Friday, February 2, 2018

How I was almost scammed

I’ll start it off with a bold statement: In the business there are probably more scammers than there are legitimate and honest businessman.

My life experience is a base for my statement. Yes, my friends, there are too many villains in this world - more than truly honest people.

I don’t have any hard proof and statistics. Just anecdotal evidence and experience. When you’ve been around as long as I have, you see a lot of things.

You can get in trouble because you trusted the wrong people.

That’s on the extreme end of course. But you might be surprised at how often people get cheated or misled – even in a minor way.

Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to arm yourself with the right tools. Most are just common sense.

Rule number one: Watch out for anything that sounds too cheap.

Here is my recent experience buying a new laptop. For years, I have been building my own PC from the part that I have been obtaining from computer shows. But when my "big daddy" - the PC in a case of a file server - began hikkin' up, I have decided that it is time to switch to a high-end laptop.

I have done some research, and have stopped on Samsung 15" laptop with the latest i7 processor from Intel.
The Best Buy and Amazon prices were similar: about $1,400 with taxes.

While I have been waiting for better price on Black Friday, I did searching other web sites. To my big surprise, I found better price on

Would you be happy to see the $850 tag on the same laptop?

I honestly was excited at first, so I have filled out the required info about my login name, home delivery address, etc.

Proceeding to the shopping cart, I was ready to pay but something "from above" stopped me. I have decided to initiate a chat and verify if they still have that laptop in stock.

The guy have answered the chat and confirmed that I can order it. To tell you more, he promised another 10% discount if I pay through PayPal.

Wow, 10% discount? Something smelled not right...

So, I have asked why the price is so low? The rep answered: we have a special promotion from the manufacturer. Sounds familiar?

Since I was not sure if I have enough money on my PayPal account, I said, hold on, let me check my account.
I found that I could pay with PayPal considering even lower price with a promised discount.

I still remember my excitement while processing this information in a spite of clear warning.

So, using the chat, I have asked how to pay with a PayPal because the web site did not have the PayPal payment option. The rep has answered, just use the "send money to friends and relatives" that is not a subject to 3% PayPal fee.

Wow, the second warning!

At this moment, I have realized that there is something wrong with this picture...

I have decided to check that site with Whois tool.

I found that the site is legitimate but the owner hides his identity. The site was registered by the owner from Panama. The site's location was somewhere in Arizona.

I have continued my chat and asked where the company is located since I found Panama and Arizona? The guy has answered: that is correct about owner but they are operating from the New York City.
What is the address? It is shown on the site's main page.

Punching the address in the Google maps revealed that that address does not exist! Gotcha!

I send a chat message that I cannot find the address on the Google maps.
As you may guess, I did not receive any reply.

Needless to say, I did not proceed with a payment.

After all, I was able to buy the laptop in the Best Buy store for $100 discount before Cyber Monday.

The moral? Be vigilant, careful, and do not let be fooled by the villains.

This short story from my experience just proves my statement in the beginning of this article. I hope you can learn the lesson from somebody's mistakes.

Just be careful out there.