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Old 1 December 2020, 09:27 AM   #1
zruvalcaba
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My story of getting scammed out of $10,300 and then getting my money back....

Folks, I wanted to share a story of being scammed, getting lucky, and the feeling of real honesty and sincerity by a random kind woman in another state. I hate long posts so I'll try to be as brief as possible and hope that this story prevents another Rolex enthusiast from getting scammed.

Friday Morning (11/27)
I responded to a WTS ad by a user you has been a member here since 2007 (bigmikeXXX...I don't remember the last 3 numbers but he has been banned after I filed a complaint to a moderator). The watch was a 2017 Rolex Submariner ref #116610LN. The price was $10,300 and it came as a complete set. I responded to the ad by first texting the user (Mike) and engaged in a conversation. We went back and forth all morning about the watch, condition, etc. I asked to speak with him on the phone and he agreed. I spoke to Mike for about 30 minutes about his passion for Rolex, cars, etc. He talked about the watch, how he acquired it from an AD....etc. etc. I agreed to the purchase the watch.

Mistakes I made here:
  • Admittingly, the price of the watch is below market value. That should've been a red flag.
  • Never asked to see the watch or ask him to go on to Facetime or Skype. I just assumed what he was saying was legit.

Friday Afternoon (11/27)
I asked Mike to send me his wire instructions. Mike sent the wire instructions which included his name (Mike L. Smith), his address in New York and his bank information which was Wells Fargo. The Wells Fargo address was for an address in New York as well. Since I had Wells Fargo as well, I went into my bank, and asked to wire the funds. Wires are by appointment only due to COVID and the next appointment wasn't until Monday 11/30 so I decided to write a check and deposit the money into the account he provided instead. The teller told me, there's no Mike on this account. I asked, is the last name right. She said yes. I texted Mike, asked why his name wasn't on the account and he said it was his wife Donna who was on the account and that he uses her account for luxury purchases. So I deposited the money by writing a check into Donna's account. I texted Mike a copy of the deposit receipt and he said he would ship the watch out on Saturday morning (11/28).

Mistakes I made here:
  • Wells Fargo is a west coast bank. Their main office (for wires as well) is located in San Antonio I believe. I don't think Wells Fargo even exists in New York but I could be wrong. I should have researched this any way and verified.
  • The fact that he didn't tell me initially that "his wife" was the name on the account should've raised red flags. If I'm depositing money into an account, the recipient should know who the primary account name is and tell you that.

Saturday Morning (11/28)
At 10:30am I get a phone call from a Wells Fargo branch in Eugene, OR. The banker (Beth) asks If I knowingly deposited $10,300 into Donna Smith's account. Here's where I got lucky...aside from Beth taking the time out of her day to make a quick phone call to verify. Before Beth could say, okay, thank you I just wanted to verify that you made the deposit....I said "I purchased a luxury watch from her husband yesterday". There was a 2-3 second pause and Beth says "That's not the story my customer is telling me. She's telling me that her fiancé in Afghanistan is having a buddy deposit $10,300 into her account and then she is supposed to Western Union that money to Afghanistan for the purchase of personal protection equipment". Beth immediately places a hold on the funds and informs the customer who is Donna Smith! that we have two completely different stories. Donna is in shock and I can hear her starting to cry in the background. Beth immediately informs me to file a fraud case with Wells Fargo, which I did. Donna is beside herself in the background and immediately tells Beth that she just wants to give the money back...she was the victim of a scam too! Beth puts me on the line with Donna and she's weeping trying to talk to me. We exchange phone numbers and I tell her to call me back once she leaves the bank.

Saturday Afternoon (11/28)
I speak to Donna for about an hour and we exchange scam stories. I told her my story and she told me hers. She's a middle-aged retired woman from Oregon. She met a guy online months ago and he tells her that he's stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan. The whole time he's been ripping her off of money as well. She feels bad for his safety, sends him money, and the cycle continues. He even proposed to her and she referred to him as her fiancé. We put two and two together and realized that there are two people (perhaps more) involved in the scam. The man I spoke to on the phone had a heavy Irish accent. The man Donna has been carrying on with spoke perfect English. The only bits that were off were his grammar in texts. She chalked it up to him wearing gloves, in a hurry, whatever. She also mentioned that she had numerous numbers from him which we concluded were probably burner phones. She confronted him about that and he said that for security reasons the government would change up the numbers. In a nutshell:

The fake Rolex seller would sucker someone in to wire funds into Donna's account. Donna, thinking that her fiancé's buddy was depositing that money would withdrawn the money, and Western Union the money out. Multiple people working in tandem to scam two completely different people from different walks of life from two completely different parts of the country.

Donna was beside herself. Out thousands of dollars to a fake fiancé, in love and then out of love in the blink of an eye, and now holding on to someone else's large sum of money. She was adamant about getting the money back to me ASAP.

Monday Morning (11/30)
I speak to Donna again. She made the one and half hour drive to Wells Fargo in Eugene and attempts to return the money. Because there's a fraud case active, the money is frozen. I call the fraud department, withdrawn the case, and she deposits the money back into my account. This is where I'm at now.

