Well, everyone, it’s time to ask some advice of you. I got scammed online, but in the process, I have a hilarious story. Boo to the scammer, but yay for the comedy gold! When life hands you scams, you should make….scamade?
I sell my nail art online. Late last year, I got a large order from a buyer in the southwest USA for about 20 sets of nails. She paid, I sent them, she got them and left positive feedback saying how much she liked them. I thought it was a done deal so I threw away the shipping receipts. Big mistake.
Months after the sale, the scammer filed a complaint saying the items were not as described/not all received so she could get her money refunded by Paypal. She did this to over 15 sellers on Etsy to the tune of about $2500, including a jewelry seller who took lots of time helping the scammer choose jewelry for her mom! Classy.
I got in touch with the many other sellers who got ripped off by this person- same pattern, same time frame. It’s no accident- she got her items, then decided she didn’t want to pay for them. She’s 18 and she ran up over $2500 of merchandise on Etsy. I am not saying that 18 year olds don’t have money, but that’s a lot of dough for someone so young. But heck, if you’re not planning on paying for it, what does it matter?
However, it is mail fraud, which is a federal crime in the US. It’s actually taken very seriously. Then again, I don’t think people like her ever imagine actions have consequences.
There is absolutely no chance this is anything other than a scam. Even so, I initially didn’t want to press charges. She’s young and dumb, and all of us sellers just wanted to be paid for the merchandise she “bought.” I emailed her numerous times, she said she’d pay me back with a different Paypal account. No luck there- Paypal lost her documents! I then asked her to send a postal money order. Oh, it got lost in the mail. Twice! What are the odds?!
Finally, I got a hilarious email from her “mother” with the most ridiculous excuse ever. It is utter and total comedy gold- it involves the Witness Protection Program, a juvenile facility and a postman being murdered while carrying my money order. (Only two of those are true- I leave it to you to figure out which!)
The other sellers and I are pressing charges because mail fraud and theft by deception are federal offenses, but I want to warn the world about this little tart. I’m sure she switches user names and emails regularly but of course her address and name haven’t changed. She’s of the age where she’ll be applying to colleges and jobs, and I want the info about her scamming to come up in a Google search. I’d want to be warned about her if I was going to do any kind of business with her. Sort of like when they’d post the Bad Checks list at the grocery store- anyone remember those?
The question: Should I publish her real name in relation to this incident? It’s not against my blog host’s policy and from a legal standpoint, it’s not libel if it’s TRUE. I have all the paperwork and emails to prove it. This is not a misunderstanding, or a mistake. I’ve tried to resolve it with her and given her so many chances to make things right. She’s demonstrated a clear pattern of fraud- and wore my fabulous nail art while doing it! If it was only me who got scammed, I wouldn’t. But 15 others have too. So should I let her get away with it, or warn the world? I don’t want to be crummy, but I don’t want to let her continue “shopping” online and ripping off yet more people.
So, as I said above, in order to turn a negative into a positive, I’m going to have a giveaway of Japan-only nail polish later this month. To win, you have to share the stupidest untrue excuse, lie or outright scam that you’ve personally experienced. One entry per person, please. This is going to be a cross-cultural experience- the winning answer will be chosen by two people: one American, one Japanese. If they can’t agree on a clear winner, we’ll have a third judge do a tiebreaker. Just think- maybe that time you got ripped off might lead to some funky nail polish!
For now, let me know your opinion about publishing the scammer’s full name! Should I warn the unsuspecting public, or should I let it go?