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I have been scammed out of $7200.00
Old 05-28-2005   #1
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Unhappy I have been scammed out of $7200.00

I purchased a Canon 1DSII from some guy in San Diego. Payed him with paypal and I never received the goods. He emailed me receipts from the post office which the post office say they have no record of. I think this is a federal offense now. I have his name and number and will need to contact the authorities next week. If anyone here is in law enforcement and has some pointers for me I would really appreciate it.

The worst part is that my wife now knows of my secret camera funds
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Old 05-28-2005   #2
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Contact your postmaster as well as the police in this matter. I believe the Post Office falls under a special jurisdiction.

Of course, for $7,200 I may have to contact a family member too.
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Old 05-28-2005   #3
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Can you cancel the credit card transfer? Ask your bank for help if it was a cash transfer. Depending on your banking relationship it might help. Also, in the future keep one thing in mind - escrow, escrow, escrow
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Old 05-28-2005   #4
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Sent him money via paypal.
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Old 05-28-2005   #5
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rover, a more remote family member, I'd call my godfather to make the seller an offer he can't resist :-)
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Old 05-28-2005   #6
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Get Pay Pal involved too if you don't have relatives named Vinny or Vito.

Might as well tell everyone you can and solicit help from them, they can only say no.
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Old 05-28-2005   #7
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holy, that's horrible. Call the cops, and file with these links:

http://www.usps.com/postalinspectors/fraud/
http://www.ifccfbi.gov/index.asp

nail the *******.
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Old 05-28-2005   #8
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Knock on wood, I've been lucky so far. Only once I bought a second hand encyclopedia via Amazon Marketplace which wasn't delivered and the seller didn't respond to email.

Amazon reimbursed my money although I was way beyond the 90 day insurance period.
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Old 05-28-2005   #9
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if he is showing bogus receipts from the post office then that makes it Postal Fraud and Uncle Sugar takes a real dim view of such carryings on.... definitely talk to the post office... the Postal Inspection Service has weird kinda legal authority over such things and will definitely take an interest


anecdote.. once upon a time when i was working at the USPS Data Center in San Mateo CA i had to wait for Postal Inspector Approval even tho i had just come off a government contract requiring high level security clearances... apparently Postal Inspection Service approval trumps FBI Background Investigations.... kinda made me think of Johnny Fever's Phone Cops...

go to the Postal Inspectors
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Old 05-28-2005   #10
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Did you make the purchase through eBay? eBay has buyer protection... if it's outside of eBay, my understanding is that Pay Pal can be difficult to deal with. There was a news story on that in the San Francisco Bay Area just a few weeks ago on this very subject. If you purchased with a credit card, your credit card company offers protections on things like this, but I don't know what policies are in place for services like PayPal.

Sorry to hear about it...
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Old 05-28-2005   #11
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and if all else fails, refer to tekgypsy's sig for encouragement.
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Old 05-28-2005   #12
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i can't even imagine...yeah, cousin guido would get a call, fa sure!

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Old 05-28-2005   #13
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anyone here in san diego? the secret, international crime syndicate "rff" can arrange a hit on this scam artist.
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Old 05-28-2005   #14
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Jorge, can I ask where you met the seller? If it's at a community site like RFF or FM, the perp should definitely be called out and run out of town, in addition to bringing law enforcement into the picture of course.

Hope you get your money back soon!
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Old 05-28-2005   #15
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I Live in San Diego, but I'm not all that intimidating (even if urban kids have told me I look like a cop).

Is there any way I can help by virtue of my location? I will ask around here. Maybe I can help by seeing if the local PD has a fraud squad. No doubt having the local state and federal authorities on his a$$ will convince the jerk to cough up the funds.
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Old 05-28-2005   #16
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Same here. I am in San Marcos, north county San Diego.
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Old 05-28-2005   #17
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Jorge, there's little I can add to what has already been said. I feel awful for you and sincerely hope that you're able to either get the camera you paid for or your money back.

I also believe that mail fraud has been committed and you should receive help from the USPS in prosecuting the scumbag who did this.

Best of luck to you in getting this resolved. Keep us posted.

