Thursday, July 23, 2015

How I got scammed out of my entire life savings by Nigerians

    As the images surface, his virtue descends. His lips now begin to tremble as his eyes well up with unbridled emotion...The once sterling resolve he had imposed upon so many of those around now begins to falter. His mind seems to be racing, racing with words, words he struggled to articulate..

You must understand its all gone...

   As I reflect on the financial ruin and horrible culpability that has compromised my wealth I am left with nothing but yet another of life's hard lessons to be learned, it can be unrelenting in its vicious onslaught. Some memories are too embarrassing to reflect on, others too painful. Yet I believe it is those who are the most transparent and honest with themselves and others, the ones most willing to divulge their deepest and darkest secrets combined with their most embarrassing flaws that are far more respected than others who hide being a façade of lies, cunning manipulation and gross insecurity. In the immortal words of Sir Walter Scott: "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive"

   After the Oklahoma debacle, an adventure that consisted of peril, high risk and high reward finally ended in success I could now concentrate on paying bills and surviving. I had paid off my last over due rent bill, having now overcome the looming threat of eviction. I fought hard to keep my place, I biked 15 miles a day to work in inclement weather, many times in the snow and ice, however the weather was finally starting to get warmer. The barren cold slopes of the Palouse were now beginning to germinate with new life. Spring was in the air. Things were finally now just getting better, that ever illusive light at the end of the tunnel was for the first time being glimpsed

...And then it went to hell on a stick

  I had saved up a little extra cash finally and purchased a PS3 online. Apparently there was now a PS4 out now, I had no idea, I guess I had been living under a rock for too long. A good deal for the playstation was secured and soon after I found myself wasting several hours revamping and building up my Washington State and Seattle Seahawk football rosters, analyzing abilities such as vision, strength, speed acceleration, ball security and quickness, that were categorized into a rating system followed by nervously waiting and hoping they bring their fake talents to my fake team in a digital reality. I woke up one morning and realized this is ridiculous..If I'm going to game I thought, I'd rather spend it with actual people and friends instead of wasting all my time in a digital world. I decided toinstead purchase a wii so that way when friends came I could play Mario kart or smash bros. Something entertaining and fun that involved socializing with actual people where I didn't feel like I was wasting my life or having deju' vu flashbacks to middle school where we were all bleary eyed playing halo and age of empires, surrounded by friends and cousins, game consuls, empty pizza boxes, mountain dew bottles and BO.

   I organized my PS3 neatly on my coffee table snapped a photo and posted an add on craigslist for it. I was proud and surprised at myself that I actually had something of value in life enough to sell online. I was finally selling, instead of losing and getting sold out. The next morning I received a text message from a "Clarke Wilson" with interest in my PS3 item. He said his niece was studying abroad and he wanted to send it to her as a gift. As this was a local craigslist listing ad in a college town I thought nothing of it and didn't raise so much as an eyebrow. I was new to selling things online and knew close to nothing about the cunning, shrewd and manipulative schemes of online scammers. Mr Clarke Wilson offered to send me $300 to send the package to Africa, the extra hundred would cover the shipping cost he said. I had a few other interested buyers but this one I figured was the best option due to the possibility of making a few extra bucks with the shipping of the item. I threw the PS2 in my backpack and raced down to the local post office and shipped it to Africa without so much as a second thought. Now why did I do that? To this day I still don't know. Unless payment is made upfront or you can visually see the cash never send anything anywhere and sure as hell don't send it off the continent to some third world country. The witless nature and sheer idiocracy of my actions are incomprehensibly mind numbing. So my package is somewhere between here and guam and I needed to send the MTCN shipping number to Paypal in order to be fully reimbursed, sounds great I stupidly surmised. I then received the email requesting for the appropriate shipping number so I could receive my money. I sent the MTCN # and then got a text saying paypal had wrongly deposited hundreds of dollars out of his account and this same event happened recently with his wife. My suspicions were now aroused yet I had already sent the package so surely I wanted my money back. So now I needed to send the 500 to cover the charges. Which I did, I then received an email from Paypal mentioning Clarke Wilsons account was a business account and increments of 1000 could only be taken out, so I needed to send the 700. At this point I was a little pissed off. My gut instincts told me to just walk away, I had been had, badly. But it was only another 200 and I had got tax return money back so I sent the rest of that. The next e-mail mentioned I was the weekly promo winner od 25,000. Now this sounds laughable I'm aware, but also be aware I'm out 700 dollars of my hard earned money. It looked authentic, with the pay-pay logo, they said the transaction was being monitored by some bureau of investigation. So now had to send 5,000 to cover the transaction costs and I would receive the full sum of 26,000 including the extra I owed Mr. Wilson. I walked away from the email and thinking "great, suspicions confirmed, I am now out a playstation and $700" I received a text the next day inquiring if I received the money. No I texted back, "you scammed me for 700 you filthy, heartless fucking troll, I sure hope your using my hard earned money to feed starving orphans, now go back to the church and donate 300 of it and use the rest to save lives" He of course was appalled that I was using such harsh language and offending such a benevolent cherub, a champion of the people and a kind caring soul. He inquired how much I could send.. "nothing I replied, send what you can and I'll cover the rest of the transaction charges and we can get our money he said. I then got an email saying Mr. Wilson had send 4800 through western union to cover the charges and I just needed to send the remaining 200 to credit my paypal account. Through a series of complications of the transaction and Clarke Wilson texting me trying to get me to send money to
complete the transfer. He preyed on my altruistic sentiment and saying he was
sending money too and had borrowed a lot more money,  that he was badly broke and like me left with no money now. I said it was a scam and every time he mentioned that we are not getting scammed out of our money, he promised we were getting it all back, that he had done business with this paypal customer care for years with no problem with them.

   The reason it was a Paypal email of course was due to the fact Paypal doesn't officially service Nigeria, so of course this benevolent paypal customer care team was serving the less fortunate. I was now receiving emails back saying they received the sum of $ from their client Mr. Clarke and I needed to send a certain amount of money to complete the transfer. It was a vicious cycle of despair, that self perpetuated and led to my financial ruin. I was biking 15 miles a day in cold weather with clothes that were getting ripped and now beginning to fall off all while getting repeatedly scammed by Nigerians. Of course this would happen to me? My first time selling an item on craigslist and I get owned. When I finally did the research and found out I had been horribly scammed it was a horrible feeling. One where the victim feels emotionally and mentally at a loss. I've lost a lot of money before but this one seemed so irreparably hard to accept due to the barbaric and heartless nature of the scammer and the embarrassment of the one like me being scammed.

Just walk away. I thought that many times. I couldn't do that.

These scammers, they exist for one horrible purpose, to separate you from your hard earned money.. These cons will lie, cheat and steal in the most heinous of ways by scamming the most innocent and kind hearted yet gullible people.

I once believed I was impervious to fraud as I had so little anyone whole stole my identity could hence inherit all my debt. I only write about this to have an outlet. Little did I know on that cold snowy day after I threw my playstation in my backpack, the nightmare that would unfold over a period of months. my total losses were well over $5,000. We all make stupid mistakes, trust people we should have no business trusting, the best thing I can do is learn from this. It is just another lesson in life although a very expensive one.

-Kyle Crockford

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