Advice Needed!

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?

The Background

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?

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About nevertoomuchglitter

Nail artist. Wanderer. I'm a color-holic, in fact, it was my love of color that brought me to the nail art world. Well, that, and the fact I was too cheap to pay crazy Japanese prices for nail polish while living in Tokyo, so I had to start mixing my own. That's how NTMG began.
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38 Responses to Advice Needed!

  1. kayluh says:

    I would say post her name and the city/state she lives in. She may be doing this to many more people. sad.

    But the worst excuse I was given…
    I was supposed to go out with a friend for her birthday. She called the day of and told me her mother died and everything was canceled all while crying hysterically. So I sat at home all night. Looked at pictures from the party the next day, and also received a phone call from her mum asking why I wasn’t there… needless to say, her and I no longer talk, but her mum and I do. nice, aye?

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Oh man, that is awful! What a bogus story! How could she have expected you wouldn’t find out such a big lie? Be sure to enter that in the contest- I’ll be posting more details including a photo of the prizes next week.

  2. prettybottles says:

    i would most DEFINITELY post her name and warn others, especially if you’ve given her multiple chances. that’s the thing, she hasn’t learned, will keep doing this to others, until something extreme happens. i think she’s earned it. post her information.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      I gave her 5 months to repay it, either by Paypal or money order. I can’t believe she’s using her real address (I guess she couldn’t get the stolen merchandise otherwise) but that is dumb!

  3. day says:

    you definitely should report this. people need to realize that there on consequences to their actions. they can’t just refuse to own up because it is so easy to get away with things through the anonymity of the internet. i also can’t believe her mother stood up for her. way to teach morals!

    despite sounding so bitter, i haven’t ever been scammed 🙂

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Ha! Another post for letting the world know. I’m actually a pretty nice person by nature, but she has really ticked me off. What a litlte creep. Wonder what else she’s up to?

      She wrote the ridiculous email pretending to be her mom- no adult would think up something that dumb. I think I may post the mail since it’s so darn funny.

  4. Chantal says:

    Definitely name and shame! People like this need to be taught a lesson. It makes me so mad, I want the online shops like etsy to be nice places, not a scammer’s haven.

  5. G says:

    I would be hesitant about posting anything in a public forum that could be interpreted as libel. It may be true…but what if law enforcement has other priorities and declines to prosecute, or she is acquitted or something? Then you have libeled in a public forum, and if she is as wacko as she sounds, she might sue.

    She has already caused you so many problems, and believe me, scammers are pond scum, but i would hate for her to cause you any more. I am always of a it could always get worse, fatalistic mien, though. Good luck with whichever way you choose, though. Love your blog!

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      That is a good point about libel and lawsuits. Luckily, the truth is an ironclad defense against libel claims and everything I’ve said is true and I have proof to back it up. Acquittal would be a reason to remove the post, but that’s months down the road at least. If I do decide to name her, I’m going to state it in a VERY careful way in a seperate post. If she were acquitted, that would be a whole ‘nother situation. She’s already been called out as a scammer- if you search her email it comes up, but unfortunately, the posts are not in English. I think she chose international sellers outside the US because she thought she could get away with it more easily.

      But I will definitely take heed to what you’ve said- luckily, there are a bunch of lawyers around me who I’ll hit up for legal advice before I go forward. Thanks for a thoughtful opinion. Plus: bonus points for using the word “mien!”

  6. Libby says:

    I think it’s best if there are readers that are interested, they should contact you for her name & where she’s located so that they don’t accidentally sell to her. Shame on her for scamming international sellers, and I think that you should file mail fraud against her. Who cares if she’s only 18 – that’s “legal” by US standards, so the (excuse my language) bitch shouldn’t get a tap on the hands just because she’s technically still a teenager. She’s an adult, and should pay for her crimes. I feel you pain – I sell stuff on eBay & have been encountering a lot of wacked out buyers that will do anything to get whatever they’ve “purchased” from me for free. It greatly upsets me that eBay & PayPal (which is owned by eBay) tends to side with the buyers, and that buyers are more “douchey” now than before. I had a buyer recently file a “not as described” claim against me on PayPal for a new Coastal Scents makeup palette (she claimed it broke, even though I bubbled wrapped the palette like crazy), and PayPal “temporarily” took out funds from my bank account to pay that stupid buyer back. Grrr, it enrages me when buyers scam sellers as much as it is vice versa.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Oh, that’s such a bummer! Paypal does tend to side with the buyer. By the way, that “temporary hold” is probalby going to turn into a reversal. That’s how it happened to me. I’m thinking of switching to Google Checkout as they’re supposed to be more fair and really investigate disputes between buyer and sellers. I totally agree about the scammers. I can deal with demanding folks, or difficult customers, but if someone is determined to lie, cheat and steal, it’s tough to deal with. I notice a lot more dishonesty in general, especially with online transactions. Bummer.

