I'm an idiot, ended up getting frauded. Ideas?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jpcody, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. jpcody macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2008
    I know there's been some posts along these lines before. Up for discussion is not my own stupidity. I'm less stupid than this simplified version of the story makes me seem, but I'm slightly more stupid than someone who would not have done this. I'm completely aware that I should not have done this, but here goes.

    I paid for something on Craigslist with a money order.
    The person never showed.
    (I swear, they were good. I deal with people like this for a living.)

    Now, here's what I have.

    A phone number we have been corresponding with.
    A name that they used to retrieve the money order, so they had to show an ID to retrieve it (although it could have been a fake).
    Two email addresses (aol.com and live.com) we have been corresponding with.
    A hunch that they are actually fairly local with their knowledge of the area.

    I'm really looking for something in the vein of this guy who just hunted the folks down himself. I'm not going to hurt anyone, I just think I can be a bit quicker than any law enforcement help. I have fairly little trust in the law and their speed.

    Any advice on where to go from here?

    I have a reverse phone number lookup in the works, as we've been communicating on a landline. But what else can I do?

    I'll probably update often on my Twitter, so keep up with the entire saga there. I'll also be checking in here. Thanks a ton.

    By the way, if anyone is an amateur sleuth looking to cut their teeth, email me at joshcody (at) gmail (dot) com.
  2. chrismac00 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 17, 2007
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A102 Safari/419.3)

    I say just call the police because you could end up getting hurt even if you think the person was "nice"
    just my $0.02
  3. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    I agree, let law enforcement handle it. Sorry to hear you got scammed, I hope it turns out alright. Good luck.
  4. Sayer macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Did you cancel the money order?

    Actually sounds like money transfer to what, Western Union? You can pick those up anywhere with any "ID" which could be any photo card from a home fake ID lab or the same Check Cashing places that will make a "photo ID" for illegal aliens or criminals (surprise!).

    Red Flag: Please send me money remotely and I will meet up later to give the thing.

    Live and learn.
  5. jpcody thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2008
    Unfortunately, I was too late.
  6. thechidz macrumors 68000


    Jul 25, 2007
    New York City
    you paid for something on craigslist with a money order? You were asking to be scammed...
  7. jpcody thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2008
    Haha, agreed. As I mentioned in my post. I do indeed feel dumb.
  8. mac-convert macrumors 6502a


    Nov 2, 2006
    Are we there yet?
    Yeah - don't be an idiot twice over this - do as they say. We don't want to see your next post describing your stay in the hospital...
  9. jpcody thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2008
    Yeah, I'm definitely not looking to cause trouble or even have a confrontation. Essentially I'm just wanting to locate the individual involved.
  10. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    If you are both local it is easy enough to use a Postal Money order, or convert cash into a cashier's check right at the bank if the person doesn't want to carry home a wad of cash.

    Heck give them the $5 and let them do it.

    No reason to prepay for local exchanges either.


    The only one that is complicated and can take a chunk of a day is a car transfer, since you do want the title swap and have the money pulled at their bank and immediately deposited in yours, and then spend the time and money at the DMV to change the title to their name.

    And the only reason spend the money to complete the transfer into their name is you are responsible for the vehicle until the title gets changed, or the DMV gets the name change.

    I know since I've been sacked by requests for money on a sold vehicle even after the DMV got the name change (wasn't responsible and didn't need a lawyer to get out of it, but still a pain to get requests for payments of fees and damages.) Lucky that was a 1 vehicle accident or I'd likely have been named in a personal injury lawsuit also.
  11. cohibadad macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2007
    Well I have to say that dude's story is about the coolest thing I've read in a while. I would suggest if you have the time and interest to try the same lines as he did. But note that it doesn't seem like he ever got his laptop back so it was more the satisfaction of stickin it to the con. Fun stuff. Would almost be worth getting conned to get some payback like that. Bad Boys Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do, Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come For You?
  12. jpcody thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2008
    Well, the cops were total jerks and uninterested in helping me. Not so sure what to do now.
  13. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Jan 17, 2008
    Not much you can do, unfortunately.

    Sorry to hear about your loss.
  14. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816


    Jan 11, 2008
    From Consumer Fraud Reporting:

    "You can report spams and scams that are coming from specific e-mail accounts to the providers. For example, if a scammer is using a Hotmail account to send scams or spams or receive replies, you can report it to Hotmail. Be sure to forward the e-mail and copy its headers into the e-mail you send to the provider. That helps them to trace the source.

    Write to the Federal Trade Commission: spam@uce.gov - copy them on the e-mail and explain what has occurred since.

    If you have given money to the scammers, or believe a crime has been committed, contact your state Attorney General."

