Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


Leave a comment

In Which I Don’t Name Names

The bank has finally released my money, woot woot! And I spent about $300 today catching up on stuff. But I don’t feel bad about it, it was just things I had to pay for.

I have to call the doctor on Monday and pay them, now that I think of it.

I have had help from friends along the way. One friend gave me $75 to tide me over. Another one loaned me $100, which I will pay back next week. I actually didn’t touch that money but it was a relief to have it available in case I needed it.

Roommate and I have been watching The Marvelous Mrs Maisel with great enjoyment. The actress is impossibly tiny. She reminds me of my friend M, who I haven’t seen in a while. Having binged our way through the series, we are now watching Chuck. We seem to have a Zachary Levi theme going.

Today I heard about an art exhibition, the Art214 Juried Exhibition. It’s juried, which is a bummer for me, but there’s no entry fee and you can enter up to 3 works, so that’s good. I’m going to see if I can make one more piece so I have 3 and then I’ll enter. I figure it’s worth trying, to see if I can get in. Worst they can say is no, and then I’m no worse off than I am now.

I have been working on hats this week. I got one done and another one mostly done. One of the things I bought was to order more yarn. I really don’t need more yarn, but the price was so good and they were selling out. I want to order about $200 worth of Noro yarn from WEBS but I don’t have the budget or the space for it.

I have been underemployed for so long, I haven’t been able to pay storage. It’s been like 8 months. I thought the units had already been sold. Then I got a call from the manager saying he’s having trouble processing my card. Well I bet he is, that card’s been cancelled for a long time. Now I don’t know what to do. I don’t have the money to pay it up and I’m not working right now so I can’t even make the regular monthly payment. But, I want my stuff. I thought I had gotten over it and now I have hope again. I’m torn.

I am having trouble getting my checks from Michael’s. They aren’t intentionally giving me a hard time, but they aren’t exactly helpful. They sent me the forms to request a replacement check in .pdf format. I could open the file, but there is no option to turn on the edit function. I had to print a copy to fill it out. Now I need to mail it to them, but there isn’t an address on the form. I tried calling. I got a person who told me to edit it online AFTER I told them I couldn’t do that. Then they told me to scan it in. I don’t own a scanner. I was finally forwarded to another department and the person I needed to talk to was away from her desk. I left a message, but so far no response. I guess that’s another thing to do Monday. I’m really putting together my Monday to-do list right now, huh.

I feel like I got closer to a friend today. J was dithering on going to ATTA today, and I convinced her to go. I picked her up, so we had a few minutes in the car on the way there and back. I think it might be the first time we’ve been alone together. I feel like we really connected. Not to mention we’ve been reading each other’s blogs so that gives a good picture of what’s going on in our heads.

Daughter is having roommate drama. Things have been stable for her for several months, so it’s time for everything to get shaken up. The kittens are adorable but if she has to move they are a complication. Her new ID hasn’t arrived yet. At least, with the one roommate gone, nobody will be throwing away the mail. Daughter goes by her nickname so people don’t recognize her legal name, which is of course is how the DPS knows her. I’m pretty sure her previous replacement ID got tossed.

Nothing amazing happening, but I felt like checking in.


Leave a comment

In Which I Name Names

I thought I was smarter than this, but I guess not. Here is the story:

I do seasonal work in disaster relief but there weren’t any major disasters last year so I only worked 5 weeks. I’ve been looking for another job, either one that pays me as well, or one I won’t feel guilty about leaving if I get called back. I recently updated my resume on Work In Texas, the website associated with the state’s unemployment system. I was contacted by a representative saying she might have a job for me.

The woman gave me the name Florence Carter. She texted me a few times then asked if we could move the conversation to Google Hangouts. She told me the name of the company was Amanta Healthcare Limited. I looked them up. They are a company in India that provides medical products. It was a very professional website. It had several pages. Google also showed me an article on the company by Bloomberg, and there was information about them being bought out. Looked legit. I thought, okay, they’re in India, that’s why they want to handle everything online.

We conducted an online interview. This is not the first time someone has asked me for that. They offered me a data entry job, work from home. I have friends who work from home for companies like Hilton and AAA, so this was not a red flag for me.

Ms Carter told me I would need to purchase some software and the company would send me a check. The next day, Fedex dropped off an envelope. Inside was a check for $4950.00. That seemed like a lot of money. It was drawn on Chase bank. I called Chase and gave them the name on the check, NY Iola Attorney Trust Account Moliterno PC, and the tracking and account number off the bottom of the check. Chase verified that it was an active account.

The package also contained a letter, stating not to bring the check to the bank to cash. Honestly, I would never do that. The last time I tried to cash a check, the bank involved kept something like 6%. When I was a young person, you could take a check to the bank it was drawn on and cash it with an ID. Nowadays the bank won’t cash it unless you also have an account at that bank. So still no red flags since I was like, “Why would I do that?”

