Posts Tagged ‘internet scam’

tenacious

Thursday, June 25th, 2009
We had a deal!

"We had a deal!"

The Mystery Shopper saga continues, with the walls closing in. Sure, the whole thing seemed like a scam, what with ol’ Ginger Prior instructing me to take a $4800 cashier’s check and deposit in my bank and then — after keeping $400 for myself (so generous) — I was to take the remaining $4400 to a MoneyGram store (any MoneyGram store, incidentally, whichever one was closest, thereby seemingly negating the focused critique of the Mystery Shopping evaluation [unless, of course, MoneyGram is investigating problems with *every single location in their franchise*]) and send the $4400 to a certain “Retta Hutchins” in Gallopolis, Ohio.

hey, people, now, smile on your brother

from sea to shining sea

Well, this seemed to have SCAM written all over it, especially with the check arriving in an envelope with a chicken-scratched return address of a company that seems to no longer exist (and also one that is not called anything even close to “Mystery Shoppers”). The envelope was apparently sent from Michigan, the check was from Texas, the money was to go to someone in Ohio. So very scammy. I laughed at the audacity of the scam and went on with my life.

Then my phone rang. From a blocked number.

Can you hear me now?

Can you hear me now?

Well, I’m curious by nature and have also been applying to a shitload of jobs and chasing down some freelance stories, so I answered. That’s when a man with heavy accent explained that he was none other than Bill Johns, the man whose chicken-scratched name adorns the Mystery Shoppers/General Dynamic Systems/University Federal Credit Union cashier’s check. Now the creepiness of the scammer(s) writing out my name and address is compounded by the fact I’m actually talking to the motherfucker.

so... what are you wearing?

"so... what are you wearing?"

He wants to know why I haven’t cashed the check yet (not why I haven’t sent in my report). I want to know who General Dynamic Systems is. He’s evasive. I insist. He asks, “Oh, is that the name on the check?” I explain, no, that’s the name on the envelope; there’s a different name on the check. So who is General Dynamic Systems? He asks me to take out my earpiece (for some reason; I am not wearing an earpiece). I thought maybe I had accidentally pressed the speaker phone button, so I take the phone away from my ear and glance at it, but everything seems to be in place. When I return the phone to my ear, the line is dead. Oh, well, I guess I called his bluff, I figure.

But then shortly after, I receive this email:

Subject: Re: Mystery Shopper Evaluation
From: Ginger Prior (Add as Preferred Sender) ?
Date: Fri, Jun 19, 2009 4:35 pm
To: perry@perrycrowe.com

Hello Perry Crowe,
The payment issued out to was to be delivered via ups with the tracking number (j2291781876),amount $4800 and i have sent you the information and details on how to go about the task , so do get back to me with the report as requested i will be waiting to read from you soonest.

Regards
Ginger Prior

Which is almost immediately followed by this email:

Subject: Instructions Mail Once Again
From: Ginger Prior (Add as Preferred Sender) ?
Date: Fri, Jun 19, 2009 4:35 pm
To: perry@perrycrowe.com

Perry Crowe,
payment for the evaluation of Money Gram services has been mailed out and will be delivered via UPS today. You are to cash the Check of $4,800 at your bank and head to any MoneyGram location in your area. You are expected to Evaluate any MoneyGram Location in your
area and send your report immediately.

HOW TO CARRY OUT THE TASK

After cashing the payment you will deduct your $400 commission, after which you will be left with $4,400 , You are now expected to head to
your location with $4,400. MoneyGram will charge you about $150 for the transfer. We expect you to bargain with the operator concerning
the charges to see if it can be reduced or not . After all deductions you are expected to transfer about $4,250. The funds should be sent to
Gallopolis, OH. the name of our Receiving agent in Ohio is below

Name : RETTA HUTCHINS
Address : 815 3rd ave
City : Gallopolis
State : Ohio
Zipcode : 45631

come on... take it!

"come on... take it!"

