Friday, February 13, 2009

Stop The Madness!

Recently, I received the following email from two different friends:


I felt the need to write every single person on my contact list after experiencing a devastating loss yesterday.

We were left bankrupt after being victim to internet fraud.

I had sold an old dining set for my folks on Kijiji and it turns out the purchaser was a member of an international ring. Seemingly normal transaction, a man sent me a money order for the set, which he was apparently going to give to his wife as a gift. I chatted with the fellow both via email and on the phone.

I verified the money order at our RBC branch. It was approved and cashed.

I was notified by police yesterday morning that the money order was fraudulent and our bank account had been drained.

RBC and Police said these fraudsters are getting so clever at passing fake bank notes/money orders--the tellers are unable to pick up on anything untoward. That's how legit these money orders appear. Not even the scanners detected anything abnormal when I asked.

There is no chance the money will be returned or reimbursed by RBC. The only glimmer of hope is that because my sister in law manages TD, she was able to tell us that had the RBC teller looked on her computer screen, she would have seen a red-flag warning to all banks to NOT process any money orders carrying the code that was on the very same one RBC cashed for me.

As it turns out, this is becoming an extremely common occurance, especially in western Canada. The police inspector told me DOZENS of these fake money orders from online purchases via Kijiji/Ebay are being passed daily. Just 2 days ago, police told me of another Saskatoon man who sold his vehicle on Kijiji and lost nearly 100 thousand dollars.

I wanted to write this to warn everyone of the dangers of internet shopping and accepting payment.

We are completely broke. Thank God for my parents, friends and Rawlco for helping through this really awful time.

Pls. don't feel the need to write back--just pass this along to WHOEVER so it will not happen again to someone else. Just last night, one of my girlfriends was about to accept payment for a dress with a money order and I caught her before she made a huge mistake.


People, please. Do not forward this email to everyone in your address book without thinking a little about what this email actually contains!

As an RBC employee, let me respond ~ prefacing this with the fact that I have no insider personal knowledge of this particular case.

I am afraid that there must be more to the story than Shauna is circulating on the internet. While I have no doubt that she has been a victim of fraud, & I sympathize with her plight, there is no way it could have happened the way she describes.

I have been trying to understand how depositing or cashing a money order (fraudulent or not) could:
a) have transmitted any account info to bad guys
b) provided account access to bad guys
c)resulted in all bank accounts being drained & bankruptcy.

It seems to me that some very important info is missing from this email.

There is no way someone can drain your account if they don't have all your account info. She must have at some point given them this information. If the money order was no good, the branch would be notified the next day in its daily reports. RBC would then only debit the account for the amount of the money order. It is not the bank that drained her account but someone else, so how did they get her account information? It certainly wasn't from the bank. Due to privacy laws, we never release account info to anyone who isn't a signee of the account.

In my opinion, and I repeat, I have no direct insider knowledge of this particular case, Shauna had to have been partially complicit in whatever happened to her, by giving info to the person herself (for whatever reason) as there is NO WAY the fraudsters got her account info just from the events she described. Cashing a money order does not, in any way, release/provide the person who sent it to you with your account info.

I guess that part that really gets me is "had the teller looked at her computer screen". What the hell? We look at our computer screens ALL DAY! Also, we don't have red flashing warning signals on our terminals, maybe they do at the T.D. but not at RBC. And besides, if it is a legit fraud item we do actually reimburse the client, after reporting the incident to the fraud detection group. So, her branch should have reported it to the fraud detection group.

While the advice to be wary of internet scams is always good, it is unfortunate that she appears to be blaming RBC for what happened. And it's unfortunate that this email has now reached viral proportions.

If you are selling something, on Ebay or kijiji, or are otherwise getting payment with money orders from people you don't know, you can ask your financial institution to send the money order on collection first to see if it is legit. You need to wait until it comes back cleared to get your funds, but that way, you won't think you have money & then lose it.

Please do not help this email along. Or, at the very least, consider all the facts before you do.


french panic said...

whenever someone sends me a silly email like this, and i respond with a detailed explanation of why it is a fraudulent email, I generally get silence in return. One of my cousins ceased all contact with me, same with 2 of my friends. Of course, all 3 of those people are flakey flakeballs, but still.

I don't even put them down or call them stupid, but I guess they think I'm a jerk for trying to stop them from spreading false information.

I should just let the stupid lie.

Wilma said...

This one really ticks me because the woman in question is somewhat of a celebrity in our fair province, & so her words are given more weight than those of regular Joes.

Even though Joes have more sense.

Mayhaps if we keep calling people on their fraudulent info, we won't get it anymore. Or they will at least think twice before passing this shite on.

Anonymous said...

I also had the same email from someone today. I'm not sure what location this originates from and how can you tell?

Wilma said...

The email I got was prefaced with an "intro" that identified the woman by name & place of employment. She is a radio personality out of Saskatoon.

Also, in the email itself, she mentions Rawlco, a company which owns radio stations across Saskatchewan & Alberta.

Plus, the first person I got this from works for a Rawlco owned station, & she told me who it was.