View Full Version : Warning! ... How I lost my DVX100
January 3rd, 2004, 01:09 PM
(As posted on the Canopus forum, by me. )
Man do I hate to write this Ö Iíd rather keep it to myself, you'll know why Ö but it could help some of the great folks here
(deep breath) Well I just got nailed for a AG-DVX100 Ö I got soft, talked to a nice guy and worked out a deal Ö split the extra shipping charges (yeah he wanted it overnight) .
He didnít check out real great but, trying to be a nice guy and help out, I checked out the name he gave me against the address (In LA 1369 E 56th street) His name was Robert Johnson.
The LA county tax assessor whom we called confirmed that Mr. Lonnie J. Johnson owned the property at the above address, and before that it belonged to Emma Johnson. Sounded like a family affair. Talked to Robert several more times to arrange things, he always answered the phone. Till he got the camera that is.
Old Robert was supposedly trying to shoot a music video and really needed the camera.
We called our bank and asked about the best way to do the FedEx COD. Cashiers Check or money order? They said Cashiers Check was good. (Note Ö never do this, they donít know squat about how to verify or check these checks, as it turns out).
Next move, sent the cam to the address, COD Ö FedEx handed it over to someone who didnít even claim to be Robert Johnson Ö donít ask me why yet, Iím still trying to find out how that worked. They delivered the no good cashiers check back here.
By pushing my bank and calling five different Wells Fargo Banks (the check was a Wells Fargo check), we finally determined that it was a dud. You would not believe how hard it was to find out that it was no good. They wanted us to deposit it and see what happened. We wouldnít have know for over a week.
Meanwhile we call the LA Police department Ö the address is 8 miles from the Metro Frogery Section station house and only 1.6 miles from the community Police Station.
Robert must have figured that it would be a week or so before we found out the check was rubber, cause they answered the phone, then hung up when they figured out who it was on the line.
Anyway even with all the info, address, owner of property, (single family dwelling) phone numbers registered to someone, the FedEx drivers ID of who signed for it available. Yep you guessed it they wouldnít drive over there. Fill out some forms and weíll get back to you in a couple of days and assign someone was their response.
(It's Sat the 3rd now, still no one assigned to the case, next week maybe ... they say)
So thatís my sad tale Ö I asked for it twice, once in not insisting on dealing with folks on the forums that we all sort of know Ö and second in breaking my own rules and softening up cause someone was in need. Maybe it was the Christmas lights, maybe the eggnog. Iíve had great results over the last year buying gear from people off the forums, good stuff, and good people. And I got it good Ö my little Panasonic is in evil hands all by itself out in LA tonight.
Hereís some emails from the bad guys involved:
BTW if you see a Panasonic AG-DVX100 with the serial # L2TD01033 It ainít theirs email me!
Thanks all, (hope this helps to make you safer)
Happy New Year!
January 3rd, 2004, 02:15 PM
Man that's awful. Sorry to hear about this. Maybe the cops will come through.
Also, I thought cashiers checks were solid? Doesn't that mean the bank has verified the funds and held they so it would clear once it was cashed?
January 3rd, 2004, 02:27 PM
Well, that's exactly why I posted ... NO ... Cashier's Check means nothing to crooks. They forged the check, think of it like counterfeit money. It looks real good. My bank did not know that it was forged. Even Wells Fargo Bank (the check was supposed to be a Wells Fargo Bank check) took half the day to decide it wasn't real.
This same guy also offered to pay me with US PO Money Order. So they are counterfeiting them as well I guess. I understand why you thought that. We called our bank here and asked which was the safest way before we made the arrangments ... they said Cashier's Check ... WRONG!
Matthew de Jongh
January 3rd, 2004, 04:30 PM
i don't suppose fedex has any liability?
i can't think of any way you could have avoided it other than paypal or something?
at least you know where fedex delivered it, so there has got to be some legal recourse, please keep us posted.
January 3rd, 2004, 04:48 PM
This is pretty scary... I tend to insist on cashier's checks myself, and it's surprising to find that even these can be forged. The seller is usually in control of the transaction -- it's always a good idea to ship only after the check has been received, deposited and cleared. However, cons can work both ways and it's always a gamble. PayPal offers some protection but it's not fool-proof. Sorry to hear about this,
January 3rd, 2004, 05:30 PM
US Postal Service Money Orders are probably the safest. Postal Inspectors and other Federal authorities are more likely to take fraud and counterfeiting a little more seriously than most metro police departments.
