Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened on my Way to Raise Money - Scam Attempts

I may be naive but, it seems like really hitting a moral bottom when you try to scam people trying to help others, such as a charity organization. Following a recent Craig's list posting, I received the following "purchase" offer. This glass sculpture was donated to our organization for the purpose of raising research money for FSH - I had posted it's sale on Craig's list in Seattle hoping to find a buyer, thus raising additional funds.

Right away I received a reply - "was this item still available?" I had just posted it - so, the answer was "yes." Apparently, just responding entered me into their scam pathway. The following day I received the following offer:

"Am okay with the conditon & price. my mode of payment will be via Certified Check Drawn on Bank Of America,you will probably need a VersaCheck Paper (Business Size) or a Business Check Paper to print and cash or deposit the check today, the VersaCheck Paper or Business Check Paper is sold for $15 at any stationery store,office depot or at your local office supply outlet.i will wait for your bank to verify and clear the check before we proceed with the shipping which i will hire my private shipping company to come for the pickup after the check has been cleared at your bank so do not worry about the shipment fee,I will need your name and address to send the E-check, you can read more on how it works at"
This email provided an address in Portland, a name and partial zip code. Being curious I entered the address into the "reverse directory" and was not surprised to find that the name did not match - no surprise. Later, I did a Google search of iversacheck, or versacheck paper & craig's list - scam appeared, mine was obviously not their first attempt.

Our non-profit has received other scam attempts such as the one from Nigeria that just needs our account numbers in order to get money out of their country, or the story the relative that has left money in a will, but again needs our help (our bank account) to get the money out of the estate, etc. The most original one I had did not want money at all but just wanted me to send them a new stove. They had plenty of wood, but needed a stove in order to burn it and stay warm through the harsh winter. This was a unique approach which came from a family in Eastern Europe.... I never did follow through to find out how this scenario would play out.

One wonders would could be accomplished if these scammers put their energy, computer wizardry & know-how toward something positive.....

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