Thursday, May 02, 2013
I do seem to lead an exciting life. My business partner in Germany who shares a website with me received an enquiry through my email address to provide 5 weeks of German lessons from the first week of June. It sounded a bit like scams that I have had asking for me to teach music lessons, but in the this case the enquirer said that the course was sponsored by the United Nations and wanted to send a cheque for 6560 Euros to cover her costs and the costs of the cab to bring the 4 adults to her for the lessons. I helped her to write back and she sent them an invoice for 3150 Euros to cover her fees and expenses and said should could not accept money to pass on to another company. That cheque arrived this morning - but in pounds sterling drawn on a Barclays bank account in London - for the 6560 pounds sterling. I also got an email to ask me to let them know immediately that the cheque had arrived and cleared.
My partner got her husband to phone the German police and explain what had happened. They confirmed our fears that it is a scam so I volunteered to phone the British Action Fraud department to report it here along with all the details. It took about 45 minutes to give all the details but they were very helpful. It is hard to see what benefit the fraudsters get out of this because if the cheque did clear into her account then how would they get it back, unless they were banking on her returning the outstanding balance to them via the cab company, but they would have given her a gift of just under a half. I thought maybe they just wanted innocent idiots to launder money for them but it does seem unlikely.
I was scammed myself last year and the year before and lost a few hundreds sterling, which makes me feel sick that I was so stupid as to be taken in, but the follow up was that they phoned and tried to bully me into continuing to pay for non-existent web services, which truly frightened me and told me I owed over 7,000. When I went to the police locally they weren't interested even though the people threatened me and said the bailifs were on the way. The police officer just told me to ring and sort it out. It was a scam because although they phoned back another three times, each time I said I owed no money and put the phone down. I suppose I am on mugs list for others to try and scam me, but I have learned my lesson the hard way. The Action Fraud people were very kind and have asked me to report the full details for them to investigate. It won't benefit me, but may prevent others being subjected to similar fraud.
That's my afternoon's exercise gone out the window, but will get some in after I finish teaching this evening. It is a lovely day, so a pity I missed an opportunity to get out in the garden.