I may be a lot of things but (hopefully) stupid is not one of them. For instance, every once in a while I have some item I need to depart with. Often I list them on eBay. This was one such case.
In changing cell carriers, naturally I was required to buy a new phone, since my old phone (which was brand new) was on a different network. Knowing the phone was in excellent (almost new) condition and I still had the original box with the unused charger inside, I thought it would be perfect to resell. So I listed it and the fun began.
I had a buyer very quickly. But within a day he emailed to say he needed to cancel the purchase, since it was a gift for his son and he needed it sooner. I accepted the cancellation. Only a few minutes later I had another buyer. Within a few hours I was getting barraged with texts from the buyer asking questions about the item and wanting pictures (which were not an issue except all the questions and photos were clearly shown and answered in the original listing).
Then he requested overnight delivery via FedEx or UPS with an address to some "Unit" on "Zip Industrial Blvd" in Atlanta. He said he would offer $150 extra for the overnight shipping. No problem, I do this often. I prepared the overnight shipment through UPS and advised him of the cost, which was much less than $150. Then he wanted to know how quickly I could get it to the shipper. And, he wanted a copy of the confirmation of shipping ASAP. Knowing I had most of the day to make the shipping deadline, I found this odd.
The texts continued. If I did not reply immediately, there would be a ? mark or another text "Are you there?" Then came a phone call. Due to his broken English I could not understand what he was saying and asked that he text me the request. The text came. He wished I include a $500 AmEx gift card in the box as a birthday present to his son in addition to the phone. (Note: 1st cancelled sale was also a gift.) Here's your sign!
When I immediately replied that I could not do that, his response was "OK". I then reminded him that I still had not received confirmation of his payment. That would be required before shipment - Duh!
It was only a few minutes later that he responded he had paid eBay through Paypal. He said I should receive confirmation emails from both parties . . . and to check my spam folder, they may be there. Here's the 2nd sign.
Surprise! Surprise! The emails were in my spam folder - imagine that. And they asked that I provide the UPS shipping confirmation before payment could be released. I noted, there was odd syntax and spelling in the emails, although both looked quite convincing with all the "Official" eBay and Paypal graphics. However, checking my Ebay and Paypal accounts, neither was showing a pending payment.
I advised him that I had the emails, and was awaiting the "pending" notifications in either account. He quickly replied that these were new policies by eBay and Paypal to prevent fraud and that I needed to confirm shipment first. By now I was tired of this non-sense. He was not getting the phone. But the game continued. The next text from him said that the funds had been deducted from his Paypal account so I could proceed with the shipping. (The check's in the mail and I'll respect you n the morning.)
I, once again, advised him that neither of my accounts were showing a "pending" payment. (All the while I was the false emails to the fraud departments as eBay and Paypal.) He asked me to check again, which I did several times within the following hour (all the while refreshing my screen to ensure I did not miss an update.) Finally, I advised him the order would be cancelled and I was contacting both Paypal and eBay to get more information on this "new" security practice.
His response - "Ok"
In going to eBay and looking up the buyer, I saw that the account was opened the day of the purchase. Was it P.T. Barnum who said, "There's a sucker born every minute"? Maybe so, but not this time. Let us review here. A $500 gift card from AmEx -seriously! If I was not a frequent seller on eBay and was not aware of their policies, as well as those of Paypal, I could have fallen down that rabbit hole. The syntax and poor grammar in the emails were issues. As was both being sent to the spam folder given I have very established accounts with both eBay and Paypal.
But, being a good southern girl, I did not want to offend Ayide, so I went further with this insanity than I should have. And to think his poor son will not be getting the phone or the gift card for his birthday. Now as for the grand lottery prize I have won, if I will just send several thousand dollars, to release the funds or the Society of What's Happening Now that only a needs several hundred dollars to feed the children with leprosy in India, well they may have to wait - as in forever.
As I prepare the re-listing of the phone since I am still awaiting notification in my accounts that the funds have been received. My guess - Hell will freeze over first. But then any day now I'll being getting that money from that poor missionary in Liberia I sent her earlier this week. She sounded so desperate, and I am certain a missionary would never be involved in some deceitful scheme. Right?