Matthew de Jongh
January 3rd, 2004, 06:53 PM
i always wondered how closely the fedex guy looks at the check for c.o.d.'s
January 3rd, 2004, 07:16 PM
Hey Matthew Ö FedEx claims they have no liability for the forged check. Weíre still miffed at the idea they would deliver it to another person than who was on the COD and accept a check from them.
Chris hi, Yeah you are mostly right, but in this case we shouldnít even know the check is bad yet. Our bank was willing to accept it, then it would go to Wells Fargo, they would ponder it for a bit then tell our bank it was no good and we would get notice Ö from a week to two weeks for this little trip. Your bank would cash it for you Ö if you had an account with them and sufficient funds to cover the check. These they freeze till the check clears (or doesnít if itís a dud) Ö then you get the big ouch!
The hair got up on my neck ( a little late) and we faxed a copy to Wells Fargo, called three times etc., even at that they told us at first to deposit it and see, we insisted and they finally said it was forged.
Jeff .. this guy offered to pay by Money order if I wanted, so heís also running them off at will. Forging/counterfeiting Cashierís checks also falls under same category as Money Order, according to what this costly lesson is teaching me so far. You can report it to the FBI and they can act Ö (if they want) via laws about cross state transactions, use of the internet, wire (telephone) etc.. Trouble is they usually pass it down to the local Metro types because itís not that important (to them).
Frankly the only good way I can see at this point is to have the buyer wire the money directly into your account. But how the heck is the buyer going to feel about that? No product from you and you want his money?
As far as having the address, so far it hasnít helped a wit. The law wonít even drive by to see if itís occupied or not.
So there it stands as of tonight Ö
Matthew de Jongh
January 3rd, 2004, 07:21 PM
i think the treasury department is in charge of forgery of currency, that might qualify for banking things as well?
gotta be someone who will care...
January 3rd, 2004, 07:51 PM
The last thing you ever want to do is give someone the wire transfer information on your bank account. Once they have that they can empty your account and the bank won't stop it if you inform them. The only way to stop it is to close the account.
Been there, been had by that.
BTW, Cashier's checks can be cancelled just like a personal check.
January 3rd, 2004, 08:10 PM
Postal Inspectors will investigate USPS MO counterfeiting, fraud etc. They may also request other Federal authorities to assist in the investigation, which they usually will do, since it's another Federal agency.
January 3rd, 2004, 09:15 PM
Just goes to show you that it's difficult to mix trust with business. I've always found that if the buyer (or seller) is in a hurry, it gives me a good reason to slow down and think it through. Sorry for your loss.
Christopher C. Murphy
January 3rd, 2004, 09:36 PM
Man that sucks, do you have any type of insurance? Check Ebay, if you see a camera like yours being sold...maybe email the person selling and see if they reply with something? How many people in LA right now will be selling a camera like yours? Maybe try and trick them and see if they say where its been or whatever. Or, maybe say you need the serial#, so you can check if its stolen. If they say no, or won't reply...you might have someone to look at?
I'm suggesting this because I have a few friend cops...they always check Ebay first after hearing of a theft.
January 3rd, 2004, 10:29 PM
I think youíre right Matthew; the treasury dept. has some involvement. I have filed a report with the FBI and the IFCC as well as the local LA Metro Police. The IFCC and FBI are supposed to direct traffic so to speak to who handles what. Trouble is by the time they get around to actually doing anything besides paper work the trail is long cold.
Right now I have all the info in my first post, plus a voice recording (very distinctive, deep, well spoken) of the guy, a strong suspicion that heís hanging around the music video scene. The FedEx guy identified them as blacks.
Mike Ö you could be right Ö drat! I thought you needed a password, permissions and several checks to be able to do an outgoing wire. Oh well Ö
Jeff .. that sounds right Ö the question is when! Thatís been the rub all along here. I was pretty sure we could set this guy up Ö cause he didnít know we knew. But an entire week will have gone by before anyone will even talk about tracing his number or even riding by the house, or for that matter really even talking to us about it seriously.
