Please help! Fraud victim

Discussion in 'Community' started by keltorsori, Dec 1, 2002.

  1. keltorsori macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    #1
    I recently was the victim of a fairly large fraud ($3000 for me is a lot of money). A man in Chicago bought a brand-new Powerbook 867 with a ton of extras from me Fedex COD (certified funds). Everything seemed OK, I've done this several times before with no problems. I even talked to the guy on the phone before I sent it out (I have his number). Turns out the cashier's check I got back was forged, phony, fraudulent. No such bank even. So now I'm out not only my computer, but also the $3000 and now my finances are in complete disaster area since I had already spent a good deal of the money on christmas shopping.

    My question, and plea for help:
    I figure this guy had the package sent to a drop, doing a reverse lookup on the address yields three phone numbers. Doing a reverse on the phone number he gave me, it turns out is a Nextel cell-phone, so I can't get a valid address without paying a private investigator. I've already filed police reports in Chicago, IL and New Orleans, LA (where I live). What I need help in is getting this guy's real address from his cell-phone. If there are any PI's out there or anyone with Nextel who can help, please let me know. Chicago PD isn't really going to do anything about this and I've got a trip coming up to Chicago, I thought I might at least try to track the guy down, at least have him arrested.

    If you have any assistance or can help me in any way, please let me know. I'm a student and this much money is going to put me under.
     
  2. arn macrumors god

    arn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2001
    #2
    wow... that sucks...

    One thing to remember is that the cellphone may have been created under someone else's identity... so it's possible, even if you do get an address from it, it may be someone else's identity.

    Depends how saavy the crook is, I suppose.

    arn
     
  3. medea macrumors 68030

    medea

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2002
    Location:
    Madison, Wi
    #3
  4. keltorsori thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    #4
    The name signed for was Paul Smith, but the emails were sent by Steve Matthews. When I talked to him on the phone, that's who I asked for. This is why I need a reverse lookup on his cell number, so I can get his real name/address. I know there are the "spy" services, they are expensive (hey, I'm already out $3000), and I'd be more comfortable hiring a PI in that case.

    Thanks to everyone for your replies.
     
  5. keltorsori thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    #5
    I get the impression that he's not that saavy, it would be stupid for anyone to give out a real cell number to anyone (prepaid would be the way to go). Plus, Nextel does background/credit checks on everyone, it would be difficult to setup fraudulently. But then again, my intuition obviously hasn't been that on recently. But if I have to knock on every door in Chicago to get my computer back, I'll do it. :mad:
     
  6. G4scott macrumors 68020

    G4scott

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #6
    I'd say use that phone search thing. For $85, I think it's going to be the cheapest way to find who this guy is.

    Do you still have the serial # for the laptop? And what were the specs and any extras that the computer had? Just a wild idea, but people who do this are usually experienced, and find some way to get rid of it, making cash. One of the fastest ways is probably through e-bay...
     
  7. scem0 macrumors 604

    scem0

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    back in NYC!
    #7
    \

    let's hope the crook is not very saavy. Let's hope he is as idiotic
    as that Nigerian Scandal person. Was it Mike?

    (some of the time, the other half of the time he couldn't remember :D)
     
  8. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    iowa
    #8
    well i hate to say this, because it sounds really mean, and i *do* feel for you, i really do... but you're screwed. there's no getting your laptop back, probably no tracking the guy down, even if you did it would be dangerous. the cell phone is probably stolen. the laptop has already been sold, i'll bet. Report the laptop to the Stolen Computer Registry if you have the serial number, at least then you'll have a chance of finding out what happens to it in the end.

    it goes without saying, use escrow next time...

    :(
    pnw
     
  9. scem0 macrumors 604

    scem0

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    back in NYC!
    #9
    I have to echo paul's 'sentiments'. It does sound like a dire cause
    but I truly do hope that you catch the guy. Someone like that
    deserves to get busted and more. Good luck catching him.:(

    [edit] $3,000 is a lot for me too :( [/edit]
     
  10. alset macrumors 65816

    alset

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    #10
    http://www.fraud.org/

    Good luck!

    My sympathy goes out to anyone who gets shafted. But over a fine piece of equipment like that... Well, I hope you get the guy.

    Dan
     
  11. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2001
    Location:
    VA
    #11
    Ok, how did you get in contact with him? Since this worked on you, I'm thinking he's done it more than once. Maybe you have to set up your own sting - advertise another machine, different specs maybe, get a new cell phone yourself, give the ad a different name to contact, etc. but its still you. If you plan it right he might try and get another one. Its a long shot, but I'm not thinking anything you do at this point is going to give you high percentages of finding him.

    Again, its all how you and he contacted each other. Good luck.

    D
     
  12. Choppaface macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2002
    Location:
    SFBA
    #12
    if you have his email addy, see if you can get some info from his ISP (or some logged IP's and then tracing to his ISP if he's using something like yahoo or hotmail) by contacting abuse@domainOfHisEmailAddress and reporting his fraudulent use of the service.

    escrow is prolly a good idea next time...