      The thing is, I want her name to come up in a Google search for her because I want EVERYBODY to know what she’s been up to- employers, etc. often do online checks before hiring, and I want them to know. I gave her several months, a couple of payment options, and a lot of chances. I don’t think I’m going to protect her privacy any longer.

  7. terrenity says:

    I totally understand your wanting to tell the world, but also am not sure it’s a great idea from a legal standpoint. I’m not an expert by any means, but it does seem like something that could come back to bite you in the butt later. However I think you would be totally justified posting any usernames you know she goes by or has gone by, and also letting people know her name via private e-mail if they ask. Just my two cents – I’d hate for her to get any advantage over you!

    Also, you should know that you may have to be very persistent when you press charges. Myself and over a hundred other forum members were swaplifted last year, for at least the same value of merchandise as you guys, if not more, and we had an extremely difficult time getting anywhere. While many of us filed for mail fraud, we all just got “thank you for your complaint” postcards back. None of us have received our money or our items; for all we know she is still out there playing with our perfume. I’m not saying this to discourage you, just to let you know that internet and mail-related crimes can be very hard to resolve, so you will probably have to be pushy. In your case, at least, you have the advantage of having actually exchanged money, rather than other items (in our cases), which was a big part of the problem.

    Best of luck, and I’m so sorry you got hurt this way. 😦 Hugs!

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Ugh! Swaplifting! The exchange of money is where the dividing line is, really but I understand you got cheated just the same. Unless $$$ has been lost, you’re kind of out of luck, which is why I don’t generally do swaps online.

      The only defense against libel is truth, which is definitely on my side. If I do post her name, I’m running it by a lawyer or two that I happen to know. I’ll have to be veeeery careful about how I word things- I’d hate for her to come out ahead in any of this. But the truth is the truth- and I have everything to prove it. As far as my understanding of the law goes, identifying the person and providing details that identify the person (usernames, etc) is the same thing. It’s kind of an all-or-nothing proposition. I’m not really one to do things halfway, so I may just post all the info I have for all the world to see.

  8. Krystal S. says:

    Oh yeah, I’d totally give out her name, especially for some of us that are sellers of Etsy or other items online (eBay).

    I had a really nasty fraud story – the guy I was seeing lied about EVERYTHING in his life… from the fact that he “owned” 3 hours, that he had a bachelor’s degree AND a master’s degree, the fact that he had been in jail, having cancer not once but THREE times, and in the end, he had scammed me out of $500. Sigh.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Oh man, that is awful! Be sure to enter that in the contest after I get it set up, unless it’s too personal- that has the potential to be a winner! At least you dodged a bullet- some poor ladies wind up MARRYING those guys!

  9. It saddens me to read this, I am constantly reminded that the world is full of good people and it only takes one idiot to bring them all into a state of distrust. Those few people do need a reckoning…but, I recommend you get some legal advice before you post it. Since you’re filing charges, you may hurt your case by doing that…just make sure before you do.
    You could submit her name to the MUA Swaplifters list, or maybe start an Etsy shoplifters list? But get some legal advice before you do anything to make sure you’re not causing MORE trouble for yourself than you need to.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      The Swaplifters list? There is such a thing?! Maybe that would be a good idea- she’s probably cheated people there as well. Something tells me this is not her first trip to Scamville. But you’re right about the trouble…I don’t want to win the battle but lose the war.

  10. Ellie says:

    I reckon reveal all.

    If she had done something stupid, such as shoplift a nailpolish, I’d argue to give her some slack, but we’re talking cool, calculated theft here. This gal has been obviously manipulating people and taking what’s not hers for a while now. Leave a mark on her if you can – she obviously needs to learn to take responsibility for her actions!