Hi Frank Ö thanks Ö and yep youíre right, and worse still Ö I knew that then. Oops, Iím sure it was the Silent Night carol playing in the background that made me do it anyway.
Christopher Ö Iím hoping so. Iíve got tons of insurance but I donít know if any of it covers being stupid. I couldnít reach my insurance agent either. Seems like everyone but the crooks are taking the week off. Yeah Ö I did check Ebay, but I think they already had a sale for the camera. In fact I think they have a shopping list Ö just my feeling.
January 4th, 2004, 01:27 AM
I do so hate to hear stories such as these as I have been ripped before myself. I would ask that if you want to read another persons problems and how people from around the country helped out this man in Chicago where I am from.
He even was mentioned on the main pages Macnn and Macaddict as to his plight and I could not believe how many people helped him. It does show that there are good people still around in this world.
Mr. Hurd please note that I notice that you remove links from time to time I would ask of you to allow this one as there is good news to hear from another.
January 4th, 2004, 06:32 AM
Here's a more condensed version of the story Sharon posted. A story with a happy ending and some good information that everyone should know.
Sorry to hear about your camera Bill. Bad way to bring in the New Year for sure.
January 4th, 2004, 08:20 AM
Oh my I can't believe that there was a condensed version of this story. Thank you so much as this was such an inspiration to my friends and me.
You do not know how grateful I am for your posting Jim, I thank you.
January 4th, 2004, 11:38 AM
Mr. Hurd please note that I notice that you remove links from time to time I would ask of you to allow this one as there is good news to hear from another.
Hi Sharon, normally links are deleted only if they are to a commercial site, other than our sponsors, or to ebay auctions. These type of links are prohibited, as explained in the Dv Info FAQ. If you feel one of your links, or you know of a link that was deleted in error, please bring it to the attention of one of the DV Info Net Administators. (http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showgroups.php?s=)
January 4th, 2004, 11:24 PM
I would like to help you out... I am often in the area of that area and I have law enforcement contacts in South Los Angeles.
Email me with what you have found out so far. I've been hit with forgers twice before.... let's hit back.
January 4th, 2004, 11:42 PM
Mr. Donald, As I directed the question to Mr. Hurd I was asking him to let this one go that is all please let's not make something out of nothing.
What I was trying to do was to illicit a response to the people in the forum to help. Being that I read the story on MacNN and saw that many people had helped to get this guy caught was worth it, also they found a ring of people that bilked people out of their money.
Mr. Cheung Thank you for your response as I do hope and pray that something good will come of this.
Fraud hurts twice first the crime then a little bit of humanity gets hit when no one trusts others that are out there hit him or her.
January 5th, 2004, 06:40 PM
Humphrey ... Hey thanks for the offer. I emailed you. Let me know.
Everyone ... made a little progress today. Off the tax map for that area of LA, did some reverse phone lookups and came up with some of the neighbors names. Called two of them and they said that people actually live in the house. That's sort of good news. Got a few more clues from them as well.
Talked again to the LA Detective Harned ... the case is still yet to be assigned.
January 5th, 2004, 11:08 PM
I've worked with LAPD detectives before... some of the best, but they are extremely overworked.
January 6th, 2004, 04:20 PM
I thought I would pass this along.
Everyone thinks cashier's checks are good. They are NOT.
A used car dealer I know sold a car to a doctor. The doctor
paid with a cashier's check. When the attempt was made to
cash it, the dealer was informed that the check had been reported
as LOST. Sorry, we can't cash this.
The whole thing was turned over to the sheriff, who was kind enough
to call the Dr. and inform him that he'd be arrested if he didn't
make good on the "lost" check. The Dr. had been forced to sign
papers stating the check had indeed been lost by the bank to
get his money back (some day or two later).
The Dr. showed up at the car dealer's door and proceeded to
tell him that,"I'd have gotten away with it if I just hadn't signed
the paper stating the cashier's check had been lost."
What a jerk! Anyway, the moral is, the ONLY check that is
truly good is a CERTIFIED check. Before a certified check is
issued, the money is removed from the account. You lose a
certified check and that's the end of the story.
Since forgeries are getting worse, I'd still call the bank on
a certified check to make sure it is real.
