Tuesday, March 10, 2009

No Mood to Be Scammed, Part 1

If it hadn't begun on the evening of the day Mom died, maybe I wouldn't have been so outraged. Mom died at 2 PM on Saturday, December 20th. Around 6 PM, Phil called me to the phone. A woman was congratulating me on submitting an order for a work-at-home package and advising me to get in touch with my "Personal Business Coach" immediately. I was at a complete loss. "Phil," I said "Come back here and listen to this. What's she talking about?" The woman hung up before he could get to the phone.

Around 7 PM, I received a call from my credit card company's security service, asking if I had charged any of the following to my credit card on December 19 and December 20:

2 charges for Napster, LLC ($ 1.00 each)
SecuredPayment.Com ($ 50.49)
GT Nutrition Pro West ($ 4.95)
SmartSavingsCenter.Com ($ 9.81)
GNS/Slimbody Vitamins ($ 1.00)
EWC Payments Pty Ltd ($ 49.99)

I had not. The security service said that my credit card account would be cancelled and a new account number issued. Fine with me.

Then I checked my e-mail and found the following messages:

1. Welcome to HotMovieSale.com, Dec 20, 6:36 PM,

2. Confirming your order with Online Business Systems, Dec 20, 6:45 PM,

3. From SlimSeduction.Com, Dec 20, 8:14 PM
A Special Congraulations (sic) for Cynthia: You Qualified to Zap Cellulite and Boost Libido, and

4. Welcome to SmartSavingsCenter, Dec 20, 9:17 PM.

The credit card security service people told me that I could get all the unauthorized charges removed from my bill by filing a fraudulant-charges claim with my credit union within 30 days. Just to make sure, I cancelled my "memberships" in HotMovieSales and SmartSavingsCenter on line by 10 PM on December 20th. (SmartSavingsCenter is the billing agent for HotMovieSales.)

BJM, my "Personal Business Coach" from Online Business Systems advised me that the order for my "Work-at-Home Package" was already being processed and would arrive within 2 to 4 business days. I could return it in its "original condition" within 15 days and not be charged the ADDITIONAL $39.95 to cover the "full cost of the material included in your Package." YIPES! This sounded like the opening gambit in an extremely nasty game of "gotcha."

I immediately fired off a reply to BJM:

"I did not submit an order for a work-at-home package. Don't bother shipping it. I have reported this fraudulent attempt to become my "personal business coach" to my credit union's credit card security services division and have cancelled my credit card. I will contact you directly just so that you understand that no contract exists between you and me. You have inconvenienced me at a time when I am in no mood to be scammed."

On the 21st, I got an aggrieved phone call from BJM. She managed to sound both indignant and hurt.

"I just want you to know that I would never scam anyone. I am just so hurt. It was cruel of you to say that."

"Relax," I said, "I'm not coming after you. You caught me at bad time."

We hung up. But is there ever a good time to be the victim of a scam?

In Part 2, I'll tell how "Land Before Time" weasled its way into our house even after I cancelled my so-called membership in HotMovieSales.com. Twice.

In Part 3, I'll tell you about BJM's revenge.


Xanadu said...

Sorry you were yet another victim of the fraud we hear about every single day. Do these people have absolutely no conscience at all? I can't believe the gall of some of these people/companies. Anxious to hear about the next 'chapter'. Hang in there, and be tough! Hugs.

Bill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
happypitbull said...

Identity theft, ugh! Things like this can happen so fast, it's not really possible to do anything until the damage is done, even if you're proactive. I hope you were able to get things resolved. Looking forward to the next bit (with trepidation).