“So I’m back to the velvet underground / back to the floor, that I love / to a room with some lace and paper flowers / back to the gypsy that I was.” -Stevie Nicks
Just wanted to put a PSA out there so no one repeats my dumb mistake.
The TL;DR: never ever, ever ever use Zelle or Venmo to buy stuff off craigslist until you’ve got the thing in hand. They don’t have payment protection. Paypal does.
Anyway, I decided to try and get some last minute tickets to Fleetwood Mac tonight. Went on Craigslist to buy tickets. Messaged this legit-seeming post. The tickets in the post said “Mike” on them. The person texted like a Dad. It seemed legit until…they asked if I had Zelle. I thought it was weird. Their excuse was “Unfortunately they hold payments on new accounts for 21 days which is absurd.” Something about the word “absurd” seemed real to me. Almost disarming. You’re right! It is absurd. But they wouldn’t go along to get along: they refused to send the ticket before I sent payment despite my offer to send a drivers license picture. There were too many flags. I let the conversation end there.
Reader, I’d love to tell you that I, having learned my lesson and stopped right here.
I did not learn my lesson, nor did I stop right here. (more…)
Doug the Scammer was out and about on 3rd Street NE last night. This time he was a doctor neighbor who needed to use my phone to call the police. I told him I couldn’t help him and was grateful, for once, that our dog barks at folks who knock.”
Photo by PoPville flickr user Erin
Just wanted to give readers a heads up about a scam we encountered while driving home on Valentine’s Day. We were stopped at a red light, and the man in the car next to us honked at us several times and signaled to us to roll down our window. I did, and he said my front right tire was “wobblying really bad” and I needed to pull over ASAP. (more…)
Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.
From DC Water yesterday:
“DC Water this afternoon issued a new reminder for all customers to be aware of and alert to possible scams involving callers or visitors who claim to be from the water authority.
The new warning came after a water customer was convinced to share her credit card information with someone pretending to be from the authority.
In the past, scams involving utility customers have involved visits or in some cases trying to sell water filters or solicit social security numbers. Customers should be aware of the following information: (more…)
From the Office of the Attorney General:
“District residents should be on the lookout for scammers making telephone calls claiming to be with Pepco. These fraudulent callers threaten to shut off residents’ electric service within hours unless the residents pay amounts they supposedly owe to Pepco. The callers request that the payments be made by prepaid card, money order or wire transfer – making it almost impossible for residents to recover their money after discovering they were scammed. (more…)
Photo by PoPville flickr user Ted Eytan
I’m leaving the area(sadly!) and am trying to think of a bar to have a going away happy hour gathering in Adams Morgan/Dupont /U Street or Shaw. It could be a private room or private area though that’s not a requirement. Mostly, I’m trying to think of a spot with plenty of room that I could invite around 30 people to.”
Doug has crossed the River! I run a restaurant in the Courthouse area of Arlington and my host told me some Doctor asked to speak with me. Almost immediately I felt I recognized him, and it took about 30 seconds into his story about being a neighbor and a former “regular” of ours, that his assistant had his car and he left his wallet, phone and keys in there and was having trouble getting in touch with him. He said the host was nice enough to let him use the phone but he had no luck. My first response was to just say “Doug?”, to which he said, “huh?”. I asked how I could help him and he asked for some free beer, to which my response was, “that’s not going to happen, Doug”. (more…)
Photo by PoPville flickr user Rich Renomeron
Ed. Note: At this point I assume every single phone call is a scam. When my mom calls, I’m like “Oh yeah mom, what’d you buy me for my 12th birthday? Faster, faster. SCAMMER.” Click. But that’s just me.
I just wanted to submit a warning to fellow DCers. Today, I received a phone call from a legitimate 202 number (I didn’t know the number and normally wouldn’t answer, but did in case it was a work call). When I answered, they asked me to verify my name (I did), told me that I was under criminal investigation, and asked if I knew anything about it. I said no.
I will preface the rest of the story by saying that I have a very common name and am a bit paranoid about identity theft (it’s happened to several of my family members). I only stayed on the phone as long as I did (12 minutes!) so that I could confirm that my identity was not actually stolen.
Anyway, the woman on the phone told me that they found an abandoned car that was registered under my name. She described the car, gave me two addresses that were associated with it, and asked if I was familiar with any of these. I said no. She then proceeded to tell me that drugs were found in the car and that the addresses were already under investigation for drug trafficking. (more…)
“Scammers primarily rely on two types of rental scams:
- Hijacked listings: A hijacked listing copies a legitimate advertisement–photos, location, description–and posts it on another website with different contact information. This type of scam seems legitimate because it mimics a real property, but the person you are communicating with is a scammer, not the owner.
- Phantom rentals: A phantom rental is a listing that uses photos of a property that is not located at the advertised address. This scam attempts to steal your money or information before you find out the property does not exist.
Both types of these scams lure renters with extremely low rental prices and lavish amenities. Once they have your attention, they request money (such as an application fee) or financial information for the property they cannot deliver. Victims sometimes don’t even realize they have been cheated until they show up to the property and find that it does not exist or is not for rent.
Tips to Avoid Rental Scams
Good deals on rentals do exist, but make sure you do your research to make an informed decision. Here are some tips to avoid being scammed: (more…)