My $580 lesson in life.

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Bigbid

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I like to think I would never be scammed. A while ago a local innkeeper (Bill) called me collect from Canada saying he was up there for a wedding and he and his wife got mugged. He was in the hospital and I talked for him for quite a while and even his wife got on the phone. I know them both very well and it never crossed my mind I was not talking to them. They had everything stolen so I wired them $500. After I hung up, another innkeeper in town called me and said he had the same call from Bill. He was just getting ready to wire the money when a guest told him it could be a scam. He was sure he had also talked to Bill who he knew very well but he called their inn just in case. Bill answered and was fine and dandy here in town. Police and Western Union could not do a thing.
The next day “Bill” called back needing more money to get back home. I said “sure” and put him on hold and called the police and western union again telling them I had him on the phone. Nothing they could do. I got back on the phone and told Bill thanks for waiting because it gave the police enough time to surround his location. He dropped the phone. The only pleasure my $500 and $80 in collect phone charges gave me was thinking about him running for his life from no one.
I was told that thieves call an inn and record the innkeepers voices while they ask them questions about the Inn. They then work on impersonating the voices so the scam works. Even on the second phone call it sounded just like Bill. Oh well.
 

Morticia

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We had that our first year here but we'd been warned about this scam. It is rampant. Not only do they impersonate innkeepers, they call elderly people and impersonate their grandkids. 'Stopped at the border, no money, they took my car, I can't get home! Grammie, please help me!'
That is reprehensible.
Ours was rather interesting in that the caller also called us twice and the second time he realized he didn't sound enough like the innkeepers he was trying to fake that he pretended to be the DOCTOR at the hospital. The innkeepers could no longer talk, one had her jaw wired shut and the other was unconscious. I kept asking why was he calling us and not his best friend. He just kept asking for the money. Told me where to go in town to wire the money from even. I said I would go to his bank and get them to call him to get his cc straightened out (it was 'stolen' they didn't know where to call) if he would tell me which bank.
He got really ugly and started yelling at me. He threatened another innkeeper with death if she called the police.
In another case, apparently the local police did help and the innkeeper wired $1 to BC and the caller was picked up by the RCMP when he went to collect at Western Union.
Our caller was definitely from Canada, eh.
Sorry to hear your story.
 

gillumhouse

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I am soooo sorry you got hit with this. It has been going around for a while and has been discussed here. Sorry it had to be a real "hit" for you but I think it is good to bring up these scams from time to time for the newbies to see.
 

seashanty

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i am always amazed when these things recirculate and new people get scammed. i'm surprised the police were of no help. i'm sorry.
i must be a real tightfisted person because i can't imagine wiring another innkeeper money.
 

birdwatcher

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I'm so sorry to hear that, its really sad because it just makes me feel like the thiefs use good people to steal. Those typ of people make me sick, but somehow they will get theirs. So sorry.
 

gillumhouse

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i am always amazed when these things recirculate and new people get scammed. i'm surprised the police were of no help. i'm sorry.
i must be a real tightfisted person because i can't imagine wiring another innkeeper money..
No you are not tightfisted. What you canot imagine is another innkeeper ASKING you to wire money. There is only one innkeeper I would consider sending money to because she is a dear friend BUT I know she would be asking family first - not me even though she knows I would come through, she knows we share the same financial boat. And the previous sentence is not because I do not like other innkeepers, it is because we know how much of a hardship it would be to come up with ready cash and we would not ask. $20 maybe but $500? no.
That is why most of the time this particular scam uses a family member as being the one in need - most often a grandchild because grandparents are sofites for the grandkids.
 

Don Draper

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Well, here's a case where I'm GLAD we're not that close to any other b&b owners here!
 

JBloggs

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FYI Don't think we mentioned that this same scam is going round via email "spoofed" as I got an email from a forum member saying the same sad story and requiring money. I alerted that innkeeper, as her email had been hacked.
 

JBloggs

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Well, here's a case where I'm GLAD we're not that close to any other b&b owners here!.
Rupert said:
Well, here's a case where I'm GLAD we're not that close to any other b&b owners here!
Even if you were you would not be the person the called to get money wired, heck I don't even wire money to any relatives.
 

Morticia

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FYI Don't think we mentioned that this same scam is going round via email "spoofed" as I got an email from a forum member saying the same sad story and requiring money. I alerted that innkeeper, as her email had been hacked..
I was telling this story to Gomez and one of our guests piped in and said the same thing had happened to the golf pro at their local course. Apparently a LOT of his friends sent a lot of money, too. Email spoof- he was stuck in Europe, series of unfortunate mishpas, no phone, etc.
 

seashanty

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sad.
now there is a silly online game i like called super poke pets. and i have my online 'friends' through a particular forum on the site. same as here.
heard all about one woman whose modest home was destroyed by fire. saw the newspaper articles via online links, etc. a collection was taken up and i did donate $20 through paypal. since i'm not working but here and there, that was a lot for me. anyway, i figured the woman would buy herself some clothes. but she buys cash items for her online pet now. all i could do was shake my head. maybe she thought that was what the collection was for.
i would not say i've been scammed, i am just saying that sometimes i do give a person the benefit of the doubt ... $20 i just might send to someone i kind of know in a jam (if i have the 20 bucks to send)
family is different. but don't you just hate that every so often we see an article in the news about someone who thinks they are rescuing their grandson in some far away place when it's a scam? disgraceful!
 

paulavery

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the saddest thing is when honest Joe Anybody is really stuck and approaches people on the street for a life saver (gas to get home, a bus ticket, etc) most people will conclude he is runnig a scam and decline to help. Sad.
 

EmptyNest

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Oh no too...bad you didn't come here sooner. We have had folks tell us about that several times.
 

Joey Camb

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What's been a big thing in this country is having your email hacked and its a friend of your emailing you they are stuck in etc. could you transfer say $40 to get them to the embasy food etc they always use low amounts hoping that would make you less suspicious. My aunt was nearly caught by this but she rang his sister and she said he was in the uk and having his tea.
 
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