Tuesday, January 08, 2008

"SELLER Beware!"

Well I almost "did it" today with an email I received. It was from someone asking a question regarding one of my auctions. Yes, I almost replied to this inquiry until I noticed that eBay didn't use my real name; just my user name. Had I replied I would have had to sign in to do so, and this person who sent me the inquiry would have had my password. (And eBay ALWAYS uses your REAL name; NOT just your user name.)

So after it looked suspicious I went to "My eBay" page and, sure enuff, there wasn't any messages for me. Then I went back to my email and forewarded this to spoof@ebay.com and, sure a tootin', it was phoney. They're getting pretty slick about such things as this. In fact, theives are getting smarter about stuff all the time. I have always highly suggested that if you get ANY odd-looking requests, emails, etc. that "appear" to come from either eBay or Paypal, be sure to first forewarded them to the "spoof" address. Especially with PP as a thief can have access to all of the funds in your account there, and even, all of the funds in your bank account!

One such thing you need to look out for that crooks are pulling these days involves the pin number of your vehicle. The pin is located on a small metal strip, usually located on the driver's side front window, and it's the identification number of your car, truck, etc. Car thieves are going around copying this number, then going to a car dealership and getting a key made. If you don't believe they can do this without further I.D., just try it yourself. The dealership will make a key usually with no questions asked, and then all the thief has to do is go back to the vehicle and stick said key in the door and drive it away without ever damaging it at all. And right down to the "chop-shop" they go and you're left a'hoofin' it.

How can you protect yourself from this? Simplicity in itself. It's against the law for one to remove the vin number, but there is NO law against covering it up! Just take you a piece of black tape and stick over the plate, or stick a 3"x5" card over it where no one can read it. Such a simple act may save you a lotta time, money and headache!

Thieves come in all shapes and forms. 30 years ago when I lived in Bowling Green, Ky., there was a group of very attractive young ladies that were going around to various businesses supposingly selling magazine subscriptions. They'd try to find a place that was run usually by just one person, and usually a male, and then come in and give then this hard-luck tale about how they needed just one more subscription to be sold so that they could make their quota and that the money they were making was for their college education, blah-blah-woof-woof,etc. And of course what they were doing was filling out forms and then just sticking the cash (which they said they had to be paid by) in their pockets. In fact, they tried that on me and failed. I told them i didn't carry any cash; just a check book, and that I needed some I.D. that showed they worked for that company. They removed themselves from the store where I was working quickly. People try just all sorts of scams.

Had this woman pull up in my own driveway once telling me that her son was in a bad wreck and she needed money to buy gasoline to get to the hospital. She was driving a new car, but didn't have gas money? Yeah. I don't think I buy that story. A couple of months later, the very same woman tried to approach me again while I was coming out of a local gas/grocery stop and with the VERY SAME story! I stopped her in mid-sentence, told her she outta get a better memory since she'd tried this on me before, and called the police on her. She burned rubber out of there like she was driving in The Brickyard!

Not that I haven't gotten burned. The only time I ever took a counterfiet bill, to my knowledge, was once when someone handed me a C-Note to pay for gas (at some odd place I worked years ago) and as usual, I marked it with the counterfiet-detecting pen. If a bill's fake, the mark will turn as dark as a black ink marker. Otherwise the mark will remain a light brown. The bill marked tan and I handed back change, but then, after a minute or so, it turned black. We caled the cops and the F.B.I. even questioned me about these crooks (which they did later catch when they tried this elsewhere). The agent told me the reason "why" it didn't turn dark immediately? They'd sprayed the copy with hairspray which coated the paper so the marker couldn't seep in!

At this same store someone got a co-worker on a fake $100. Traveler's Check (VISA). It was a photocopy, and the more she looked at it, the more she thought it didn't look right. Sure enuff (again), it was a fake. The way we could tell was that the registry wasn't correct and the dark navy blue on the check was black. Yes, they'll try anything. And yes they also got caught at another gas/grocery place some 45 miles North when they attempted this again. When their car was searched, there was literally thousands of dollars' worth of fake checks in their trunk! (And I'm sure that all of these counterfieters are enjoying they stay in prison since that's a very serious federal crime.)

And the worst part of all of this is that it really makes an employee look bad, no matter how many years they work for a place and never took a bad bill and the like. For those who have never had to suffer such employment they have no idea of what a place like a gas/grocery mart is like to work in, and especially one located at a busy interstate location where you have to deal with literally thousands of customers on a weekly basis. Such as gasoline "drive-offs" which is as much thief as coming into the store and sticking a loaded revolver in your face and emptying the cash drawers. Or "fast change artists" that ask for change for a larger bill, then try to confuse the employee by saying something like just give me DIFFERENT bills for that (when they've already gotten their change). Stores try to train their employees for such things, but their training is usually weak and many times, due to the large turnover these stores endure, employees are hired one day and start work right away to fill up the space that's been opened from someone else who quit due to the pressure and small amount of pay. Such places are usually a pretty thankless position to have, but in locations where other jobs are scarce, many a time it's all people can find AS a job.

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