I figure the email is just sort of a last resort, like, well, explaining things over the phone isn’t working, so we’ll pretend there were some technical difficulties and then just re-send the emails and hope he goes for it. Naturally I just ignored the emails.

Then, holy shit, my phone rings today, this time from Georgia, from 678-932-8667 no less. I pick it up and, right off the bat, this guy — again with a thick as molasses accent (Latino? Arabic?) — is on a first name basis with me: Perry? Yes. This is Ginger Prior from Mystery Shoppers.

Ginger

Ginger?!?!

Ginger is man? Yes, Ginger Prior is a man. Can “Ginger” be a man’s name? Maybe in Tenochtitlan, or Abu Dhabi. I start to feel bad, thinking of the incessant teasing he must’ve gotten in the school system. I also feel bad because, well, this scam is coming apart at the seams but this guy is holding fast.

The connection is really bad and the accent is really thick, so I literally can’t understand a lot of what Ginger is saying, but the gist, as expected, is why I haven’t cashed the check yet. I again inquire about General Dynamic Systems. His answer is a little evasive, but he manages to say something about GDS being a “client” in Michigan (which still doesn’t explain why the check is from Texas [and it also doesn't explain why GDS is listed as "closed" in a google search]). I begin to lecture the guy about how asking someone to deposit a large check into their bank account and then use that money to wire funds to an unknown party is, frankly, asking a lot, especially when none of the received documentation contains anything bearing the name of the company you were supposedly doing business with in the first place. Still, Ginger insists that all these concerns are nullified by the fact that the emails explained how this was all going to go down, the part about the fat check and the bank deposit and the money transfer. Using similar logic to a certain writing contest, Ginger seems to think that if you explain how you are going to fuck someone over, the fuckee has no recourse. All in all, if someone insists on thoroughly explaining something to you, and money is involved, they are almost certainly preparing to do you dirt.

Well, the connection was really bad, and Ginger was unyielding (even while being almost impossible to understand), so I offered to send the check back and when Ginger didn’t seem interested in that, I dropped a few hints about how suspicious this whole thing was and how maybe I should report it to someone and then insisted that “it wasn’t going to happen” and hung up.

Will that be the end of it? I would say yes, but Ginger has already surprised me on a few occasions.

Why havent you cashed the check yet?

"Why haven't you cashed the check yet?"

the plot thickens

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
dolla dolla bills, yall

it's a gas

This morning I finally got a reply from Ginger Prior, that minx:

Subject: FINAL INSTRUCTIONS ON MONEYGRAM EVALUATION
From: Ginger Prior (Add as Preferred Sender) ?
Date: Wed, Jun 17, 2009 8:52 am
To: perry@perrycrowe.com

Perry Crowe,
payment for the evaluation of Money Gram services has been
mailed out and will be delivered via UPS today. You are to cash the
Check of $4,800 at your bank and head to any MoneyGram location in
your area. You are expected to Evaluate any MoneyGram Location in your
area and send your report immediately.

HOW TO CARRY OUT THE TASK

After cashing the payment you will deduct your $400 commission, after
which you will be left with $4,400 , You are now expected to head to
your location with $4,400. MoneyGram will charge you about $150 for
the transfer. We expect you to bargain with the operator concerning
the charges to see if it can be reduced or not . After all deductions
you are expected to transfer about $4,250. The funds should be sent to
Gallopolis, OH. the name of our Receiving agent in Ohio is below

Name : RETTA HUTCHINS
Address : 815 3rd ave
City : Gallopolis
State : Ohio
Zipcode : 45631

NB :

We expect you to be very vigilant and time cautious while you carry
out your task. The following should be put into consideration the
following

(1.) Overall time duration of the transfer

(2.) Exact time the funds was transferred

(3.) Customer service performance and customer friendliness

Every activity of Mystery Shoppers remains a secret between you and
Mystery Shoppers. As as the company reserves the right to every
documentation and information which you gather on behalf of the
company.

