Jae vs. Scammy Scammerton

Here in Utah we’re all about a certain online classifieds site. In fact I’ve recently purchased two end tables and a dresser via said site. And I’ve sold many a thing on this site too. It’s like Craigslist, but for some reason we all prefer our other site. It seems, classier and safer than Craigslist, but I guess that’s just because it’s a local thing.

I listed an older Mac on the site, wanting to purchase a $500 couch in the near future for a new place. I was hoping to get around $180 out of it, but since most people like to haggle prices on this thing, I figured if I got between $160~175 I’d be happy.

Well, days went by and no one called on the ad. Then someone texted me. We scheduled to meet up at one of our public trans train stations and do the exchange there.

Now before we go forward with this story, EVERYBODY including myself knows when it comes to these things deal in CASH ONLY. This was still my attitude going into this sale. I know, I know, with a name like Scammy Scammerton* you’d think I would have shied away from this one. But who am I to judge what a parent names a kid, let alone what a family name may or may not indicate?

Back to the story…

Scammy gets off the train and I show him the Mac, all its accessories, discs, etc. all still in tact. But I can tell something is up. I don’t mean something nefarious, just that my spidey-sense was saying, this guy didn’t bring the cash.

scammy07

Always trust your first instinct. Retelling this incident kills me, but on we go.

Okay, so here’s my thought process at this point. No one else has called on this computer. I’m getting a new place and unless I want to be sitting on the floor I need a couch and another $180 extra cash flow will certainly help with this. It’s a pain to meet up.

Jae: Do you have Paypal or Amazon?

Scammy: I guess we could do Amazon.

Works for me. I intended to buy the couch from Amazon anyway and a gift card amount for $180 would be as good as cash** so I decided to accept that form of payment. He had to enter a credit card (first warning), but the credit card matched his license info, both of which he very freely showed me (red flag, I’ll explain why later). He sent the order through. The first time, the internet signal for some mysterious reason (like God trying to tell me to walk away now) dropped. He sent the order through the second time, then showed me in his Gmail the Amazon confirmation email, with the amount sent to my email address exactly.

I refreshed my email, but no order had come through. His train was coming. Now was the moment of truth? Do I insist he stay until the email confirmation comes through or trust that because I saw it in his account it will come through?

You don’t need to wait for your own email confirmation.

Yes, friends. I got Jedi mind-tricked. I let the Mac go before getting a confirmation. And now I’m out of what might have been $180.

Just kidding!

But only about being out $180, not about being Jedi mind-tricked. I guess I should call it Scammy mind-tricked. Either way.

Back to the story…

This exchange went down on a Thursday. I texted him that night, saying the payment still hadn’t come through. He at least responded.

scammy05

But then all weekend I heard not one word. You better believe I was leaving messages, searching on Google, realizing I should have been more judgmental about a name like Scammy—I even called up a friend who was a cop to get his advice. He was helpful, but honest aka things were looking grim.

I called the police officially to report a theft, but they told me because I had accepted being paid via Amazon it wasn’t technically theft but a “missed payment.” The officer I got to work with was pretty nice and suggested I call Amazon about it (which I did, but without Scammy’s info or an order number—also which I was kicking myself for not getting—they couldn’t tell me anything). But at the end of the day that’s all the officer could do…or was willing to do. The only option left to me, he said, was small claims court.

Well fan-frickin-tastic!

You know that whole it-could-never-happen-to-me attitude? And you even think you’ll never have that whole it-could-never-happen-to-me attitude, which is an irony in itself it seems? Yeah, I got scammed. By Scammy Scammerton. But the worst thing for me was having no choice but to mentally beat the jujubes out of myself for being stupid—stupid—STUPID!

But thanks to some support from friends, family, and especially the BFF, I had the mental fortitude to keep on moving.

scammy08

I tied on my fighting bandana, flipped on some Ben Folds Five, and resumed leaving messages and texts while I looked into what small claims court would take. I’d heard nothing for four days, and finally with threats of court I got a response.

scammy04

Now he very well may have gone on out town. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. But I constantly put myself in his shoes and came to the same conclusion: if I was concerned about getting someone paid, I’d have them paid. Conclusion? He didn’t seem all that concerned about getting me paid. And why should he be? He has the computer.

Well, he couldn’t meet up “tomorrow,” it would have to be Thursday, only a WHOLE WEEK after he’d had the computer. Just as I’m heading over to the station to meet up with him he sends this message:

scammy01

I know at this point some of you may be wondering why I wasn’t a bit more explicit/angry in my texts. Well, I figured these text message exchanges would end up being my evidence for small claims if indeed I had to take it that far. I wanted the judge to see me as being more than reasonable so the judgement would go in my favor. Plus part of me thinks in situations like this to keep the emotion out of it. Seems like perpetrators get off on our being emotional, like it gives them control. I wanted to be the adult in the situation.

