Have I got a story for you?!
Remember my unemployment period? If you do then you know that I was as broke as broke could be. In my vulnerability, a scam artist decided to capitalize or rather take advantage of my situation. Here’s the story…
Grab a drink and a cookie or something, I’m thinking this might be a long post.
So here I was on a Saturday morning, innocently asleep and dreaming of *sigh* the most beautiful things…lol, when my phone rings at about 10am, “Hi Dami, are you still looking for a job?”
“Yes, I am”, I replied as she continued to discuss the opportunity to me.
At this point, I had already secured my job at the bank but I was looking for more. I had bills to pay!
This lady described the job as the perfect job for me at that point in time. I was going to evaluate customer experience and ensure that the employees of different organizations were maintaining proper standards. This was for Loblaws apparently, but I was meant to evaluate for stores such as the Bay, Shoppers etc.
That didn’t make sense to me but I thought ‘ah well, $300 to evaluate three stores based on a simple form was easy peasy’
After we exchanged information such as the address to send my “WELCOME PACKAGE”, pay and my start date we ended the call and I decided to search for her on Google and LinkedIn, but no hits…hmmm
Anyways, I went back to bed.
This time my dream was not flowing as before…I started to feel like I was being pranked but then I thought, ‘Well let’s get the welcome package first and I’d decide what my next steps would be’
The welcome package was meant to arrive on Tuesday but I missed it. Then Thursday but I missed it. Like an idiot, I remained in contact with my scammer, updating her on the status of things. She then sent another package.
The both arrived the following Thursday but I missed them.
This was the final notice…meaning I had to drive to the post office to pick up the package(s). By the time, I arrived at the post office, they had closed. I pleaded to be let in as I expected to be there for barely 2 mins. Unfortunately, my package was not to arrive till 10am the next morning. As I headed out, I noticed a ticketing officer issuing a parking fine.
This day was getting worse…I actually begged the woman (the officer with a STONE heart…lol) to take the ticket back, but then she started giving me some unnecessary story. Long and short, I got hit with a $40 parking fine and no welcome package, meaning I had to come back.
I headed back to the post office the next day, picked up the two packages. In both packages were individual cheques of over $2,605, a welcome letter, an evaluation checklist and a list of stores to choose from.
who issues cheques just like that to random strangers?
However, I ignored all my instincts and called my “new boss” to discuss next steps. She calmly showed that she was happy that I received the packages and walked me through the welcome package like a professional. Tsk tsk!!! these scammers have got skilllll!
On the next page, she asked me to pick from the list of stores where I would like to begin my evaluation. I chose the Bay, Shoppers and she chose Western Union as the last one…lol
I’m sure you’re getting a clearer picture by now.
The Bay was allocated $25 as a spending amount
Shoppers was allocated $85 and Western Union was allocated over $1000….HAAAA!!!
After describing to me how to handle business to which I took notes, God have mercy! I actually took notes! lol..I proceeded to the bank.
She had told me to call her once I got to the bank so she could tell the “Accountant” to remove the hold from the cheque. I thought to myself, how exactly does that make sense? being a banker myself.
Banking 101 for those who may not know. We, the bankers decide if we are going to hold the cheque or not. You as customers don’t so I don’t know what this Cindy Patterson lady was talking about.
Never minding that, I STILL went ahead to call her once I arrived. Within 5 minutes, she had called the Accountant, the “hold was off” and I was to request my cheque back if the teller refused to cash it.
Banking 102, you requesting the cheque back raises a red flag, WE WILL note it on your account…so that other branches’ may be alert. However my account was not noted, likely because I was staff.
There I was slowly messing with my personal financial account and not thinking twice about it. I actually requested the cheque back when it was refused and went over to another branch.
What was happening? I knew the DO’s and DON’TS, yet I was DOING a lot of DON’Ts. O_o
The next branches’ teller cashed the cheque immediately, considering I was staff, she expected me to know what I was doing.
I called Cindy to tell her that I had cashed the cheque. She then asked me to go to Western Union to “evaluate” the Customer Service Representative.
This was the moment that I began to recover bits of my brain back.
Why did she want me to go to Western Union first? I thought I was meant to head over to the Bay, then Shoppers before Western Union.
I told her that I would resume at 6pm, I had to head back to my other job. It was 2pm at the time.
Instead I took all the information home and did some digging around.
- Searched Cindy Patterson again on Google, LinkedIn – still NO HITS!
- Why was her number the only available number as contact on the welcome package? The company number was her direct line and the person who signed the welcome letter who should be her boss was also nonexistent in my search results…hmmm
- Where was 610 Bay Street? Was it actually Loblaws? If yes, let me call Loblaws to ask about Cindy. NOPE il était impossible
Why??? 610 Bay Street is the Greyhound station!!!!
In essence, I was to cash a cheque that would later be dishonoured after going through bank clearing, then I’d be charged $42.50 for depositing a dishonoured cheque. Of which the $1000+ would have been sent to a stranger, just like that and the $300 which I was to take from the cheque would actually have been my own money…
I’m going to end here so this doesn’t get too long.
The moral of the story is(are)
- Don’t let anyone exploit you, especially in your desperate times
- Always do the required research, when you have an icky feeling about something
- Be careful! Not all that glitters is gold.
- Learn to say NO, when it is absolutely necessary
- Money would come, when the time is right. Fast money goes fast
- Working two jobs is not being greedy. It’s actually hard work. However, make sure they are BOTH legitimate roles if you need an extra job.
p.s: I rectified the situation by revisiting my bank to explain and sort things out and of course I didn’t send any scam artist unearned money. She kept calling after wards, but I blocked her.
What an adventure!