I can say this until I'm blue in the face, but along with being a Pledge Member, 2FA SHOULD ABSOLUTELY be required to be active on a seller account. The guy who I thought I was buying from was a member here since 2007. He should've checked out and even had references that checked out. His account without a doubt was compromised and the scammer was posting using his name. I know for a fact that this has happened to other reputable sellers on here (JUSTROLEXES, DAVIDSW, BRIBOXER, TUKUYA, to name a few) maybe not to this extent but I have had instances where I got an email from what I thought was Tony (JUSTROLEXES) trying to sell me a watch for under current market value. After texting Tony, it clearly was not him. 2FA SHOULD BE REQUIRED MODS!!!!! We're dealing with very very expensive items and the potential for fraud is way to prevalent. 2FA is damn near bullet proof.

Anyway, that's my story. Got scammed, got lucky, got my money back. Crazy holiday break for me. Lesson learned.
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Old 1 December 2020, 09:37 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by zruvalcaba View Post
Folks, I wanted to share a story of being scammed, getting lucky, and the feeling of real honesty and sincerity by a random kind woman in another state. I hate long posts so I'll try to be as brief as possible and hope that this story prevents another Rolex enthusiast from getting scammed.

Friday Morning (11/27)
I responded to a WTS ad by a user you has been a member here since 2007 (bigmikeXXX...I don't remember the last 3 numbers but he has been banned after I filed a complaint to a moderator). The watch was a 2017 Rolex Submariner ref #116610LN. The price was $10,300 and it came as a complete set. I responded to the ad by first texting the user (Mike) and engaged in a conversation. We went back and forth all morning about the watch, condition, etc. I asked to speak with him on the phone and he agreed. I spoke to Mike for about 30 minutes about his passion for Rolex, cars, etc. He talked about the watch, how he acquired it from an AD....etc. etc. I agreed to the purchase the watch.

Mistakes I made here:
  • Admittingly, the price of the watch is below market value. That should've been a red flag.
  • Never asked to see the watch or ask him to go on to Facetime or Skype. I just assumed what he was saying was legit.

Friday Afternoon (11/27)
I asked Mike to send me his wire instructions. Mike sent the wire instructions which included his name (Mike L. Smith), his address in New York and his bank information which was Wells Fargo. The Wells Fargo address was for an address in New York as well. Since I had Wells Fargo as well, I went into my bank, and asked to wire the funds. Wires are by appointment only due to COVID and the next appointment wasn't until Monday 11/30 so I decided to write a check and deposit the money into the account he provided instead. The teller told me, there's no Mike on this account. I asked, is the last name right. She said yes. I texted Mike, asked why his name wasn't on the account and he said it was his wife Donna who was on the account and that he uses her account for luxury purchases. So I deposited the money by writing a check into Donna's account. I texted Mike a copy of the deposit receipt and he said he would ship the watch out on Saturday morning (11/28).

Mistakes I made here:
  • Wells Fargo is a west coast bank. Their main office (for wires as well) is located in San Antonio I believe. I don't think Wells Fargo even exists in New York but I could be wrong. I should have researched this any way and verified.
  • The fact that he didn't tell me initially that "his wife" was the name on the account should've raised red flags. If I'm depositing money into an account, the recipient should know who the primary account name is and tell you that.

Saturday Morning (11/28)
At 10:30am I get a phone call from a Wells Fargo branch in Eugene, OR. The banker (Beth) asks If I knowingly deposited $10,300 into Donna Smith's account. Here's where I got lucky...aside from Beth taking the time out of her day to make a quick phone call to verify. Before Beth could say, okay, thank you I just wanted to verify that you made the deposit....I said "I purchased a luxury watch from her husband yesterday". There was a 2-3 second pause and Beth says "That's not the story my customer is telling me. She's telling me that her fiancé in Afghanistan is having a buddy deposit $10,300 into her account and then she is supposed to Western Union that money to Afghanistan for the purchase of personal protection equipment". Beth immediately places a hold on the funds and informs the customer who is Donna Smith! that we have two completely different stories. Donna is in shock and I can hear her starting to cry in the background. Beth immediately informs me to file a fraud case with Wells Fargo, which I did. Donna is beside herself in the background and immediately tells Beth that she just wants to give the money back...she was the victim of a scam too! Beth puts me on the line with Donna and she's weeping trying to talk to me. We exchange phone numbers and I tell her to call me back once she leaves the bank.

Saturday Afternoon (11/28)
I speak to Donna for about an hour and we exchange scam stories. I told her my story and she told me hers. She's a middle-aged retired woman from Oregon. She met a guy online months ago and he tells her that he's stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan. The whole time he's been ripping her off of money as well. She feels bad for his safety, sends him money, and the cycle continues. He even proposed to her and she referred to him as her fiancé. We put two and two together and realized that there are two people (perhaps more) involved in the scam. The man I spoke to on the phone had a heavy Irish accent. The man Donna has been carrying on with spoke perfect English. The only bits that were off were his grammar in texts. She chalked it up to him wearing gloves, in a hurry, whatever. She also mentioned that she had numerous numbers from him which we concluded were probably burner phones. She confronted him about that and he said that for security reasons the government would change up the numbers. In a nutshell:

The fake Rolex seller would sucker someone in to wire funds into Donna's account. Donna, thinking that her fiancé's buddy was depositing that money would withdrawn the money, and Western Union the money out. Multiple people working in tandem to scam two completely different people from different walks of life from two completely different parts of the country.

