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Scammed, (almost)…

See this as a WARNING post!

…scammed(almost)!

scammed

pencil on paper

I fell for a scam today…almost!

We have been thinking about getting a little Jack Russel, since we’ve read Jock of the Bushveld years ago, a Jack russell being an equally lively loyal dog. Only still thinking about it.

Two days ago we saw, quite by accident, an ad on the internet for a Jack Russel puppy who was to be given away, due to circumstances. What made us look closer, was that it was in Monceau sur Dordogne, which is just around the corner from Puy d’Arnac and we could easily drop in to have a look at Doggy. .

So we answered.

Got an email back from Almari Dubelle, saying how pleased she was to receive our interest. She went on lovingly to describe her circumstances and last night I replied back, asking some questions, demanding the little femelle, suggesting we will come and have a look next week when we are in Correze etc, etc, etc… ending off by saying how much we look forward to seeing the doggy and I even attached some photos to show that the doggy will live in cared- for surroundings, go hiking with us, play with our cats and goodness knows what fun more!! So, off the mail wnet to Almari Dubelle in Monceau sur Dordogne!

About 30 minutes later, I get an abrupt and rude email back, without a thank you or any decent manner, no answer to any of my qustions, only retorting that the dog is sort of already in transit! I STILL believed everything is cosher, even felt bad for probably making her assume we are taking the dog!

So I thought: “Oh, well, we DO want a doggy, Well accept it and love it, seeing she went through all the trouble, PAYING for the transit and all.”  I was just so grateful it wasn’t the  rude Almari Dubelle in transit I’d have to accept!

So. This morning EARLY I get an email from the transportservice:  airlinestransport@ymail.com, saying the dog will be delivered at our house this afternoon at 15:00, but they are waiting for the receipt of transfer of 85 euros to:a Hermann Gandaho in Porto novo, Benin and the dog would arrive from a Melanie Pieschot, somewhere in Togo, Africa. They even advised me to say the transfer is for a friend, which would make my  taxes cheaper!

“How very kind!” I thought!

By now you can start laughing, because I did indeed storm off to the post office , completed a mandat western union, paid the 85 euros and 13 euros postal taxes and the electronic transfer happened immediatelybefore my eyes.

And just there, clarity struck my mind as fierce as the lightning on late afternoons in Corréze. I immediately realized this was a hoax. There was NO Jack russel, or any other dog! It was all about getting that transfer money and I would be the  duck. In the course of a second everything flashed through my mind, much like I think your whole life would flash before your eyes in your last minute on earth..

Everything about this whole affaire suddenly made sense…the emails, the weird requests, the even weirder behaviour…everything fell into place.  I immediately asked my adorable agent at the post office to stop it. Too late. But because we were so quick on it, we were able to block it and OF COURSE I called back my extremely-friendly- dog- owner-donor at +22993057106, telling him to go ahead and deliver the puppy, we are anxiously waiting! So he demanded me to immediately scan and send the receipt, they need the account number to complet the paperwork? Really? We would then have our doggy by the afternoon. Really? (I can afford to be smirky now…I’m not stupid after all…sic)

I told him affectionately…we were good friends by now, remember….that I will personally hand the receipt to the agent dropping off doggy this afternoon. Mr Agent can even have a coffee, while we quickly  email the details, doggy can have a whee and if all is in order, Mr Agent can leave and doggy can stay behind at his/her new home and everybody will be happy!

Well. His stories got longer and the explanations complicated as to why it can’t work that way.  That was that. He didn’t get his money. We didn’t get Doggy.  Hartman took me for a coffee and I bought ink cartridges for the printer.

On arriving  home, I ran upstairs to check these emails of the last two days, not willing yet to let it go. Did some searching on the images and links of the so-called transport company  and found the images were somewhere downloaded from “Loisir et Sport” , the text and titles were taken from “liensutiles”(both of which you can google) and several other sites which were used in this “probably photoshopped document”.

I am very low this evening. Sad about nog having our Jack Russel, angry with myself for being SO gullible and stupid. But my biggest sadness and disappointmentare are in this world and the fact that people like this exist AND they get away with what they do. I almost let them get away with it.

So what does this all say about Internet? I ‘m not sure.

One thing is for sure. For me personally, this happened to make me more careful about how I use the Oh, so handy Internet! I was always careful and wary of it. But then, slowly and  surely I started loosening up and getting slack..

Well, I’m back to being the secret agent, keeping myself to myself and watching it with an inspective eye. .

My last word is one of warning. Laugh at me, mock me, ridicule me  for being SO gullible and naive and ignorant, but when you’re done….watch your step around the Internet!!

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13 responses

  1. this happens a lot because sadly people think that anyone with a dog is trustworthy :/ at least you realized in time and they didn’t get any money. its very easy to fall for this scheme so no ridiculing from me :)

    there has to be some rescues in the area for Jask Russels, be better to go through one of them if you can find one. Most are all right, but you will get ones that are pretty bad :/

    June 6, 2009 at 9:05 pm

  2. It’s so easy for us to feel a sense of safety when we build online relationships, we trust the people we speak with and over time get complacent about others who may not be so trustworthy. A good lesson to remind us all to be a bit more wary in our internet dealings. Thanks for sharing Ronelle.

