Scammers are getting creative to lure victims. tsk, tsk...
image credit: http://www.findthescammers.com
Just want to share this incident which happened a few days ago.
This is not the first time I've sold an item. But this is the first time, I've encountered something like this. Though nothing bad happened to me except that my cellphone's battery is missing, I'm writing this to warn people that this incident could be a potential modus operandi for those meet-up transactions (wherein the buyer and seller would meet in person) especially to those who are selling gadgets.
A buyer from a local online buy-sell-trading site contacted me last night and told me that she's interested to buy my phone. After a series of SMS exchange, we agreed to meet at a mall during my break.
She arrived on-time in our meet-up place. She also came with a child and her lesbian lover who's smaller than her. Since she's buying a phone, she wanted to check my item using her sim. I agreed since it's her right as a customer. I CLEARLY remembered that I took the battery out and got her sim. Once I've put the sim in the phone, I noticed I'm no longer holding the battery of my phone. I was really shocked and embarrassed since the battery just magically disappeared and my customer was there, waiting excitedly for her potential phone.
Right then and there, I admitted to my customer about my predicament. I told her the battery is missing. And thought maybe I gave it to her while I got her sim. She looked inside her bag and checked her child. She didn't find any. I also looked in my shopping bag (containing the box and accessories of the phone) and found no trace of my cellphone's battery.
All of our search was in vain and I humbly apologized to the customer that we can't continue the transaction since the cellphone's battery is missing. The customer was really kind and didn't show any sign of disappointment with my service AT ALL. So I left the meet-up place, feeling confused of this transaction. I can't understand how my cellphone's battery just disappeared!
After a few minutes since I left our meet-up place, I received a text from the buyer that she still wants to buy my phone even if it doesn't have a battery. She's asking for a discount. I thought the price was still reasonable and so I agreed.
I was about to return to the meet-up place when I received another SMS from the buyer. She said, she'll only buy my phone IF I accompany them to buy the battery. I told them I can't since I still have work. She tried to convince me that I should accompany them and it would not take long. By this time, I felt something is not adding up right.
No love for the scammer. High Five y'all!
image credit: http://whatgifs.com
In an attempt to validate my gut feel towards this customer, I sent an SMS and reminded her about the battery. That in case, I'll find it (battery) I can give the phone at a MUCH lower price from what she was asking from me. But in case, she finds it in her belongings, I hope she can return it to me so we can proceed with the sale.
And you know what? This customer didn't even show any anger towards me even if I subtly hinted that she might have the battery! Isn't that creepy? All this time, she never showed any frustration. Instead, she's more focused in coaxing me to accompany them to buy a battery and even reminding me that she was really excited to give me the *money*... woah, so she said the magic word: Money~
Notice how she is now using the word: money. But no, thank you. I'd rather be safe. And so, I went back to the office and checked my belongings. Everything is intact except for the cellphone battery. It's REALLY missing. As I write this, I remember she and her lesbian lover switched twice in carrying the child, this happened when I was getting the phone. Most likely I got distracted by it. The buyer also allowed me to see her bag just to prove the battery isn't with her. I noticed that my buyer's bag didn't have a milk bottle, extra clothes and a face towel. The 3 items are COMPULSORY when you are going out with a child. All she had in her bag were an umbrella and coin purse.
I want to give this customer the benefit of the doubt but I just can't. The red flags are there.
I forgot to add this customer wanted to change our meet-up location on the last minute. The oh-so-common "I'm not familiar with the place" and "I might get lost" excuse were used. duh! Our meet-up place is just National Bookstore. It's not like Jolibee or Mcdo wherein the said establishments can have 2 sites in a mall (the fast food and the stand-alone dessert/take-out counter). I replied her "Just ask the guard."
So for those who are also doing meet-ups, never let your guard down.
Always be alert. If you feel something is wrong, maybe there is something wrong. Those scammers are really creative in coming up with tricks to dupe people. Like this couple, they even used a child as a "prop" to their modus operandi. Never compromise your safety.