I Was Scammed & This Is What I Learnt

Today was a hard day, and it had a big learning lesson for me.

how I felt today

I was scammed. Again. This already happened to me in Germany, last year. Back then I was called on the phone, and told I have to subscribe to a magazine because I participated in a competition. Yes, I did, and something showed up when I submitted my details. I had to give the caller my bank details and later affirm that I agree with the magazine subscription and handing in my details. I did both things. Then I started to worry. What have I done? I called my father and he said I should never give my bank details on the phone. This is a no-brainer. I think most people know that. I knew that. Yet I did it! The man on the other line made it sound like I HAD to, there was no other way to get out of it. On the same or next day I went to the police and reported the call; in case they would get to my money. Now, back then, it all worked out fine. I got a letter with the subscription, and guess what, I could get out of it. I cancelled the subscription and all was well. When a month later I got another scam call I said, ‘I haven’t clicked on or applied for anything’ and the woman on the other line hung rudely up. That’s how they are. They all want your money but if you don’t give them what they want they become rude.

I thought I had learnt my lesson. But so often you have to repeat a mistake until you finally learn. Now, I have sold many things in my life. I am one of those minimalists that still struggle with consumerism. I still buy things that I want to sell a month later. It is very upsetting, but perhaps this time I have finally learnt my lesson. If there’s one thing worse than spending money on something you sell later, it is selling and not being paid. And that is exactly what happened to me today. I had bought a gaming laptop because my friend cajoled me to get it. I like to play videogames, but I also have a nintendo switch. It is not the best device to play some multi-player games, however, so I thought I’d treat myself. But even before buying it, my stomach told me I should save the money (if I only listened to it more often). I hate spending a large amount of money on things. I could never be one of those people who spend £500 on a dress. I enjoyed the new laptop for a while but playing the games deteriorated my mental health (mainly because of toxic players. Yes, I could just look for other games. But why? I do have enough things. More than enough things. I bought a kalimba a couple of months ago, desperately wanting to play it again, but I’ve only played it a couple of times so far. I have so many hobbies and passions, I didn’t want to add to the list. And this laptop, I just didn’t need it. It was bulky, big, and heavy. And so I did what I so often do; sell it. In Germany, we’ve got this great platform called ‘ebay kleinanzeigen’, it is ebay but different. More personal. I sold so many things through it and it always worked out. There’s no ‘ebay kleinanzeigen’ in England and so I looked for other platforms.

The Facebook Marketplace is something I will never use again. I already found the people trying to rent or sell their apartments rather suspicious. Last year I was interested in one appartment and later found out that the same appartment apparently exists in several countries across the UK. And yet, I thought, why not try facebook marketplace. And they got me. I paid for the stamp, sent the laptop, and haven’t got any money. This man used ‘tide bank’ which apparently is no bank but always has the word included. Tide is like a third-party. I had to send them the postage receipt and they’d transfer the money onto my bank account. That’s what they said. But the next morning, I got an email that the transfer was interrupted due to a technical issue. The buyer had to send them £500 to ‘trigger’ the transfer, I would have to send the buyer the £500 so they would send me the total amount (price of laptop plus £500) on my bank account. I know, this already sounds suspicious. Writing these sentences down, I realise how naive I was. But the laptop was already sent and I believed the person. After all, he said he had already sent tide the money. But I didn’t have £500 and when I wanted to send tide bank half of it, my bank wouldn’t let me. I called my bank (meanwhile, the seller said that often happens with my bank, I shouldn’t listen to them), and was told that I was scammed. As I was telling the bank assistant what had happened I already realised my mistake. Yes, why would a bank need my e-mail address? And they’re not even allowed to send e-mails to people money is sent to. I called royal mail, asking if they could not deliver the parcel and send it back — but they can’t. I texted the buyer, asking if they could return the parcel, and the man said “You will not lose anything if you send me either 250 or 500 but you have made your bank tell you lies that it’s a scam“, and after saying once again I won’t send money and asked for the item to be returned he said “It cannot be returned cos she’s at work and will be traveling tomorrow. More of the reason you may need to send the 500 unless you have given up on this because you bank stupidly assume my bank is a scam“. That’s when I knew for sure it’s a scam. I made the bank tell me lies? I don’t know about the profession of scammers, but I would say that is highly unprofessional. The laptop was delivered. I won’t get it back nor receive the money.

I wonder how these people live with themselves, knowing they steal from people. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. I don’t know what is worse, the loss of the money, being tricked by a person, or my naivety. I think it’s the latter. I was so upset with myself that I haven’t learnt from my first mistake. I was upset that, even though my gut feeling said I shouldn’t sell it on facebook marketplace, I did it. And I wanted to get the money before sending the item, but they still managed to trick me. Always trust your gut feeling, and don’t trust people. I think this is the lesson I’ve learnt today. I’m not saying don’t trust your family or friends. Though, you should even be cautious with them. I once met a guy whose mother stole all his money. But I’d like to think stealing mothers make up a minority. In general, especially when it comes to strangers, don’t trust them…when I moved to England one of the first big headlines I read was a rise in women being spiked in clubs. You, especially if you’re a woman, always have to be careful. Outside, especially with men, and online. You don’t know the person. Don’t be like me and lose something valuable because you believed a stranger on the internet. You have to be cautious, especially on the internet. Now, I’ll think more than twice about what to buy (in general, I try to follow the rule to only buy what I need, not what I want. My wants change often, and then I end up having things I want to sell again),– and not sell on the internet; especially on facebook marketplace.


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