scam victim in her own words . . .
I responded with all the requested information the next day. Shortly after I responded to this email I was asked by a local company to come into their office for an interview. I did and became very hopeful that I would get the job. I totally forgot about even responding to the Mystery Shopper email and wasn’t really expecting to hear anything from them. I few days later I received 2 Money Gram money orders @ $998.00 each sent to me via Fed Ex overnight mail. No other documents were inside. I couldn’t figure out where these came from and was not even thinking about that one email response I sent for the Mystery Shopper position. I had read an email in my AOL inbox a week or two before that I was a part of a class action lawsuit against AOL for some “footer” issue. I assumed these checks may have been a result of the class action suit since I had 2 screen names with AOL. I attempted to call Money Gram and went online and could not get any information regarding the tracking numbers on them. NO ONE EVER EVEN MENTIONED POSSIBLE FRAUD. When I went to the Money Gram station at the local Lucky store (in the town I have lived for 34 years and am now raising my 13 year old son) to cash these money orders I was arrested immediately. I was frisked, my car searched my purse emptied all in front of the Lucky store here in the quaint little community where most people know everyone. The 3 responding officers were absolutely sure that I was some check fraud “ring leader!” They would ask me where the money orders came from, I would answer telling them that they were sent via UPS next day air but I was unsure by who. Then I was told to shut up and stop lying. One officer told me “you and I both know no one sent these to you. You made these yourself” I was then “escorted” to Alameda County Jail where I remained for the next 10 hours until my $10,000.00 bail bond (for check fraud) was processed.
Once released from jail I made it my mission to catch this dirty rotten scum bag who was responsible for what I had been through. So…..I responded to an email that he had sent to me (which I didn’t even open until about 2 days after I was released from jail) indicating that he sent the package and instructions and he needs me to follow through with this task immediately (of sending his payment via Western Union) I played along with this guy to try to obtain as much information as I could. I advised him that the money orders were cashed and to please call me as I was a bit confused about something regarding his instructions. He called, about every other minute from that moment through the next 4 days. Once even forgetting to *67 therefore I was able to obtain his NIGERIAN telephone number. He even went so far as to send me text messages!!! He thought I had his money and he wanted it. I recorded our phone conversation on my MAC I MOVIE. I tracked down the gentleman whose email address they had hacked and were using to send the initial correspondence. He lived in S. Africa and was the administrator of a fishing forum. I explained to him my situation and advised him to contact the FBI before they contacted him as I had already given them his email information on my FBI report of this incident. He was grateful that I had taken so much of my time to track him down and explain this situation to him so that he could cancel his email address they were using before they had sent any further damaging money orders out to innocent people. I thought that since the local police didn’t really care about catching these losers that I would!!
I have since retained a very good lawyer. We have met with the DA who still is unsure whether he plans to file charges against me or not. I appeared in court last week and at that time there were no charges filed yet BUT THE CASE WAS NOT DROPPED EITHER!!! I go back to court November 5th.
Ever since this happened I cannot STOP talking about it. It helps for me to get past the anger. Initially, I was consumed by researching scammers, trying to catch this guy and others like him. Then I realized that law enforcement officials are inexperienced and unequipped to handle situations like mine. They are not interested in catching the people responsible and therefore I needed to direct my ager somewhere else and for that reason, I would love to tell my story in hopes to make people aware of these scammers.