Getting scammed, hurts all over.

Okay so it wasn’t me, it was my significant other. Background, our daughter is autistic and we buy a lot of her therapy “toys” online. My SO found a bundle pack of toys, books, equipment all for $500 on a autism specific forum for sale by another parent, or so we thought. We sent out a check, waited patiently for the items. When a month had passed with no one answering emails I realized we’d been hosed.
Out 500 is hard enough but the worst is happening now, got not one but two shut off notices, and bank overdraft statements after frantic calling on how/why we where informed that utility payment checks had bounced. Today went to our banks main office seems someone had recently cashed a check for 5000 the bank pulled out of our savings to cover the check, dwindled our savings down to nothing which resulted in the overdrafts to the utilities as well as a fat fee from the bank.
Now we are talking to the police department (being informed that they “may be able” to do something but it will take time) and the banks security division lending a “hand” rather than giving the money back which once they see the forgery should be done right? We have carbon copy checks and for the person to do what they did they had to do some massive changes. I showed them to the security guy at the bank and he pretty much waved it away.
Now electric is being shut off, they can wait only 10 days, and extend it another 10 so if I don’t get this corrected by the 28th I’m hosed again. They can’t even hold off until the first (my next payday) said it was standard for bounced checks. No mercy I suppose. The phone on the other hand was much more lenient, and willing to wait until the first.
I admit I have made late payments but never more than 30 days, and the electric company being like that is a shame. But no other choice really but to manage a way to pay it, since our solar panels cannot completely run the house. (Wish they could then I could tell them to shove it up there asses)
All this is moot if the bank does something though, or the cops. Yes most certainly stupidity on our part, teaches again nothing on the internet is what it seems.

Wow, that does suck ass. But what’s odd is that the electric company won’t work with you to make a payment arrangement. All utility companies can do that.

The lady I spoke with said that they would’ve been able to make arrangements if I didn’t bounce the payment, but since I bounced it it was against there policy. Is it? Should I call them back and speak to someone higher? Oh please if anyone knows let me know, make this living hell a little less stressful.
ETA: I explained the situation to her while she was “nice” she most certainly made no effort to find a middle ground other than the ten day extension.

Agreed. I would call back and ask to speak to a supervisor, who should have more flexibility to handle special circumstances. Good luck with your bank.

ETA: Also, can you post a warning on the forum you contacted this individual on? Others should be warned about this unethical/illegal behavior.

The person was banned and the IP etc of the poster was faxed to me by the website owner, and given to our local PD. The same ones who didn’t exactly fill me with confidence.
I contacted the PUC and they said to expect a follow up tomorrow, either by them or the utility company, wait and see now.

This is why I only send money orders when buying things on the Internet. If someone alters one and the bank accepts it, the bank is held responsible.

I am sorry for what you are going through. Scamming someone with a special needs child is the lowest of the low.

It seems you have nothing to lose by trying. But definitely target someone higher on the food chain.

If you have a police report, I’d let the power company and anyone else know about it. That may convince them to be a bit more lenient.

Especially since there are so many scammers out there. And just flat out liars. I know someone that tried to use the excuse she was diabetic in order to get a priority turn on after a hurricane.

Are there state-level banking commissioners? or the FDIC? or someone who oversees banks? Seems like the bank is substantially at faultfor cashing a forged check.

Can you contact the postal service also? since this involved mail fraud.

How horrible. Unfortunately, most cops are a mile behind when it comes to online fraud. They just have no clue what to do. I’d focus on the bank/post office if you want results.

I’d sure be upset if my bank didn’t ask me before taking $4500 from my savings to cover a check.

I don’t understand why the police can’t do more. They have the name and address of the forger, don’t they? Or was the check sent to a PO box?

And the forger’s bank – it’s not hard to add a zero but changing the word “hundred” to “thousand”? That should have alerted someone.

   It wasn't 4500 it was closer to 3 grand out of savings, not that it changes anything. But that is the banks "over draft protection"  we still had a little bit left otherwise we would have noticed right away it was the monthly bill paying that sent it over the limit.   

As for the not noticing part, that’s the great part believe me on the copy you can clearly see no room for mistake. As I pointed out to the bank security guy.

Googling the name comes up blank, the address is in Montana, the police have all that information but as I said they didn’t seem to think my family potentially being in the dark and eating ramen noodles for a month* was that big a deal. But they are “working on it”
Putting the person who did it behind bars is second priority, finding a way to survive is first right now. That’s why I didn’t even think of the Post office approach yet, tomorrow is the day to call up the postal inspectors.
The form with my statement and time/date/witnessing officer is that my police report or is it something I have to go back to the PD to get? Tomorrow I’m taking the advice of Aunt Beast ** and faxing the police report to both the bank and the electric company.
The truly horrible part that gnaws on me the most? We sent out pictures of our daughter in a thank you card because we where so happy to have found the stuff it wasn’t cheap it was just nice to have it all in one autism set
I know the money isn’t much to a lot of people in this world but for my family it takes a few years to save a few thousand dollars, and to have it all disappear that hurts. But in reality we’ve had hard times before and survived fine, this is just one time it happened and it feels like we’re on a ski slope with no brakes.

  • We have a safe room with a ton of ramen noodles, rice, etc so starving is way off the table. “We will never need it, it’s a waste of money” is that right now honey? :slight_smile:

** Supposedly this “parent” also had an autistic child who grew out of the toys/dvds/learning software and where trying to sale it so they can get more appropriate items for there child. It just so happened it including a couple things we where looking to be getting anyway. It would’ve cost about the same 500 (450 for the items and 50 for shipping) buying it in the stores or online ourselves new, but figured helping another parent at the same time made it better.

That’s just awful.

Along with the Postal Inspector (and if the letter went across state lines, that adds another layer of “federal crime” to the fraud), have you considered going to the media, perhaps one of the consumer watchdog programs? I suspect between the documentation and an interested journalist, both the electric company and your bank may suddenly find themselves more agreeable.

This is why I recommend using (and ONLY using) Paypal for internet transactions. I’ve had nothing but good experiences when there have been any payment issues whatsoever. And, since it adds another layer of protection, if a seller / buyer won’t agree to Paypal, then it immediately trips my scam-detector.

But anyways, that sucks. Sorry to hear you got scammed.

RyJae Sorry we can’t let a doper in need get ignored. I have started a help thread here.

If anybody else reading this had the same response as I did to what this scum did to RyJae and family, please stop by and help them out.
RyJae please check your email, and private messages for a note from me. We need to talk.

RyJae You don’t have private messaging enabled, so please check your e mail.

I second going to the media. Sorry to sound cynical (because I am), but a handicapped child story is the kind of stuff they eat up. A little public interest might make the bank change their story very fast.


This really sucks, I’ll help out in the other thread.

Right on.
Also, OP, post a warning message in the same forum that you got scammed in. Someone I know spotted a scam on Craigslist, a local reporter saw, and he ended up on the nightly news.

Good God, what a lousy situation.