Identity Theft??

I should’ve known better. It had to be a scam. It didn’t add up.

I was beating myself up for being sucked in. Again. This was worse than the time I received the e-mail asking me to click on a link to update my credit card info. That situation took a half-hour on the phone to fix, ten days for my new credit card to arrive in the mail, and a few glitches with PayPal.

This time I’d sent on my banking info and a void cheque. Yikes! It seemed legit until no money showed up in my account…

It started with a message to e-mail a man about a winning draw. Why that didn’t arouse suspicion is beyond me. I e-mailed the letter-writer. In his return e-mail, I learned I won an amount that would truly benefit going towards costs for my daughter’s upcoming bridal shower.

So many good things were happening for my daughter’s future wedding: a friend offered to officiate, another friend offered to be the photographer, a wedding dress was handed down, a job became available for my daughter, and the perfect venue was available. Things were falling into place. I figured this was just another beautiful example of favour shining down on the wedding.

I e-mailed a void cheque to the man. I printed out a form, filled in my banking info with my signature, to boot, and returned it him.

Two weeks passed. Still no winning money deposited in my account.

One night, about midnight, it finally hit me. I was scammed. The reason I had to send my banking info to a third-party out-of-town was because I hadn’t really won the monthly draw. I prepared to write another e-mail to the man, knowing I probably wouldn’t believe anything he had to tell me at this point.

Reviewing his original e-mail to me, I noticed it said I won the draw for June 2016. There was a spelling error for the name of the draw. I remembered chalking up his writing the year as 2016 as a typo error. My overtired brain had thought Jan. was written, not June. The e-mail also stated people are sometimes uncomfortable sending info by e-mail. If that was the case, then I could call a certain number. Yup, and tell them the info over the phone?

In hindsight, it all stood out with red flags. At full mast. It reminded me of the e-mail I purportedly received from Apple recently entitled Billing Problem. Apparently, there was a problem with my “informations”. If fraudulent people ever become good at spelling, I will be doomed.

In the morning, the man sent me an e-mail apologizing that I hadn’t already received the draw money. He said he would speak with the  payroll department.  I should have the money in my account on Friday. I figured it was just a story. No money was going to show up. I was just hoping my bank account wouldn’t be drained. I dreaded the thought of changing all of my bank info and changing all of my direct withdrawal information.

Feeling very sheepish, I e-mailed the company that sponsored the draw. I asked if they could determine if this was a true situation or a scam. The woman said she would copy my e-mail and send it to the appropriate people.

I went swimming. No sense going to the bank yet. I had an hour between my swim ending and my volunteer stent at the shelter beginning. I was going to need a lot more time than that to correct my error. I tried to push the stress out of my head with each length I swam.

Ping! A new e-mail arrived. Apparently, I had won the draw! My daughter told me that they just might be saying that; she suggested I change all of my banking anyways. It still sounded fishy. A June 2016 win being given to me in March? Sending my bank info to another city?

I had no time that day to go to the bank anyways. I kept checking my bank balance to see if there was any money in it.

Friday arrived. The draw money had been deposited!! The money would be available for the wedding shower costs.

What I learned:

1)      Be extra careful when people request banking information.

2)      Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

3)      Good things DO keep happening towards my daughter’s wedding. Let them keep on coming!

When I told my hubby the money from the June draw made its way into our bank account, he had an explanation for the lengthy delay. 

Guy said, “Well, you do work in an Obstetrics Unit. Taking 9 months is normal!”

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