For the first time, and with the help of my daughter, I posted an item on Craigslist for $425. Here is my experience and what I hope will be a helpful caution for you, and in addition, a reflection for all those who might need a merciful but stern warning for engaging in deception and theft.
I began to receive some emails from “Susan” who wanted to buy my canoe “asap.” She was too happy to be the buyer. Then she said that a cashier’s check from her bank, Citibank, would be sent to me – she just needed my name and address. She also said that it would provide enough for the “movers” of which I am to send the excess of the check. Ok – that’s when the red flag went up. I thought, “why don’t you send your own money to the movers – why put that on me – that is just plain dumb to trust me, someone you have never seen, to send money to your movers.” My hunch of being taken was right. In a few days, I received this check to my amazement for $1,450.
That’s $1,025 more than the sale of the canoe. Now, by her instructions, I am to deposit the check and then wire this amount to the address below:
“Money Should Be Sent Through Western Union Money Transfer In Minutes To The Info Below:
Receiver’s Name: Doc Smith
Address: 2901 S 1ST ST
Zip Code: 79605-1813″
I went to Citibank website and they literally spelled out this kind of scam letter for letter. I then took the check to my bank, Chase, and asked them that if I deposited the check would they credit my account – would they process the check? “Yes – this bad check is so good that we would run it through and you would receive your money. But in three weeks when Citibank sends the check back to us as a bad check, we would then come after you and debit your checking account for the full amount. The thief would have $1,025 of real money from you and you would be out. Also, you would be put into a category for risk as a client of our bank and other banks would be notified – this would follow you because you attempted to deceive us.” My banker is a friend of mine and he was simply telling me the cold facts of what would happen. He was very happy that this shake-down failed. But he said that it is happening every week to his clients.
I then took the bad check to Citibank – they ran the numbers and identity of “Susan Kramer” – the account does not exist: “It’s a fake check anyway – that’s not how Citibank prints their cashier’s checks.”
I then handed over all information to Citibank and the local police and wrote the letter below to Susan. My hope in sharing this story is that you would know how to protect yourself from this kind of thievery. My other hope is that if you are a thief reading this story, that you would think deeply about the matter of which I address below.
I have some questions:
Are you not tired of this?
Are you not exhausted?
Are you not tired of living in fear that maybe this is the week that the FBI and the authorities find you out and send you to prison?
Why would you attempt to lie and deceive me, and steal my money when that is not the way you want to be treated? Do you not realize that you are self-condemned since you would not want to be treated the way you have been treating me? Do you not feel guilty at all for harming the financial well-being of others – especially the elderly, the widows, the single moms who unknowingly fall prey to your schemes?
If you do not get caught in this life there is a Judge who will meet you at your death – his name is Jesus and he is Lord of the little lords who set up shop to print fraudulent checks to steal money. And he is King of little kings who sit at computers telling one lie after another. The fury that will be unleashed upon you for taking advantage of the widow, the orphan, and the poor will be with full force upon your head. Repent of your wickedness and turn to Christ for the forgiveness of your sins so that you will be healed of this terrible disease that is destroying your life. If you would like to talk more about what I have said I would be thrilled to speak to you about the condition of your soul and what it means to deal with Christ. But know this: he lived a sinless life, was crucified, buried, and on the third day rose from the dead to make an atonement for sins. He ascended to Heaven and will return. There is a day that has been appointed for you to answer for your sins. Either Jesus Christ will be your righteousness by faith or you will stand alone and give an account for lying to me and countless others. I earnestly plead with you to stop your sinning, if at least so that you do not become incarcerated and place another tax burden on the very people that you stole from.
In the meantime, I do hope you get caught so that the economical society that I live in will suffer less harm. I have turned over to the authorities our conversations, your fraudulent check, and the info that you gave me to wire my money to Western Union.
I wish you well only insofar that you turn to Christ – otherwise, may your worst days be ahead of you.