YOU ARE TO GET BACK WITH THE FOLLOWING DETAILS

(a) The 8 digit transfer code or Reference number and the exact amount
sent after the transfer was made (this should be to the nearest cent)

(b) A comprehensive and detailed report should be sent my email
immediately you evaluate the location. Additional remarks or comments
will be appreciated in your final report.

(c) The name and address of the locations should be added along with
the name of the attendant .

We expect you to get it done immediately, so we can file our report to
meet our deadline. I will be looking forward to your report.

Ginger Prior
Mystery Shoppers

Your mission, if you choose to accept it...

"Your mission, if you choose to accept it..."

And, sure, enough I walk to the kitchen a little later and this envelope had been slid under my door:

time is money

it's what's inside that counts

They splurged and went with Next Day Air. Hmm, maybe they are legitimate. But I’ve always been a little suspicious of chickenscratch. Like it denotes a diseased, rudimentary mind at work. Like Gummo. Or a Troma film. I’m not saying the people behind Gummo or Troma have diseased or rudimentary minds. Just that the end results feel like being raped by Sloth from the Goonies.

Hey, you guys (Im going to force myself on you)!

"Hey, you guys (I'm going to force myself on you)!"

Still, I wanted to see this scam in its totality, so I tore open the envelope and feasted my eyes on a $4,800.00 cashier’s check:

the poisoned apple

the poisoned apple

Okay, suddenly I’m not only dealing with Mystery Shoppers, an apparent division of General Dynamics Systems (of Sterling Heights, Michigan)…

View Larger Map

…but the money is coming from University Federal Credit Union in Austin, Texas…


View Larger Map

And the check is signed by Bill Johns (more chickenscratch), and has a remitter by the name of Manuel Alejandro Munoz.

And, of course, the check is actually made out to “Perry Browe” (pronounced “bro”), which is a pretty cool name. I wonder if it would prohibit me from being able to deposit the check. Not that I would. No, I’m afraid this is the end of the line for you and me, Ginger Prior. You have a fun, kinda saucy name and I can imagine you coming to the main stage, but then I think you would get there and you would be some guy named Bill Johns and you would knife me in the face.

would you fuck me?  id fuck me.

"would you fuck me? i'd fuck me."

I feel kinda good about getting these guys to sink the money into sending this check next-day air, and I wonder if they’ll follow up with me when I never cash the check. It’s just creepy to see the physical evidence of these scammers’ existence, thinking about Ginger Johns hunched over a desk, scratching out my name and address.

Like Cara said after my earlier post, who has time to come up with these scams, set up the background, like General Dynamics Systems?  Interestingly, GoogleMaps says that General Dynamic Systems is closed. Sneaky, Billy boy.  Drag the good name of General Dynamic Systems through the mud just because they’re not around to defend themselves.  I mean, those people have been creating and implementing generally dynamic systems since you were in short pants and now you’re gonna do them like that?

I do like the non-specific nature of the name, though.

“What kind of systems do you work with?”

“Dynamic.”

“Oh, really? In what way are they dynamic?”

“Oh, you know, generally.”

I used to work at a company named “PeopleSupport.” We had a company picnic once, hosted by a party company called “Event Solutions.” Like mayo on wonder bread served by a robot.

I’m tired of all these scams.  There’s that bullshit with the robocalls about auto-warranty.  And there’s one about credit cards.  I pressed the button to talk to an agent on that one and I asked what card they were referring to and the guy said, “Any of them.”  Holy shit.  The scammers are such dicks, but they’re also so lazy about the scam that you almost feel that anyone who really gets taken by one of them really should’ve figured it out beforehand.  But it sucks because these scams put everyone (or most people) on guard with telemarketers and, even if the telemarketer has a legitimate offer, you just feel like they’re trying to take you.  It’s like walking the streets in L.A.  Anyone who actually tries to talk to you is going to end up asking you for money, so even if a person has a legitimate need, you’re probably going to just ignore them.  The bad apples spoil the bunch and the world grows a little colder.

i just dont want to walk.

"i just don't want to walk."