January 6th, 2004, 06:15 PM
Ouch, sorry to hear about your DVX100.
I know it's too late, but I always use an escrow company, my favorite is Escrow.com (https://www.escrow.com/index.asp) It is the only way that I will do business over the internet, especially for any item over US$500. It will protect you as both the buyer and the seller.
I sold an Optura Pi on DvInfo.net using it. I also traded/sold music keyboards for several years using it, never had a problem. The people I sold/bought from were also very happy with the service and the security it provided.
There's a small fee depending on the price of the item, but it will give you good piece of mind when buying or selling an item.
January 8th, 2004, 03:19 PM
Well, finally got the case assigned today to probably the most uninterested officer in California ... or so it seemed after talking with him. I'm waiting a few days to see if anything at all actually happens. Sometimes people sound one way and act another (only sometimes, I think).
Even with info that we've supplied there appears to be little interest in the case. Too small, how are we supposed to find this person he asks me, happens all the time, what if we do trace the phone number then so what? ... things like this. Too frustrating to detail all of it at the moment. They have no database of criminal activity for locations, or streets or address. So you cannot check to see if other reported activity has gone on at a particular address.
To add to the grrrr, factor the FedEx guy is suddenly having memory loss problems. Can't remember anything about who he gave the package to now.
Talked with the SS out in LA, much nicer on the phone but ... they can only become involved if there is more than one incident attributed to person or maybe the address of the crime. But as mentioned above the local police can't help there. It also seems that the local DA's office has some agreement that the Feds can't help if the crime is below a certain dollar figure.
It has all the fixings of a catch 22 arrangement. There's more of course. But I won't dwell.
The only effective vigilante action that I can see at this point is a grass roots movement against the carriers to be more vigilant with ID, etc., or come up with a way to insure a safer shipping environment. The only way that happens is if business demands it and they loose customers if they don't do it. Another is to work to spread the word not to accept any of these forms of payment to the mass audience and thus cut off the means for the bad guys to have a pay day. But then maybe they turn into the seller of nonexistent items and get us on that end.
Of course I'm unlikely to walk into one of these again, but the thieves win if we have to all learn it a few at a time. You know, Cashier's Checks, Money Orders, COD, problems with PayPal ... insurance means little to nothing, carriers aren't responsible for any thing, do not check IDs ... then have memory loss. Law enforcement is overwhelmed and mostly not effective when they are picking us off one at a time. Deals between the various forms of law enforcement to not do this or that.
So how can that word be spread? How about a map with "hot spots" of financial criminal activity ... Don't do business here maps or something? How could I post this guys voice and see if anybody else got robbed by him for instance. (the LA detective doesn't want to hear it, and they have no email ability)
Heck I don't know. Sharp brains in the video biz ... ideas?
February 11th, 2004, 05:01 PM
Hey i'm in L.A. I doubt that I can help but I'm curious to know if there has been any action as of yet?
February 11th, 2004, 06:13 PM
Wish I was in LA right now. I'd drive over there and see what gives. Take a few photos or videos.
I was supposed to be there now but got delayed. Too bad.
March 12th, 2004, 12:44 PM
Just out of curiosity, and I don't mean to be critical but just want to know - why didn't you demand money first, wait for it to clear, and then only ship after? That's the nice thing about ebay - when you sell on ebay and use that procedure, it's next to impossible to get ripped off.
September 1st, 2004, 10:02 PM
The Paypal discussion here has been split its own thread. Look a couple spaces below!
November 19th, 2004, 08:57 PM
Call your local US Secret Service office. Because it was a cashier's check it should fall under thier pervue. Might get you farther then the LAme PD
January 23rd, 2005, 10:47 PM
terrible thing that happened to you there man. I hope it works out.
March 31st, 2005, 03:09 AM
Bill, did you ever find the scumbag who stole your camera?
April 8th, 2005, 08:19 AM
If not you could probably write off all the expenses and the cost of the camera as a loss on your taxes.
May 16th, 2005, 12:27 PM
just a few days ago i saw news about a rash of phony u.s. postal money orders, so nothing is safe.
how about paypal or similar? there are also online escrow services??