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Old 05-28-2005   #18
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I truly sympathize with your plight Jorge. The advice already given with regard to the postal police and investigators as well as other government agencies is excellent and I cannot add anything to that. However, one thing I can tell you. Sooner or later wives find out everything, believe me I know. You have my heartfelt sympathy as well as the hope that this will be resolved in your favor.
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Old 05-28-2005   #19
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Caveat emptor.
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Old 05-28-2005   #20
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Sorry to hear about this, Jorge. Good advise on getting at this scumbag. You need to work quickly. This guy is either a total idiot or a very shrew scam artist. Hope for the former, though the latter invariably trip themselves up.
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Old 05-28-2005   #21
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I seem to be one of the few former law enforcement types on the forum (detective sergeant, Imperial County Sheriff's Deptartment, CA). I would make an appointment to see your county attorney. Tell him you want to file a complaint (he/she will know what kind). If you live in the county call the sheriff's department and file a report (county attorney will need that). If you live in a city do the same thing. And if you have the phony USPS receipts those are the smoking guns.

If you paid via PayPal by funds transfer from your bank account, go the bank and file a fraud form. As for PayPal, I have no idea what response you'll get from PayPal.

Somebody mentioned escrow. ON a purchase of that magnitude escrow sounds like a wonderful idea.

YOu should also OUT this guy so we'll all know who he is, especially do it on the DSLR forum.

Then there are always "collection agents" who will get your money back (don't ask how) but they'll take half.

Bummer.

(and thanks for getting the forum back up)
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Old 05-28-2005   #22
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AS I look at what I just posted, it's clear I didn't add much at all to the previous suggestions. Been a long time since I was in the business, and when I was it was simple stuff: homicides, crimes of violence, armed robberies, burglaries. Fraud, however, can be complicated.
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Old 05-28-2005   #23
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I hope you used a credit card through Paypal. For such a large sum, it's a must. If you did, you can just chargeback. Your credit card company will cooperate. Now I don't know how Paypal will react though.

I do hope you get your money back, and quick. Don't see how this guy can get away with something of this sort.
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Old 05-28-2005   #24
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I would immediately initiate a dispute with PayPal and eBay; a police investigation may take a while, so explore all avenues, don't exclude any.

Sorry to hear about that, Jorge. Let's see if eBay doesn't just give lip service when it comes to buyer protection.
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Old 05-28-2005   #25
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OMG. That's aweful. I got my Hassy's stolen last summer so I feel fer 'ya.

Yes, the Post Office Police are bad ass man. No really, I had freinds in law enforcement, serious guys these feds. If a mail truck overturns and there is mail all over, it is a federal offense for anyone to pick that stuff up to clean up...you got to wait for the post office guys to do that.
Its gonna be a long road so keep us up to date.
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Old 05-28-2005   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tekgypsy
.... kinda made me think of Johnny Fever's Phone Cops...
.........................
tekgypsy,
Thanks, I hadn't thought about that WKRP skit in ages - Thanks for the good laugh, I needed that
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Old 05-29-2005   #27
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Jorge,

I'm not sure if you said how you paid via PAYPAL (either credit card or bank transfer). If by credit card, you can get a chargeback immediately by calling your credit card. If by bank transfer, I'd get in touch with the local prosecutor's office, file a police report with the local police, and also initiate proceedings with Paypal's internal redress.

But, if you paid by credit card through Paypal, you should be ok with a chargeback.

I winced when I saw your amount lost. Good luck and my sympathies.
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Old 05-30-2005   #28
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Angry

I know it's the weekend, but I'm just wondering of you've found out anything new, about this guy?

This is one of those situations all of us have worried about in the past and I'm in total agreement about calling in cousin Vinny. For this kind of money, most of us West Coasters could fly down there and have a nice chat with the bastidge.

I'm sure you've been going over everything you should have done differently in your mind a thousand times, so I'm not going to add insult to injury. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth, because these are the types of people and situations that can completely erase years of trouble-free business.

Man, I don't even know what to say. That is a freaking ton of money. I feel for you.
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Old 05-30-2005   #29
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Sounds terrible!