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Right on! There’s a definite pattern here, and Scammy McScamsalot deserves to be outed…I just need to make sure the timing is right.

  11. Jackie S. says:

    Post it! You do not want others to be effected by her scamming ways!

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      I would have been really grateful if someone had saved me the trouble that this person has caused me- you’re right.

  12. Syl says:

    DO NOT post the name/address.

    You are involved in litigation with this chippie. The last thing you want is for some savvy defense attorney to use your comments to destroy the government’s case against her. If you do anything that makes you look like a flakey witness, the DA may very well think that you are not a good risk. This may mean that she might not call you to testify… but it could also mean that she could trashcan the case.

    And if THAT happens, what happens to you? A nice libel action, perhaps? Ugh.

    Once there is a resolution of the case itself– and I think you are also entitled to damages in civil court, by the way, should you chose to go that route– you would be safe in posting the name and location of the case.

    It would be something like “United States versus Chippie, Mumble Court of mumble district etc etc.” And that would indeed showcase her real name and location. It’s also public record information.

    It’s only natural to want to warn others of someone’s criminal misconduct.

    • Crystal says:

      This matter is about $2500, I doubt a DA would be getting involved. It sounds more like small claims. I agree it might be harmful to disclose her name for legal reasons, but the expense of going through the court system is not worth it.

      If you were to post her info, it should be with the intents to warn others about this girl and not be out of revenge. It’s up you how you choose to teach her this lesson.

      Really sorry to hear this happened to you, I absolutely love your blog and especially adore the nails art ou put up on Esty! I hate the thought that someone could be wearing and appreciating your work while being so cold hearted and stealing from you.

      Has PayPal/Esty done anything about this girl?

      • nevertoomuchglitter says:

        Aw, thanks for your kind words.

        I’m going to see if the DA will treat it as theft by deception. It looks like her city is on big on prosecuting for “bad checks” so I’m going to see if there’s any way for the Paypal reversal to be treated legally as a bad-faith check. The physical instrument is different but both checks and Paypal are drawn off a bank account. From a legal standpoint, they may be different sides of the same coin. Gotta check into that.

        I really do want to warn others, since she did this with total impunity. I can almost guarantee this is NOT her first trip down Scammy Lane. She just pulled it off too well.

        She just blitzed people right before Christmas, when large sales from new customers are not unusual. She racked up the purchases FAST and then left positive feedback, so most of us newbie sellers chucked the receipts. She then pulled the fraudulent chargeback months later, so I think other sellers are still in danger from her.

        SHE IS WEARING MY NAILS IN HER MYSPACE PICTURES. For some reason, that really steamed me. I just don’t get the feeling she’s through with her scumbaggery. If she had even said she was sorry and that she made a mistake, I might have had some mercy and let her pay it back in installments, or SOMETHING. No cooperation from her, so it’s time to let the law handle it on behalf of me and the other 15 victims.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Verrry good points. Maybe I’ll have to bide my time for the “outing” to be most effective. I’m just not good at waiting! Thanks for another thoughful opinion.

  13. Syl says:

    … But it’s not worth taking on additional risk yourself.

  14. Rebecca says:

    I agree with Syl, some good points there. You don’t want to risk messing up a court case because you named her in a public forum. “Innocent until proven guilty” (even though you KNOW it). Consult legal advice first, I’d say

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Good point….maybe I’ll wait a while until the legal aspects are resolved. But….it’s going to make me MAD!

  15. Cescils says:

    Sad to hear this story happened to you. By the way if she’s wearing your nails on myspace take a screenshot it proves she has received them…
    As for giving her name, I wouldn’t do it for now until everything is clarified, at least it proves you are being fair until the end.
    On a French forum website there is a similar case, a girl has been swapping beauty products with others but in fact never sending hers (or they were in bad condition) or never paid (though she gives dum reasons). She has done it several times which had put some tension on the forum. Finally since no legal actions can be taken a post with her initials and place of living are given and remember regularly.

    I really hope it will go for the best in your case, this kind of situations are really ugly.

  16. Syl says:

    Don’t forget that entities such as Myspace can be subpoena’d.

    As to whether or not a DA will be involved: in my experience, this is a case that a state DA might waffle on, because it involves a number of long-distance witnesses. However, federal court is another breed entirely, and they take rather a dim view of mail fraud.