The letter also told me to drop an email to Caroline Hampton, the Financial Accounting Officer, at payrollrep@accountant.com to let her know I had received the check. She emailed me back telling me to deposit the check and follow up with my supervisor, who I assumed was Florence Carter.

I bank with Citibank. Citibank does not have an office in Texas, where I live. I deposited the check using the phone app. Florence asked for a copy of the deposit ticket, but I didn’t use one. I took a screen shot showing the pending deposit, but it did not have any of my banking information in it.

Florence asked me how much money was deposited to my account. I told her that I deposited the whole check, but my bank would hold it for several days since it was from a new source. I didn’t have any additional money showing in my account. She asked if I could cover the cost of some software until the check cleared so I could start training. I figured I could live without $200. She asked me to use it to purchase a Google Play card to use for the software. Odd, but I had the check so okay, let’s see where this goes. Worst comes to worst, I own some new software I don’t need.

I went to Walmart. I picked up some coolant for my car, some washcloths and the gift card. My card was declined. I really needed the coolant, so I had everything else put back. $8.73. Declined. So I called the bank.

Calling the bank is always a hassle because it takes so much effort to get a person. The system really wants you to use the automated information but I have never yet called the bank for something that is prerecorded. I finally got a person. He hmmm’d and aha’d and told me he needed to refer me to another department. Something was up. The new person was less circumspect. She told me right up that my account was frozen for a fraudulent check.

Now I am embarrassed about taking a bad check, but I was really frustrated that I couldn’t access my own money that was in the account. The bank explained that we have to wait for the check to bounce out of the account to unfreeze it. It’s a 3 day weekend so that means my funds are frozen until at least Tuesday. The idea is, I shouldn’t be able to access money from the bad check. No benefit for me from fraud. I don’t mind that. The check is bad, I’m clearly not going to get the money. But I don’t carry cash, so I am effectively broke for the weekend. That bothers me. I had plans.

I haven’t contacted Florence Carter since then, although she has tried several times to reach me. I don’t know what I would say. I’d rather have her think I stole the money than know what happened. Because the longer they don’t know they’ve been found out, the more time the authorities have to catch up with them.

I did report the fraud. I have contacted the FBI, who handles internet crime, and filed a report with them. I have filed with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). And I have filed with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. I had to file a complaint against my bank, which I hated to do but I needed to get something on record showing that I took the check in good faith. I’m an intended victim, not a perpetrator.

I also took the check to the police. They looked it over. It even had a watermark. The officer said, he would have checked the same things I did, and he would have taken the check. It might be a scam, but it was a good one. So I feel less stupid but still too naive.

I took the check to Chase. It took the manager about 10 seconds to state that it was a fraudulent check. I asked how she knew and she said the font was wrong. Well. How would I ever know a thing like that? An average person isn’t going to scrutinize a check to that degree, if they even have a good check for comparison. I had to remind the manager to look at the account, since it was an active account, because if they’re writing checks on that account, I’m not the only person getting targeted. She did pull the account up and said it was flagged for fraud on the 16th. Well that was yesterday, and it was probably my check that caused that.

So as things stand, I am broke for the weekend, and maybe for the next week. I am embarrassed and I feel a little stupid. But I am not out any money, just some time. I’m telling you this because I thought I knew better and I still got taken. It could happen to you.


Leave a comment

Scammed Already

So I was on this dating website about a week and someone contacted me.  The site said his name was Jeff Nowak.  After another week of chatting, he asked if I wanted to move the conversation to Google Hangouts.  Well the website cuts the conversation after a week, so I agreed.

We were talking about having a degree, which I do not.  I am 3 classes short of the degree, but I owe the school about $2000 that I have to pay before I can register for the classes.  Being on furlough right now, I don’t have the money.

Jeff asked if I had a bank.  I told him I have a credit union, which is true, but that I mostly use Paypal, which is not true.  I do have a Paypal account, I just don’t use it that often.  I felt suspicious about the question, but I couldn’t imagine why he’d even ask, unless he wanted to send money, but that made no sense.  Then he asked if the debt was on my bank account.  What a weird question.  So I ignored it.

Next came the story, and I believe it was written by someone who did not speak English as their first language.  The actual text was “Two of my friend has fucked me up when I was in Syria and Cuba, because they headquarter wanted to give me my leave bonus because I can’t access my account here I told to help me out with their account but at the end of the day when I was home I didn’t my money complete.”

The next several texts were, ” That has really made me not to trust people much about money.”  “But now I just think the best thing is to have it once am home.” “But I just can’t be here for 4months”  “Still looking for a way out”  “To have part of my leave bonus to terminate my contract but I need someone I can trust”  “Don’t want it to end up like the last time”  “Do you have the debt in your account?”

Um, yeah, we’re done.

I reported the account to the website.

Then today I got contacted by two other men.  I am chatting with them, because that’s why I’m there, but I am suspicious of them.  Once burned twice shy.

And I feel stupid for not picking up on it sooner.  I guess I am just gullible.