Shit You Should Know

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Some Nigerian Isn't Getting Paid Today!

Two words: Mail Fraud

I’ve heard the horror stories. I’ve seen the Judge Judy episodes. (That bitch is hardcore, by the way.) It’s one of those things you think, “That will never happen to me.”

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.
What? I like money.

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’m no fool. It sounded like a crock of shit to me from the beginning. I basically told her to send me a money order and I would let her know when the money orders cleared. I didn’t think anything would come of it.
But yesterday…lo and behold…SPECIAL DELIVERY!!

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.
At first I was confused. I really did not connect the two together. Later, I checked my email and there were two from this Pat Smith. Both had very interesting instructions. “Pat Smith” wanted me to cash the money orders at my bank and take the money for the Avon products out of it. Then she wanted me to proceed to Western Union where I would be sending the remaining money to a Tamara Oliveira in Paloma Beach, Florida. Supposedly, this Tamara person was P. Smith’s trustee who would handle all of the shipping etc. The email said I would need Tamara’s address in order to send the wire the money.
I decided to call the post office to see what route I should take with these money orders. Obviously, I wasn’t going to be cashing them. Don’t get me wrong, though, for a split second the thought crossed my mind. I was instructed to take it in to my local post office and turn it over so that it could be handed in to the FBI for further investigation.

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, then, googled “fake postal money orders” and found an 800 number on the USPS website where you could actually verify the authenticity of postal money orders by entering the serial number, postal code, and amount all listed on the money orders themselves. It did not shake me in the least to find out neither of them were found in the database. I breathed a sigh of relief to know that I was smart enough not to cash them.

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??
Another thing I found out was that many of the arrests that the FBI makes in connection to these fraudulent money orders are the people that actually cash them. Again, how relieved do you think I was that mama didn’t raise no fool?!?!
Today, I got up and headed to my local post office. I not only turned in the two counterfeit money orders but also the packaging it was received in and all of the email correspondence so far. The man who actually deals with fraud was not there and wouldn’t be until Monday morning. The postmaster on staff took the paperwork from me along with my telephone number and told me that the fraud guy would be in touch with me soon. I bet the fraud guy looks like Newman from the show, Seinfeld.
So, I guess now I sit back and wait. I haven’t responded to any of the emails from Pat Smith since I received the money orders and I have no intention to do so until I hear from whoever is going to handle the fraud case. Like I said before, I never in a million years thought I would be caught up in anything like this. I’m just glad I used my brain and didn’t run off to deposit anything in my bank. Let me pat myself on the back now.

UPDATE:  Seriously, Mr. Nigeria called me!!  See part two to this twisted tale.


  1. Wow. My sister in law was an idiot and a few months ago got a check in the mail for like 600 dollars. She went and cashed it. We told her she was stupid, she did not listen. LOL She has not brought it up again. I hope she got her account emptied because to be honest she is a bitch.

    P.S Your comments on my blog make me :)

  2. Waah.. that things happen? good thing you didn't cash that out..
    At first I don't know if ever I would understand this post, because I'm obviously not good in english, but your pictures make it more easy to read through.. i specially like haha the cartoon with a dollar in the eyes.. haha..

    I hope someday I won't be trick by this kinds of fraud.. and i think this post is a warning.. thanks!

  3. Dude I just saw report on something like this..were some fool did this for a couple times cashing money ordres like that..he responded to a Job ad ! and that was his job to cash them and then keep a portion..well after about 1 month or so the fbi got his ass and homeboy got arrested nad has to pay that shit back.

    but yeah wow..Crazy you never think what you hear about would come so close to you!

    fo real ...yo mamma didn't raise no fool!

    and LOl at the commenter before me talkign bout her sis in law LOL.

  4. Good catch. Also a good post. Exciting stuff. And, hey, we have something in common.

    I, also, like money.

  5. Great catch. I love money as much as the next guy, pity you couldn't just deposit the money ...and well, keep it. Bravo Good Madame!

  6. Same thing happened to me (different amount). Reasearch (some from your blog) & phone calls let me find it's all a crock. Thanks for your help!

  7. Girl... I feel ya! I was an Avon rep for 13 years, and that scam went back that far... if not longer. Good for you for being a smart cookie and investigating... I just never replied when I received those emails. Too good to be true for sure! Glad you didn't lose out on anything!


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