January 20, 2012

Fact is Better: Scammed.

The Photographer, bless him, is a very, very trusting soul and he see's the good in everyone. I was given permission to relay his story - please think tenderly of him when you read it as he has beaten himself up enough over it.

The Photographer had a $100 gift card to Target that he wanted to try and sell on Craigslist for cold hard cash. So he put on the site for $90. He got two offers: the first guy offered him $60. So The Photographer counter-offered with $75 (which seems reasonable when you're offering a $90 gift card, someone wants it for thirty bucks cheaper, so you offer it in the middle. That makes sense right?).

This guy then counter-offered the counter-offer with $55.

The Photographer deleted his email.

The second offer came from an older gentleman who called The Photographer directly and told him how interested he was. He explained that he wouldn't be out of work until late, and that he was going to have his daughter pick up the gift card. The Photographer told him the general area he lived in, but forget to ask where this guy lived - it also didn't register that the guy's phone number was an out of state one. The man explained that his daughter would be out of work by 3:30 and would call The Photographer to coordinate a meeting time and place.

At 3pm, the guy texts The Photographer.

Sketchy Deal Seeker: "I suddenly don't trust you and I want you to give me the number on the card so that I can call Target to make sure there's actually $100 on it as promised. I'm not gonna send my daughter with cash to some place I don't know."

The Photographer: "I completely understand. But, I'm not gonna give you the number over the phone, 'cause I'm pretty sure you're just gonna scam me and take the money."

Sketchy Deal Seeker: "No, listen, I'm at work. We’ll do a conference call. I'll call Target, and then you can punch in the number so I won't know what it is, but I'll be able to hear the balance of it."

So they did. The guy seemed satisfied and told The Photographer he was going to send his daughter to get it after all.

Hours and hours (and hours) later nothing happens. The Photographer, suddenly feeling sick to his stomach, called Target to check the balance of the card.

It was: $0.

Somehow, the guy scammed him in the end.

The Photographer called Target and explained what had happened. The customer service lady felt really bad. She told him that the card had been used in Virginia, and there was nothing they could do to help him because he basically handed someone cash. It was his own fault for doing so. Unsatisfied, The Photographer asked to speak to someone else. So, he got the head of the gift card department. He repeated that the card had been used in Virginia - but also told him which register it was, the transaction number, and the time it had all taken place.

The Photographer then called the store in Virginia and was transferred to the manager. The Manager knew what was going on - apparently this scam has been happening a lot. They're currently compiling a list of information to catch the people doing it. He's going to have law enforcement call The Photographer in a week to discuss the situation. Hopefully they'll be able to track the guy down.

True story.

And further proof that fact can really suck (more than fiction) sometimes.