I was SCAM’ed – Twice

I’m mad; I’m embarrassed; I’ve had it! Deep breath… I will keep this brief but praemonitus, praemunitus (to be forewarned is to be forearmed).

I received two packages in the mail today. One I expected; one was a mystery package.

I’ll start with the mystery package. At the end of March, I saw a Facebook video ad about a woodworking tool. I do enough hobby stuff that it looked like a useful tool. The ad said, “Last Day of Promotion” [Red flag #1]; “49% OFF” [Red flag #2]; “Ultra-precision…” [Red flag #3].

I fell for it. For the reduced price of $72.93, I purchased a set of three sizes. For the record, I remember the ad showing (what appeared to be) a metal tool for measuring angles and scribing lines. As with much of what I buy, I forgot I had ordered it.

The package arrived today and was wrapped in a black bag with a LOT of tape. It was from a strange NY address. I couldn’t imagine what it might be but I have received odd packages from the orient that were never ordered. I did an quick internet search on the address and found a bunch of scam complaints about the company.

After much fiddling and feeling, one corner broke through the bag. I decided that more of the bag could now “break open”. As I fished it out I realized what it was. It was not in any way “Ultra-precision”. It is just a little better than “cheap s#!t”. Thank you Hongkong Ruifu Network Technology Co., Ltd.

SCAM number two: “Yuppie CBD”. I agree everything about the name screams scam. BTW, the definition I found for scam from Oxford is: a dishonest scheme; a fraud. The Yuppie CBD was certainly a dishonest scheme, but maybe legally on the legitimate fringe of fraud.

In a weak moment while checking my Twitter feed, I say an ad for this product. I followed the link to the web site and while reading through the benefits of “their” formulation, I saw the words “grandmother” and “arthritis” in the same sentence. My heart strings were tugged as I have arthritis in my hands.

I took the next step to see what a sample would cost. I thought it would be under $50. I filled in the form and clicked a CONTINUE button until I got to a page that said, $242. Your order has been processed. This was the first I had seen a total price.

I found several customer service numbers, all of which failed to connect. There was no-one to talk with to cancel the order. Within 24 hours I received an e-mail saying my order had been shipped. I finally contacted someone through a web contact page but was told they would only refund 50% of what I paid. (BTW, the customer service number on the contact page also failed to connect.)

The charge is now in dispute with my credit card company and I have a new card number. They told me to not open the package and refuse receipt from the post office.

My friends, we are in a war. I took some losses in the fight. But I have found four important warnings that you must beware of:

  • Don’t follow ads on social media. I will even say to be careful of platforms like Facebook Marketplace. I had a GOOD experience with Facebook Marketplace, but I’ve seen plenty of ads that couldn’t possibly be true. If you do agree to pick up an item, take a friend and meet in a public parking lot.
  • Ads or e-mails that appear to be from companies you do business with. If you see a clearance of window air conditioners from Walmart for $10 each, be very afraid. At the very least, the scam will get your personal information.
  • Texts or e-mails with invoices. Some can look very official with known company letter heads. Unless you have an open account with a commercial product distributer, you won’t be sent an invoice. Certainly not from a known company.
  • Texts or e-mails (or phone calls) saying your order is on hold and certain information needs to be confirmed. No, no, no!!!! They want personal information to steal your money or your identity.

Fortunately, my wife and I are pretty good at asking each other whether something looks like a scam. (As I was typing, she showed me an invoice for some crypto currency purchase.) But if you truly have a doubt about what you owe, contact the company directly. A Walmart or Lowes or Ace Hardware will check into a possible scam at the store.

Don’t assume you forgot to pay a bill or provide information. Rather, assume someone is out to steal your money and/or identity. It’s a war. We are all in the midst of great evil. Fight the battle with common sense and with prayer.

I would love to hear your scam stories. If you think our readers will benefit from your story, add a comment below. Thank you so much, and stay safe.

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