I recently sold an expensive radio to a guy in Germany that he didn't receive. The worst thing was when I tried to track it on the Royal Mail site the tracking number didn't exist - this put me in a very bad light.

I then wrote to Royal Mail with a photocopy of my receipt and demanded they look into it. After a month of silence they reported that the parcel had indeed been presented at the post office but had never made it to the sorting office; obviously swiped on the way. Because of this the tracking number had never entered the system - it only existed as a small sticker on a piece of paper at the post office.

If your postal system works more-or-less the same as in the UK there is a chance he has actually posted it. Can you get him to take it up directly with the post office and copy you in?

I hope you get this resolved - it must be everyones worst nightmare when buying over the net.
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Old 05-30-2005   #30
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Jorge I really hope you can solve this very soon, I don't really know what else to say... I'm sorry for you
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Old 05-30-2005   #31
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Hi Jorge,
I'm very sorry to hear your bad news. I hope you'll be able to recover your money reasonably quickly. Just last night there was a news story about an Aussie guy arrested in the 'States for internet fraud that sounds very similar to your situation. He'd managed to con people out of $120 000 before he was caught. He WAS caught though so I'm sure the FBI/Postal police will catch this thief and hopefully retreive your money.

The fact he was able to get his hands on a post office receipt book makes me a bit worried that he's probably well organised and well connected. I'm sure you know that you can't make any threats against this guy despite the enthusiasm of all of us here at RFF, best leave it to those who do it for a living.

If he's got a Paypal account he has to be transfering the money to a bank account to retreive it, so if he can't be found then whichever bank opened the account without proper ID checks might be a good place to send a polite letter from your solicitor requesting the debt be made good.

I thought SFC was the place of love and fraternity/sorority and jazz cigarettes around the bonfire? I wish I was able to hide $7000 from my wife for photo gear but I wouldn'y wish this on anyone. Good luck getting your money back but don't let this make you too upset, it could have happened to anyone.

Best wishes, Matt.
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Old 05-30-2005   #32
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Ouch!

What is Paypal's Response to this? Was this a confirmed Paypal member?

I think after reading this, everyone will start using Charge Card transfers for Payment. The credit card companies will side with the card holder and do a chargeback. I have not had to do it often, but it works. Nina had her cards stolen and the thief ran up ~$5000 of charges within hours. Most of the stuff was camera gear and electronics from Ritz and Best Buy. Those stores "ate" the loss. Also turned out that neither follwed procedures for getting proper ID's for the charges. One Credit Card company had us notarize a statement that the card was stolen, but that was the extent of it.
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Old 05-30-2005   #33
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FYI, EBAY and PAYPAL won't do JACK!!! I got scammed before and what they basically told me was "tough cookies." It's best if you do everything yourself.

By the way, if you are looking to head down to SD and rough this guy up, look me up. I'm only 5'5" but I'm always down to kick a scumbag around.=)
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Old 05-30-2005   #34
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a lot of tough talk around here.

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Old 05-30-2005   #35
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I think if it was a total con by the seller why would he even answer Jorge's email? Could be a screw-up by the post office.
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Old 05-30-2005   #36
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I'm betting on (against) the post office too.
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Old 05-30-2005   #37
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In light of a few other experiences presented here, perhaps "innocent until proven guilty" applies in this case.

This sort of thing is best left to authorities rather than a grass roots, vigillanti action. And yes, the USPS might initially go into full CYA mode.
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Old 05-30-2005   #38
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I am thinking the same thing. But the post office receipt is not even for a parcel. its for stamps. the insurance receipt is not even recorded in the comuter as being scanned. And now the seller tells me he no longer has the original receipt other than what he emailed me.
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Old 05-30-2005   #39
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Yeah, that smells like trouble, certainly sounds fishy.

Did he by chance say which Post Office it was mailed from? I know when I have made shipment through the USPS with insurance, it is scanned right there.
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Old 05-30-2005   #40
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yes. san diego. but the funny thing is i spoke with the po in san diego and described the receipt to them. they said that if the insurance number does not appear on the receipt than it invalid. guess what no scanned insurance number on the receipt.
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