Two words: Mail Fraud
Yesterday, I skipped happily to my mail box. The birds were singing in the trees. All the while, I was humming Lisa’s favorite tune…”Sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows”.
Upon opening up my mailbox and pulling out the ridiculous pile of bills that keeps my mailman working, I saw a Flat Rate Express envelope addresses to me from a return address I did not recognize. I brought it inside, set it on the coffee table, and stared at it contemplating anthrax and pipe bombs. Eventually, I opened it and dumped it’s content onto the table. All that fell out were two money orders, both for the amount of $829.99. If I were a cartoon character, my eyes would have bulged out of my head with dollar signs on them.
Right away, I poked my head into the envelope. Surely there must be some explanation inside but there was nothing. Then it dawned on me. I should check my Avon emails.
About a month or so ago, I received and email from Avon saying a potential customer was requesting I contact them. I sent a very generic email to a person named “Pat Smith”. The response I got back was way too good to be true.
This Pat Smith person wanted to order Avon products…like $400 worth of Avon products. However, Pat did not live in America. She supposedly resided in the UK. She wanted me to order the products and then she would send me a money order it. Then she says she would set up to have the items picked up from me from a shipping company and then mailed to her.
I had not had any email correspondence with Pat Smith (or sometimes Patricia Smith) for over a month. So, imagine my surprise when two money orders for nearly quadruple the amount of the actual Avon order showed up in my mailbox.
Later that night, I googled the address for Tamara Oliveira. It did not exist. Oooo…big shocker!! The return address and the payee listed on the money orders were not Pat (or Patricia) Smith either. It was someone named Bogden Circec. The package came from The Halifax Company in Cupertino, California. I searched it by name and by address. Nothing! I wasn’t surprised.
I found out that these particular scams are frequently called "Nigerian Scams" because that is where they are believed to have originated. I also read stories of some of these victims who were not as bright as me. Toot! Toot! Do you hear me tooting my own horn??