But at at this point I was also beyond any and all patience, so I asked him directly: Are you scamming me? Should I file court papers tonight? And to let him know I was serious, I sent him this message, with an attached pic of the small claims papers filled out with his information.

scammy03

Well, the next day he revealed he didn’t like being called a scammer. Not one little bit. Scammy, sure, that’s his name. But a scammer. Oh no. That’s where he draws the line.

scammy02

I said it needed to happen TONIGHT. And then I called my brother. If I were going to meet up with Scammy, well, I wanted a witness with me in case he did anything crazy. Or in case he tried to bring suit against me for things that didn’t happen. Either way, it’s always good to have a witness in cases like these.

Anyway, Scammy lives nearly an hour away from where we originally met up. Since my brother lived closer, I sent him and his friend to meet up with Scammy, and ladies and gentlemen, yes, I did indeed get the computer back.

And that dear friends, is how Jae fought back against Scammy Scammerton and won. But I’ve learned a lot about scammers and how they operate. I’m sure eventually some of this will show up in a story somewhere. Obviously I’m just grateful it’s over. Maybe Scammy really did intend to pay me. Somehow I doubt it, but let that be a lesson to all of us. Make up your mind on how you’ll behave in a certain situation and stick to it. Sure, it would have been a pain for me to meet up with Scammy again with cash. Maybe he still would have pulled the same crud as before. But it’s sure less hassle than all of this. I’m hoping this was in preparation for some future event where getting Scammy mind-tricked would have been far more disastrous than $180.

But for the rest of you, I’ve decided to create an info graph so you know the signs of a potential scammer. Enjoy!

don't get scammed

Have you ever been scammed? Or have you ever nearly been scammed? Do you ever beat yourself up for wrong turns you wish you could go back and correct? Did you learn anything from my experience? Do you now have Ben Fold’s Five stuck in your head?

*His name wasn’t really Scammy Scammerton. 😉
**When selling stuff like this, nothing is as good as cash. Take cash ONLY. Learn from my experience.

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27 thoughts on “Jae vs. Scammy Scammerton

  1. Wow… that’s a life experience 🙂 hahaha
    And I was loving the fact his name was Scammy. Man… I wise it was.
    Now… I remember when I was there and people all over always said “Utah is one of the easiest states to get people scammed.” I saw some being that naive. At least you didn’t get into those pyramid crazy scams, right?

    • Nope. No pyramid scams for me. Even if they weren’t scams I have no interest in constantly hitting up friends and family to buy some crap they don’t want. Know what I mean? Yeah, we’re nice people here in Utah. Well, now I come extra skeptical. Watch out scammers! 😉

  2. Way to kick ass and take names, Jae. I was scammed long ago on eBay when purchasing a computer and using a money order as payment (this was before Paypal was so prevalent). It’s a cruddy feeling so I’m glad to hear everything worked out for you.

    • Awww, sorry you got ebay scammed. Thank goodness for Paypal these days huh? I almost did get ebay scammed, but I mentioned contacting the Post Office and that they were investigating it. A few days later my package showed up, interestingly enough stamped with the date of our email correspondence.

      But it is very much a cruddy feeling. I lost sleep over it and the cold I was getting over at the time came back and wiped me out. I really didn’t think it would turn out like it did…. Even though it’s been nearly a week since I got the computer back, I’m still constantly repeating to myself over and over: cash only.

  3. Ah, the it-could-never-happen-to-me attitude. I lost all my euros on a school trip to France when the teachers had specifically said “wear your money-belts so you don’t leave your money anywhere…”
    Sorry to hear about this, but thanks for sharing.

  4. I haven’t but I’ve received the email response on Craigslist asking me to pull ad because they have every intention of buying the item if I’lll just mail it to them or some other nonsense. I report those but I know the feeling of getting excited when an ad ignored finally gets attention. Thanks for sharing this life experience to help the rest of us navigate the Scammy Scam Waters.

    • Ugh, we could use a little less scam in the world. Live and learn I suppose. I’ve gotten dumb emails via Craigslist too. Please to can I buy this item? No disrespecting those who don’t speak English well, but those are typically tells for me.

  5. I would totally let a giraffe scam me…just for the record. I mean, look at those big brown eyes! 😉 I’m glad everything worked out well – way to be persistent. I think a lot of scams work because people just drop it and aren’t willing to follow through, so good for you for doing that.

    I haven’t really been scammed before, but I have discounted clients for my business because of sad stories, and then later discovered they didn’t need the discount at all, they just preferred not to pay so much. Ah well. I’m a bit of a sucker for sad stories. : /

    • You should create an even sadder story to throw back at them why you can’t discount or why you should be asking for more but you just don’t think you can do it. If you ever do I want to see a blog post about it. 😀

  6. During my last few job searches, I have been disheartened by the great amount of scams not only on Craigslist, but on other sites. When I was teaching people how to get jobs, I created a portion on Spammers and how to avoid them – I think it works the same for people buying or selling things.

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