Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Don't be fooled, don't be a victim

If you've read my 'about' page, you'll know that I try to be a 'look on the bright side of life' kind of girl and part of that is naturally thinking the best of people. I like to give people a chance and try not to jump to assumptions or make presumptions before I have all the facts.

However, my 'think the best of people' philosophy has taken a hit this past week. Twice in fact, and it's left me feeling foolish.

I'll explain. Scenario number one: I receive an email from my car insurer to say an incident has been reported involving my vehicle and to contact them immediately. The email looks like it could be dodgy, with no lots of random text in the body but the PDF letter looks legit plus I have not been involved in any incidents. I call my insurer on the number I have to verify if the letter is real and it is. Apparently my car has been reported to have hit another car from behind before I am then alleged to have driven off. Well, that hasn't happened when I've been driving and no-one else has driven my car! Simple, it's just a case of mistaken identity, a mis-written license plate number. Wrong. My insurer informs me of where and when this alleged incident took place and the thing is, I was there. But nothing happened. I was with my husband and baby boy at the time and we can't recall anything eventful happening at all. Which means that someone has seen us, written down our car details in full, then called their insurer to make a false claim for damage done to their car elsewhere.

It's been over a week since I last heard anything but apparently these things can take a while to sort out. They may wish to inspect my car and I've said go ahead, feel free - there's not a scratch on it! I've taken dated photos to prove my car has no signs of damage, which surely they would have if I ran into a car from behind.

Despite knowing that nothing happened on the journey in question, I've still questioned myself. I've always been afraid of doing anything wrong, I just hate the idea of knowing I've done something to upset someone and the idea of being in trouble, of any kind, really scares me. So as soon as I found out the incident was said to have taken place somewhere I knew I was, I started wondering. What did happen on that journey? Did I cut anyone up? How could I have hit someone on the motorway without having a serious accident? If it had happened during traffic, which there had been, I wouldn't have been able to just drive off, would I?  Surely I'd be sitting in the lane next door and the driver I'd hit would be beeping at me.

I am innocent but being accused unsettled me and I couldn't help but question what had happened. I'm such an honest person, I just couldn't believe that someone would have selected us and filed an accident report against us.

Now I am just waiting to hear what my insurer wants to do next. It's an awful situation to be in - someone has said something that's not true but I'm the one who has to prove my innocence. I wonder what becomes of them in the end?

Scenario number two: I've been selling a few things on eBay this week as my maternity fund is rather low and I have a little more than two months, and Christmas, to get through before I go back to work. One item was my iPhone 4G and the bids were flying yesterday. The winner won it for £287 - great! I had two other items ending around the same time, so only really glanced at all the emails I was receiving - notification of bids, questions from potential buyers, confirmation of sales, confirmation of payments etc. I was then asked to send the phone to the buyer's son. I received an email from PayPal saying they had paid me. They started to ask me if I had sent the phone yet. Then I saw the address. It was to a place in Nigeria. Well, the seller looked legit on eBay but a few things seemed suspicious. The emails looked officially, just like the others I had been receiving from eBay and PayPal. But I just had this feeling. Hubs came home and I showed him the emails and upon further inspection, even though the emails said they were from eBay, the actual address was slightly different. So, I called eBay and said that someone was trying to scam me. They talked through how I'd have to open a case against them for non-payment after two days of the auction ending, then wait a few more days before I could re-list. Brilliant. I had sold my phone in good faith but because it was a scam, I had to go by the book and couldn't try to sell my phone to the honest buyers out there who had tried to win the auction. Luckily, after several more emails this morning from the scammers, each getting more threatening but still looking official, eBay (the real eBay!) sent me a message to say that the buyer had been removed.

I've been able to re-list my phone and just hope I can put it all behind me now. Ebay asked me to send copies of the emails to them so they could investigate but it all just made me more upset - again, I am the victim but I have to play along.

Source
When you see things on the news about elderly people being conned my door-to-door salesmen or dodgy phone calls, you think 'how could they be taken in so easily?'. But, because my default setting is to think the best, I was taken in and almost scammed out of my phone. As I was looking after Ethan, selling other items at the same time on eBay and generally having a pretty busy day, I missed some of the flags that this could be something dodgy. It's easily done and I'm just so glad I didn't rush to get to the Post Office.

Both these experiences have unsettled me and I feel pretty stupid about the whole eBay thing. I try to be a trusting and positive person but I've realised now, and on occasion in the past, that not everyone is like that. There are people out there who are negative, who have bad intentions and don't care who they hurt.

Everything that has happened to me has just been a big inconvenience but it's also been stressful. I've questioned myself, driven myself mad going over the details, calling the appropriate people to claim my innocence.

I wanted to write this post as a way of saying 'be careful, it really could happen to you'. Always check and double check everything, particularly when money is concerned. Make sure you cover yourself. Don't give away information if you don't need to. Just make sure you take a minute to think things through. And I guess, don't be so hard on yourself if something similar happens to you. I shouldn't be made to feel bad because of someone else's actions and I need to stop worrying so much. Someone else has done something wrong, and yes it has affected me, but no, I won't be a victim.
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8 comments

  1. You've no reason to feel stupid - looks like the scams were pretty good and you did well to spot the eBay one. That insurance thing is a pain, though, and I understand why it would unsettle you. It is horrible to think there are people out there prepared to do these things to others, but do remember there are also lots of honest, kind people looking to help each other, too.

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    1. Thank you. I was so close to being fooled by the eBay one because the emails looked so authentic and I was busy at the time. The insurance thing is horrible because they actually saw us and chose us to target. I'll stay positive though!

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  2. What horrid people. I know the Nigeria scam well. I worked in mobile phone shops for years and this same scam was happening in 2006! The only difference now is that they are getting cleverer at it and the emails look really official.
    The insurance thing is really horrid- why would someone do that? I hate the whole process anyway because it is usually one person’s word against another. My boyfriend rolled into a car by accident 4 years ago, no damage was done and both he and the car owner confirmed this at the scene. 3 years later his insurer contacted him to say that someone had put in a claim that day. The car owner didn’t even give the type of vehicle that hit him and claimed that his car had a smashed rear. It just didn’t make sense. Luckily the insurers sided with my boyfriend.
    I too am a very honest person but these types of things make me the opposite to you- I am rather pessimistic and don’t trust people.
    Hope you get the insurance issue sorted out.
    Jenni x
    The Thrifty Magpies Nest

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    1. Thanks Jenni - it's such a shame that this seems to happen more and more often. I'm trying not to let me think negatively about others but it has made me think I need to question things more so I protect myself.

      At the end of the day, I know I'm in the right so hopefully the truth will out!

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  3. Oh poor you Kelly, not a good week :( I could have written that it's so like me. I'm a real worrier and hate anything like that. I had a Summons pop through the door a while ago for speeding in a county I had never been too and whilst I was in hospital having my c-section. Even though it was a mistake it still really worried me! Hope you get it sorted out lovely lady, there are some horrible people out there Vicky x

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    1. That must have been horrible - at least you could prove where you were! Such a shame you had to though.

      Just got to smile and rise above it!

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  4. This is awful, I just can't believe it! How can some people have absolutely no regard as to how they can mess up somebody's life. It makes me realise I should be a bit more careful and change my passwords even more frequently and really check all emails. Something like this happened to D not long ago when he went to buy a car, but luckily we realised before it was to late. It's such a shame how some people ruin it for everybody else.
    Hope that's it for your bad luck xx

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    1. Me too! I think it's probably been a good thing as it's reminded me that we need to be careful, particularly when dealing with online shopping.

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