    June 6, 2009 at 9:16 pm

  3. As you say, the worst sadness is that these people exist, and ordinary, trusting people are ripped off, not because they’re stupid, but because they’re nice, and trusting – though its just because you were so friendly and accommodating, that you exposed the treachery, eventually! Unfortunately these skelms ruin things for honest people trying to do business on the internet – thanks for the reminder to be careful!

    June 6, 2009 at 10:00 pm

  4. annie

    Not gullible, naive, nor ignorant, Ronell– it takes time ti process something thoroughly for all of us. A reminder to be careful is good for all of us. We may catch on but too late. The people I worry about the most are the very elderly who fall for scams over the phone (which is more confusing to process quickly than reading something on the Internet) about their Social Security or Medicare or banks, and they give out their Social Security # before they realize that it should not be requested over the phone.

    Disappointing about that enticing little Jack Russell. As I read on, her little face and bright eyes kept getting clearer and clearer in my mind.
    annie

    June 6, 2009 at 11:52 pm

  5. This is why I love your blog so much. In a span of days we go from magnificent plein air paintings and wonderful tales of idyllic days in the country to a quaint little sketch and a tale of ‘almost got taken’ You had me on the edge of my seat with this thriller! What fun it is to visit you!

    June 7, 2009 at 4:55 am

  6. Pat

    I agree. What fun to visit your blog? You shared your life experience in order to save all of us from doing the wrong thing and falling for a scam. We do get lulled into believing and looking for the best in people but I think we are the better for it. I would much rather get taken then to be so wary of the evil in this world not to take advantage of all the wonderful and beautiful blessings. Now because of you we know that we need to be careful. Thank you and I hope you get your Jack Russell soon.

    June 7, 2009 at 9:41 pm

  7. Poor Ronell, You should not feel bad. People bet bilked of thousands of dollars by just trusting in the worth of human beings.

    YOU have nothing to feel bad about. Those *&^%% of the earth will hopefully get what’s coming to them. You should report them to your local law enforcement officials so they don’t do this to anyone else. AND it;’s against the law!!!!

    June 8, 2009 at 2:25 am

  8. oh what a story Ronell! good thing you caught it in time…. lousy that there are people like that in this world — it reminds us all to always keep watch.

    June 10, 2009 at 1:47 am

  9. oops… I also WANTED to say — cute sketch!

    June 10, 2009 at 1:48 am

  10. Ronell, I’m sorry you got tangled up in this scheme, but luckily caught it in time.

    It amazes me too that people have the nerve to do this to others, to take advantage of others good nature and trust.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:27 am

  11. sue

    Wow! What a story. You hear about things like that every day, but as you say–if you yourself are not a mean-spirited, abusive person, you want to think others are not as well. It’s sad. I can see why, in your state of excitement over the possibility of the dog, you’d have fallen for it–I’d probably have done the same. I’m glad you were able to realize it all in time. How creepy! I find myself often not opening emails that I’m “just not sure about.” It is sad that we all have to be so cautious, isn’t it?

    That said, I just love all your artwork!

    June 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm

  12. VAss

    Omg!!! the same thing just happened to me!
    I had posted an add on Kijiji that i was looking for a car.
    Five days later Mathia Lonbrus wrote to me that they were giving their car…and what a coincidence…they were giving the exactly same car i was looking for. Now this morning i also received a message from airlines.transports@ymail.com saying”Mathia” was paying the 915 euros of shipping and i’d recieve it a 18:00. I had to pay 450 euros to westurn union in order to HERMAN GANDAHO in BENIN and that saying i was his friend would cost less in fees…YA right.
    After seeing this i realized that this is absolutly fake…and the Mathia avoided to me that her name is Melanie Pieschot.
    My dad and I will call the police to retrace them since it haven’t happen to only one person!!

    June 27, 2009 at 9:01 pm

  13. Rosemary

    Ronell, I will not laugh at you, mock you, or ridicule you for being gullible and naive and ignorant. In fact, you are more savvy than my husband!

    Last year, we were bilked out of about US$2,250 because of an email my husband received from a colleague/good acquaintance. The email told us that he had taken a youth group over to London, but that his wallet with all his money, credit cards, contact addresses, etc., had got stolen and he was desperate for money [about 2,000 pounds] to pay their hotel bill. My husband greatly respects this fellow, so we decided that we could part with $200 as our contribution, and assumed that other people would rally round him too. I was the stupid one whose task it was to withdraw the money from our savings account and send it to a London address via Western Union.

    Unbeknown to me, my husband received another email, begging for $2,000 more. I assume he was told that this money would be repaid when the victim arrived back in the USA. This time, without discussing it with me, my dear, silly husband [who has a Ph.D., so should have some brains inside his head] sneaked off and SENT THE MONEY!!!!

    He smelled a rat only on receipt of a third, less courteous email from his supposed good acquaintance, demanding yet more money. He finally did what he should have done in the first place – phoned someone else who knew this fellow to see if he really was in London. Of course, the fellow was not, but his email address book had been hacked into.

    The only good thing to come of all this is that when my niece was stranded in the USA without any money, I knew exactly how to send her an emergency supply via Western Union until she got a replenishment from her father in South Africa.

    July 13, 2009 at 3:13 am

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