July 31st, 2005, 12:13 PM
This has been going on in the Ebay world for quite a while now, I guess it is spreading to all forums now. Alot of people don't know that the money orders don't even have to be fake for you to beware of it, you can cancel a money order the same as a personal check. I sell alot on Ebay and I would NEVER mail anything out without a check or money order clearing first. GO PAYPAL!!
August 13th, 2005, 11:58 PM
PayPal offers some protection but it's not fool-proof. Sorry to hear about this,
Paypal is no better. I got burned selling a $1,300 mobile DVD player via Paypay. Paypal is NOT you friend. You're still at 100% risk. I sold them the DVD player, they called the CC company and disputed charges (claimed the card was stolen or something). Paypal yanked the funds out of my account. Paypals reply was "Sorry, it happens all the time. Nothing we can do".
I will never use Paypal again.
August 14th, 2005, 12:04 AM
THere's a site dedicated to Paypal... paypalsucks.com
August 14th, 2005, 09:43 AM
Paypal is nearly perfect.... if you are the buyer, and only ever pay by credit card, never ever use your bank account, or money that is IN your paypal account.
If you are a seller, it is safer if you have a seperate bank account for it, and withdraw all the money out of it instantly in case of a chargeback. If I was selling big ticket items to total strangers, no, I would not use Paypal, I would ask for a Western Union money transfer!!! :)
November 15th, 2005, 07:34 PM
cash baby cash...
with all these fancy credit cards and cheques u think u're safe, in control.. the best way to do it. i dont trust any peice of paper.
my advice.. forget aaaaaaaall about cash.. cheques and whatever that comes in papers man.
go for pay me quarters. when i get that bag, weigh it, and turns out to be the exact weight and volume in water as is of the legit money of your country's coins weight.. then heat it, slam into the microwave, hit the coins with a tennis racket... until you are satisfied that.. YES this is real money. then.. only then, send over your stuff.
lol.. ONCE, i didnt trust this guy on ebay.. i was like.. u want it so bad darling (dah-ling) pay me in quarters.. and i waited for two weeks.. and he went away, then he sent me an email after a week.. laughing.. darn man ure good how did you know i was "kiddin" all this time. and i was like =S i got out of ebay and never signed in there again.
two months later I see fed ex with a white bag of quarters, there was a note: i respect you dawg!
and thats how i sold my compaq presario 1700 laptop. =D
January 2nd, 2006, 07:37 AM
Sorry for your loss. I fear that same thing will happen to me. Has anyone tried escrow. From what I've read, it's safe. I've never used it, though.
January 2nd, 2006, 08:09 AM
check this link.. someone scammed the scammer!......
January 11th, 2006, 07:14 PM
check this link.. someone scammed the scammer!......
Haha, that's hilarious!
October 3rd, 2006, 11:37 AM
Wow, this is one of the best things that I've seen yet
December 11th, 2006, 05:04 PM
So far, I've been lucky with Internet transactions but I always get to know the seller/buyer before transacting business. Unless the buyer/seller really know one another and have proven their traceable identity, it's too risky for me. Here's a case in point:
Several months ago I was searching Craigslist for a Vinten tripod and found a guy in Las Vegas who had a great deal on the Vinten along with a Canon XL-2, LCD monitor, camera case, and Varizoom. When I politely asked if the party would consider selling the Vinten as a standalone if no one bought the camera, the guy EMAILed me a gruff, terse "no way" response. Fair enough so far...
A week ago I again researched for a Vinten and, low and behold, I again noticed the exact camera, tripod, LCD monitor, Varizoom and case on Craigslist. Suspiciously, this time the package was not only in a different city, but the ad was placed in 3 cities (Miami, Phoenix, and Orange County near LA). See for yourself:
Notice in the Miami ad, the guy says he needs the money for taxes. Being the suspicious type, I EMAILed him asking specific questions about the camera, configurations and settings only a videographer could answer. The EMAIL response was from a free anonymous EMAIL saying it was actually his brother's camera who needed the money for travel (so much for the tax bill story). Of course, he ignored my request for his home phone telephone number so I could talk with him.
This example has numerous red flags that would prevent me from taking the bait "hook, line and sinker" despite the great price. While the Bible may have said Love Thy Neighbor, it's not a bad idea to add on "to KNOW me (you) is to love me (you)!"