    I've heard so many failure stories of trying to get $$ or goods out of registered and active ebay users that I think it's going to be pretty hard getting anything back w/out a PI. and even if you do catch him, he might not have any $$, much less the computer
     
  13. keltorsori thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    #13
    I've used escrow in the past, its a good idea, just a major pain in the ass (2 months to get a check). But, I guess 2 months is better than no check at all :-(
    He used AOL and Yahoo, two email services that are easy to abuse.
    On the cell phone issue that someone mentioned earlier, I really don't think its stolen, he's still using it, still answering it. I've used Nextel, they're so incredibly anal about everything, if it were stolen it would have been shut by now. Thanks for the support everyone, if I don't get any leads in the next day or so, I'll probably pay a PI to get his address from the cell number.

    thanks for your support,
    Eric Smith
     
  14. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #14
    as another poster said, it's too risky to take the law into your own hands.

    the chicago cops can be jerks sometims. try them again -- you may get someone else who's sympathetic.

    try your local prosecutor, maybe s/he can do something or suggest a course of action.

    this guy has broken a number of laws and should be nailed. you could get him on forgery (and probably a number of other things), and he did it across state lines (so call the FBI, too).

    let nextel know what he did -- he used their services to commit a crime, maybe they're liable.

    at the least, they can be subpeonaed (sp?) for his contact info.

    lastly, do you have insurance?

    good luck. and don't drop this -- this guy deserves to be in jail.
     
  15. BenderBot1138 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2002
    #15
    He never "bought" the Powerbook...

    Make him another offer he can't refuse... basically try to duplicate the sale, but this time with checks in place. If he's not a one timer, you might be able to appeal to his greed.

    Did you have the check looked at for fingerprints? Maybe the package the check came in? You might have to pay to have it analysed, but criminals have usually provided their fingerprints on a previous occassion just for such special occassions as the one you are in.

    Yes you checked the bank to see if it was a phony, but did you check the bar codes etc to see if there was some method of matching? Maybe the check is something you can track down with bar code info; A bank may be able to scan the code and have it tell you who the account belongs to (keep in mind there are several major banks you may have to take the check to and explain your problem to until you get a hit). The person who did this may have picked up the check and merely altered the Checks location, leaving vital information like the bar code entact.

    If you've got the email still, post the email header here, and lets see what some tracker types can find... if you've still got Mac Access use your network utility to trace down the ISP and get the help of the head tech to zero down your mailer.

    May the force be with you, Chicago PD that is...


    :cool:
     
  16. keltorsori thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    #16
    I agree, believe me, I'm not going to drop it. I doubt I'll ever recover money or computer, but that doesn't get this guy off the hook.

    I was talking to a relative of mine who is a detective in a large metro police force, she just laughed when I mentioned the FBI. $3000 isn't even worth them picking up the phone over. I'm hoping the Chicago cops are good to their word, but again, $3000 may be a lot to me, but in the grand scheme of grand larceny, it ain't much. Actually I was impressed by the cops I talked to, they were very kind and understanding, but we'll see if that pans out. The Nextel records can be subpeoned, but only by law enforcement, again a question of time vs. outcome.

    Despite this, I'm still hopeful I can find a resolution. I'm going to keep hounding the SOB, that's for sure. I'm even sending him a christmas card to thank him for making my holidays so happy :mad:
     
  17. BenderBot1138 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2002
    #17
    Jolly Old if it Ain't Nicked...

    Might just be me... but don't you have to have an address to send a christmas card to someone? Maybe you can go to that address?

    :cool:
     
  18. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #18
    Re: Jolly Old if it Ain't Nicked...

    Is that a Christmas Card that is delivered by 2 huge men with no necks that basically says "Merry Bloody Christmas" or "Snap, Crackle, Pop"
     
  19. Thirteenva macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #19
    I'm assuming you gave the cell phone number to the police? Also try to contact AOL the guy obviously has an account.

    If you can post his email addresses, there are some people that may be able to ughhh shall we say "help you track them". Or failling that maybe someone knows the guy. I know its a small chance but maybe someone knows him or has dealt with him before and can help you.

    Also look into that address more. He had to have someone there to take the drop. Maybe drop in for a house call with some local law enforcement.
     
  20. Giaguara macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2002
    #20
    i hope you can make him be caught for that. it sucks .. :mad:
     
  21. keltorsori thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    #21
    I'm a little weary of posting too much info about the guy in public. I don't know why, but I'm sure there is a reason (its too early for me to be thinking too much). I do plan on dropping by the drop address, but at present its about 1000 miles away from me, so I was hoping before I make the trip to have a little more info with which to track him.

    Anyway, again, thanks to everyone for your support. After I have some wakeup juice I'll revisit the whole email and phone number and address issue.
     
  22. keltorsori thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    #22
    Shout out to my Chicagoland buddies

    Any chance any Chicago folk would be willing to at least let me know what kind of place this address is: 7616 S. Phillips, Zip 60649. Whether its a business, residence, or just a crack house? That's where the computer was shipped and signed for.
     
  23. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Location:
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    #23
    Have you called the FBI? I believe check forgery is a federal crime.
     
  24. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Location:
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    #24
    Re: Shout out to my Chicagoland buddies

    From this aerial photo in 1998 it almost looks like an empty lot.

    http://terraserver.homeadvisor.msn....&ref=A|7616+S+Phillips+Ave,+Chicago,+IL+60649
     
  25. Thirteenva macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #25
    have you thought about consulting a lawyer?? just to see what your options are. alot of lawyers will give a free consultation. you may want to talk to more than one.
     

Share This Page