    Can't hurt to try this. I recovered losses from an eBay auction ripoff by contacting my state Attorney General about 4 years ago. Good luck to you. I hope you recover your funds. I'm certain you learned a valuable lesson from this, and will still be extra cautious in the future if you do manage to recoup your losses.
  15. soms macrumors 6502


    Dec 10, 2007
    Do you know for sure they already cashed the MO? If not try taking your receipt with stop order on it to the place you bought it and have the MO stopped. If its already gone through then go to the police and give them your receipt and all your info/transaction details.
  16. jpcody thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2008
    Yeah, they for sure did already get the cash. And Moneygram has more information, but they will only give it to the cops (who don't care). Same is true with her previous employer.
  17. Oldschoolwax macrumors member

    Feb 5, 2007
    Ahh I missed your last, moneygram.... Grrrr.... Well, call and write everyone, call every shift at the police station, do not take no for an answer period! go to the police station and put up a reward sign, one box of donuts to the officer that gets your money back, be an ass, call on the half hour, ask to speak to a detective, just annoy them into action! If you stop bothering them, ignoring you is the easy way out, if you annoy the hell out of them, looking into the crime becomes the easy way out. It's work, I know but never underestimate the laziness of public servants. You've got to make shutting you up worth their while.

    "If you are in the United States ( I'm assuming ), and paid with a US postal money order, or even mailed it, it may be considered mail fraud ( if a postal money order is involved it definitely is! ) contact the local postmaster if it was mailed, as mail fraud is a federal crime and something will be done about it. Local police are often lazy, a phone call to county or state police ( going over their head ) will usually provide the kick in the pants they need to get them moving. Making phone calls won't hurt, be as big of a pest as you can be, you were defrauded, you have a right to seek justice in this matter."
  18. Eric Piercey macrumors 6502

    Eric Piercey

    Nov 29, 2006
    Perpetual Bondage
    It's your time and only you can decide what it's worth. Getting robbed brings out the worse in us and I know it's very hard to be "zen" about the lessons learned, but I'd just move on. Chances are this person pulls this scam all the time and if you pose as another sucker you might find them again, but then you could spend hours of your life and never catch up to them. Or you could catch up and get hurt or get into trouble. Your life, your time.. and yes I think these petty criminals should be beaten down, stripped of every penny, and forced to to charity work in Mogadishu - but obsessing over the whole thing can make a person nuts.
  19. jpcody thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2008
    Yeah, my time is definitely valuable to me as I'm a freelancer. But so is 1600 bucks since I'm a college student.

    I think I'm on the verge of catching this punk. I finally found a helpful detective, and I just got some good leads. With the fact that I know how to use the Internet (not sure he does) and his ability to say "I'm a cop, give me that information," I think we're right there.

    Public records and social networks have pretty much taken us right to the punk.
  20. cohibadad macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2007
    keep us posted. I wanna hear how justice was served. It is easier to just move on but these scammers are usually serial scammers and won't stop until someone stops them. So good for you. Hope it all works out for you.
  21. runplaysleeprun macrumors 6502a


    Jul 27, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    best of luck, $1600 has got to hurt.
  22. jonswan macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2007
    Yes, I'd say don't stop until this vermin is caught. Keep all records of what has gone on including hard copies of everything. You want your money back, but you (and we all) want this scumbag caught and punished so that he stops doing what he's doing. As much as I'd want to personally hurt the guy badly, going through the police is the smart way.

    How you could fall for this trick is astonishing though, as you seem from your posts to be a bright bloke. I've almost been scammed a few times (Macs which are much lower priced, that 'send me the money first' crap). Hopefully your story will stick in people's minds to be very careful as there's so much truth in the 'if it sounds too good to be true it usually is' axiom.
  23. jpcody thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2008
    Yeah, thanks a lot for that reply. I'm currently trying to do as much work as I can on my own, as the police seem to have an aversion to work.

    Here's what I've got: the individual was using an alias, and I found their original name, a previous place of residence (and the landlord), a previous employer (who is talking to their attorney to see how much information they can give me), a MySpace page, a Facebook, their college and Greek organization, the only two possible locations they could have gotten the money and their birth date. I'm working on their original IP address.

    Anyone have any more suggestions for places to search or things that are readily available? I've exhausted property records and social networks...
  24. jpcody thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2008
    I'm not sure if you're also the one that let me know this on Twitter. I deciphered what I could from the extended headers, but I've heard AOL masks IPs for their senders; do you know if this is true?

    Also, since I'm on a Mac, I can't run the Active Whois they list on that site. Nor can I install the FF extension without Windows.

    If you're running a Windows machine with Active Whois, could I shoot you an IP address to check out for me?

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