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 Post subject: Scam Alert - Ema Samson
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:30 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:17 am
Posts: 42
Location: Everett, WA, US
Greetings to all:

This message is to serve notice of a scam, also as a warning to those members of USAM so to be alert to the issue and scam, and lastly, what I have received from the potential "scammers".

I recently ran an ad for a large and powerful amplifier here on USAM, Audiogon and Asylum Trader. I did received a response to the ad from not here but Asylum Trader of all places. The "buyer" asked me the following: was the item still for sale, current picture and bottom price in a phrase very similar to that with no greeting, capital letters, punctuation or at least some of the usual pleasantries that we audiophiles use (and another reason why poorly worded and spelled inquiries make my hair stand up [if I had any]). Any and all attempts by me to learn where the people were located were ignored by them, and they also told me that they would arrange shipping. The "buyer" also never "dickered" on the price, saying that the price was "good". As this amp weighs in at over 100 pounds, I was concerned about the cost of the shipping, who was going to pay and so forth. No responses other than they would arrange for shipping and would pick the item up at my residence once the payment cleared the bank. The "buyer" said they were shipping money orders to me and to let them know when they have arrived. After about six days I received two emails asking if the checks arrived; once it was spelled "cheque" and the other time "check". Again, no greeting, no punctuation, no more than four words: "have the checks arrived" and "have the cheques arrived".

Well, they did arrive today. A little background here. I am a retired detective lieutenant for a city with a population of over 120,000 and we employ over 200 police officers so we are, by most US standards, a rather larger police department. I supervised four detective units one of which was titled "Financial Crimes" so I have seen my fair share of forged documents, counterfeit money, fake IDs, etc. These money orders (MOs) were absolutely awful. My grandkids could do a better job, but to enlighten all of us, here is what I received:

The MOs were MoneyGrams (and I intended to contact MoneyGram to let them know what I got). They are improperly filled out, not signed, no watermarks, incorrectly dated, the wrong typeset used for the amount paid, just poor copies (faded ink) missing numbers, etc. Also, I was shorted (in theory) out of $500. Remember the "buyer" told me that my price was good and yet I was underpaid (even by bad forgeries). MEN & WOMEN of USAM: be good to yourselves and if you receive any correspondence where there is limited "conversation" be aware. We are audiophiles! We communicate and discuss our equipment. And too, should you receive money orders that look suspicious, contact your bank and have them review these. Contact the company such as MoneyGram and see if they are aware of scams using their instruments.

I am not quite sure how to post images so I am not going to try at this time but if an administrator for USAM wants to see what I have, please email me and I will be glad to send you images of what I have.

The scammer is using the name "Ema Samson" and Ema's email came up as "antiquebuyer20177@gmail.com. I ran that email and got nothing. I also alerted Asylum Trader and they advised me that "Ema" was not a registered member of AT at least not that they could see. Again, the letter I received came from overseas and as best as I can tell, it came from the area of Greece as the postal stamp is in Greek but the postmark is not clear. From what I have been able to gather, this "Ema" sent out several hundred inquiries on the same day. Asylum Trader shut her down but that is not to say that there will not be other attempts. This is not the usual "Nigerian Lottery" scam, or the one where the buyer sends out an email stating that their office manager or accountant sent a check for too much and when you cash the check, just send back the difference in the form of a USPS MO or something equally as solid.

I hope that this is useful to many and please! be aware. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't. While we all want to be able to trust in others, it is a lot easier to scam over the Internet as one does not have to look one in the eye, plus it is easier as well to discount questions, emails, etc. that could make the "buyer" uncomfortable or easy to identify.

Thank you for your time and attention and again, do be careful. We are a small community and like all communities, we need to be our own best protection.


Last edited by zkidd on Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Scam Alert!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:17 am
Posts: 42
Location: Everett, WA, US
I have also learned a few other things that can help. Here is the big one:

The money orders I received were copies of money orders from a well known company. I called the company and ran the MO numbers through their system. It was as I suspected: the money orders were not valid ones. So, something that can save you, the seller, a lot of grief is to call the company or agency that issued the money order or whatever and confirm with them the validity of the document.

Thank you....


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:38 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:17 am
Posts: 42
Location: Everett, WA, US
As a follow-up to what I have posted, I did speak with my bank manager today and showed her what I had received in the mail. The poor woman almost soiled herself she was laughing so hard at the quality of these money orders. But first, I do have to back up some. I have received more emails from "ema" asking if the money orders had arrived. I told her that they had, but there were several "defects" in the orders and per MoneyGram, the orders were not valid or authentic. I also added that when MoneyGram ran the serial numbers on the orders that these triggered a fraud response with MoneyGram. I figured that this would be the end of any communication with "her" but I was wrong! "She" is a persistent bugger. She told me that the money orders are valid (maybe the originals were from where they are making all the copies) and that I needed to take them to the bank and deposit them. She seemed quite insistent on this. I told her that I had indeed taken them to the bank and that the bank manager was laughing at the condition of the money orders she had sent. And at this point I stated that if she wants to make "the deal" then she needs to meet my asking price, provide me with US Postal Service money orders, provide me with an address to where the item will be shipped, who is doing the shipping, and lastly, an address and phone number for her that I can verify with either a postal service or something similar thereto. In all the correspondence I have received from "ema", I have yet to receive anything that has an address or even a country or origin. How many sales have we all made where we have no idea of where the seller lives or to where it will be shipped? Plus who sends money orders worth several hundreds of dollars without some type of mailing where one is provided a tracking number, plus a signature upon receipt to show that payment has indeed been made?
All in all, this is just plain awful, and "smelly". I hope that my postings are informative, and that they also will prevent members from being scammed out of their equipment as well as being taken for the monies that will need to be paid up to the financial institutions who will be out several hundred if not thousands of dollars.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:00 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Rio Rancho, NM, US
zkidd wrote:
I told her that they had, but there were several "defects" in the orders and per MoneyGram, the orders were not valid or authentic. I also added that when MoneyGram ran the serial numbers on the orders that these triggered a fraud response with MoneyGram. I figured that this would be the end of any communication with "her" but I was wrong! "She" is a persistent bugger. She told me that the money orders are valid (maybe the originals were from where they are making all the copies) and that I needed to take them to the bank and deposit them. She seemed quite insistent on this.


Thanks for the follow-up; much appreciated.

Are you still in correspondence with 'ol Ema? If so and she continues to ask you to deposit the fake money orders, tell her you did deposit them. Then she will pester you endlessly to make arrangements for her agent to come and p/u your amp. Then you tell her that you'll be happy to make those arrangements but the m.o. has to clear your bank first, which will no doubt drive "her" over the edge with frustration. Then you'll probably never hear from her again....until the next time "she" tries to scam you. Scammers have short memories.

_________________
I think, therefore I am not sure.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:38 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:17 am
Posts: 42
Location: Everett, WA, US
The last and the most telling for me is this:

I told old Ema that unless she provides to me USPS money orders for the full asking price, she is not to contact me anymore. She has not. But, and this is the big "but"; if the money orders she sent to me were in fact real, would she not be wanting those back so she could redeem them for her "monies" that she laid out to get the money orders? I mean, if the MO's are in fact real, as she claims, then I am sitting on $1900 worth of money orders and she is out that money (in theory). So, once again, to me, this just shows that the money orders are as phony as the proverbial $3 bill. Otherwise, she should be screaming at me to return those money orders so she can get her funds back.

I have images of the money orders I can post or email to you should you wish to see them (this is directed to the USAM moderator).
I hope no one else has received any such offer from this lady or her kind...


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