    Their sentencing guidelines are also interesting, and I would recommend them to you. Remember that you may have rights regarding what evidence is presented at a sentencing hearing, and one important factor that would be considered is whether or not a defendant exhibited any degree of shame or remorse.

    I’d love to see you sandbag her defense attorney’s weepy story with a brazen MySpace pic!

  17. Of course, now there would be no surprise, as it’s most definitely certain they’ll do their due diligence and read this post and it’s comments. Of course, you might surprise them by deleting this whole thing, but then it will still exist somewhere else.

  18. I’d be all for naming the person. 😉 But not here.

    I’ve been scammed ONCE in all my years of making jewelry and selling. However, my lovely scam artist wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer (much like your scammer) because they gave me their credit card number and legit mailing addy.

    It was a long, ugly, drawn out process with her credit card’s fraud dept, but in the end I got my $$$ because I had the receipts and emails (espec where she said she LOVED the necklace and ring, THANKING ME).

    The wheels of justice may be slow, but it does work when you’re right and can show why.

    -Carinae-
    http://www.carinaeletoile.com
    Enter my contest to win Damone Roberts 1968 + a few other colors!

  19. Deez Nailz says:

    wow – this is terrible and sad. I can’t believe that this person is only 18, and is another woman. She’s wearing your nails in her Myspace – good grief. I hope that everyone gets their money back and others are WARNED about this in the future.

    I know that it is against the law ( blah blah yeah right ) But when I think about the heartache and the work I have had to do to rebuild myself, my self esteem and erase the sadness and negativity in my life caused by various abuses = I friggen WISH that someone, somewhere told me about the PRIOR wrong-doings of those people in my life who have done any hurtful and long time damaging actions & other junk in my past.

    While I am positive that I would have become the decent, respectable and non-abusive human being I am today without all the crappy experiences I have had; I could have done without them, and I could have at least been warned about what is in store for my future had I known and been aware of the capabilities of those crappy individuals!!!!!!!!

    The sheer frustration you must be feeling is completely warranted =-= It doesn’t help you this moment to hear ‘she’ll get what’s coming to her’ or words to that effect. But knowing there will be a court record of her actions, as well Goggle searches of her name will pull this stuff up. Those two things alone, are forever, there 4 life! . I do hope that you and everyone else who was scammed by this sub-human garbage gets their money back and finds some vindication.

    It’s a little harsh to say so of an only 18 year old girl, but if she’s cool with victimizing other people especially WOMEN, at this -young- age and having no remorse and no shame = The sheer misery and tumultuous of the rest of her life will be her own punishment, served to herself. There is not enough drugs or booze in this world to erase the seriousness of her abuse towards other people, and knowing that she did that will touch every element of her life.

    Sorry is not good enough for something calculated like this. And while it would serve everyone who has been scammed some immediate satisfaction to print her name on EVERY format possible ( craigslist rants and raves anyone?) and any other forum for putting people on blast, a court document with her name on it, her family’s last name, { Nice parenting BTW } known addresses and her home town is for life. Thats forever.

    Who knows maybe this experience will set this brat straight, and she can begin to atone for this (hopefully) temporary stupidity.

    I am always happy to see/read what you post, your franken’s are inspiring and seeing neat polish’s from ’round the world always excites me. Keep your spirits up and I hope this doesn’t sully your blogging/etsy handmade interests!

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Aww, thanks Deez. What a nice comment- it really lifted my spirits. Google-shame for the win! I’m looking into some forums and trying to turn down the heat a litlte on what I plan to write. It started off like, “THIS UGLY GIRL WHO LOOKS LIKE THE MICHELIN MAN FROM EL PASO IS A DIRTY, LYING FLOOZEBAG THIEF” but I may have to tone it down a little before I appear to be a deranged individual. (I found it’s best to keep that to myself!) But seriously, thank you for your thoughtful comment. 🙂

  20. Little ELf Girl says:

    I think you should post her details online. It’s happened to 15 different sellers and I think everybody would benefit from knowing who she is. If it’s not against the law, then do it. Nobody likes to be scammed, and the fact that she has done this for that amount just shows how low people can really be, and they don’t deserve to be kept quite about it. 🙂

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