Donna was beside herself. Out thousands of dollars to a fake fiancé, in love and then out of love in the blink of an eye, and now holding on to someone else's large sum of money. She was adamant about getting the money back to me ASAP.

Monday Morning (11/30)
I speak to Donna again. She made the one and half hour drive to Wells Fargo in Eugene and attempts to return the money. Because there's a fraud case active, the money is frozen. I call the fraud department, withdrawn the case, and she deposits the money back into my account. This is where I'm at now.

I can say this until I'm blue in the face, but along with being a Pledge Member, 2FA SHOULD ABSOLUTELY be required to be active on a seller account. The guy who I thought I was buying from was a member here since 2007. He should've checked out and even had references that checked out. His account without a doubt was compromised and the scammer was posting using his name. I know for a fact that this has happened to other reputable sellers on here (JUSTROLEXES, DAVIDSW, BRIBOXER, TUKUYA, to name a few) maybe not to this extent but I have had instances where I got an email from what I thought was Tony (JUSTROLEXES) trying to sell me a watch for under current market value. After texting Tony, it clearly was not him. 2FA SHOULD BE REQUIRED MODS!!!!! We're dealing with very very expensive items and the potential for fraud is way to prevalent. 2FA is damn near bullet proof.

Anyway, that's my story. Got scammed, got lucky, got my money back. Crazy holiday break for me. Lesson learned.

All I can say is oh wow!


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Old 1 December 2020, 09:42 AM   #3
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Now THAT is an amazing story. Glad it ended well for you! Donna, not so lucky ...


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Old 1 December 2020, 09:45 AM   #4
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Now THAT is an amazing story. Glad it ended well for you! Donna, not so lucky ...


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Agreed. I had the pleasure of getting to know Donna over the phone. I know her to be a decent, honest, woman of faith who was just trying to do the right thing. She tried everything to get me my money back as quickly as possible until she literally had to drive an hour and a half back to her Wells Fargo branch to return the money. We need more Donnas in this world.
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Old 1 December 2020, 09:46 AM   #5
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Thanks for sharing. Thats one hell of a scam. A lot of evil minds churning out there.. CAVEAT EMPTOR ALL. It gets worse this time of year too.

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Old 1 December 2020, 09:47 AM   #6
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Great story, glad that it all ended well. Need to hear more positive stories this year
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Old 1 December 2020, 09:56 AM   #7
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Holy cannoli, what a trip that must have been. I cant imagine how many women this is happening to right now. Glad you got your money back!

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Old 1 December 2020, 10:40 AM   #8
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Wow this story hurt my head glad you got the money back !!
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Old 1 December 2020, 11:32 AM   #9
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Wow Zach I'm glad you got your money back. Lady luck was looking out for you.
These scams are getting elaborate involving multiple victims using romance scams and luxury item scams. They know the only way to get the money to whatever shithole they're from is by using victims of romance scams.
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Old 1 December 2020, 11:39 AM   #10
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That’s scary! Glad it worked out in the end.


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Old 1 December 2020, 11:55 AM   #11
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Creative motherf’ers......
Man, the scumbaggery is large out there

Go buy yourself a couple dozen powerball tickets... heck, buy a few for Donna too!
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Old 1 December 2020, 11:58 AM   #12
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Holy crap, the amount of effort they put into ruining people's lives is insane. If they put even a portion of that effort towards good, honest work they would be able to afford a few Rolexes no problem.
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Old 1 December 2020, 12:26 PM   #13
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Holy crap, the amount of effort they put into ruining people's lives is insane. If they put even a portion of that effort towards good, honest work they would be able to afford a few Rolexes no problem.
Never ceases to amaze me the lengths that people will go to for a few bucks. Then I think about where these scammers mostly reside and can’t help but think that $10k is enough to survive off of for a couple of years more than likely.
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Old 1 December 2020, 12:46 PM   #14
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Congrats on the lucky escape. This is a reminder that speaking to a seller on the phone is no kind of guarantee, though some here insist that it is. If anything it just makes the scammed party feel even more violated/weirded out, having actually spoken the scammer.
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Old 1 December 2020, 01:04 PM   #15
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That’s some story Zak. Crazy times we live in.
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Old 1 December 2020, 03:59 PM   #16
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You are lucky you didn’t wire the money. I will never wire money again.
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Old 1 December 2020, 04:04 PM   #17
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........

I can say this until I'm blue in the face, but along with being a Pledge Member, 2FA SHOULD ABSOLUTELY be required to be active on a seller account. The guy who I thought I was buying from was a member here since 2007. He should've checked out and even had references that checked out. His account without a doubt was compromised and the scammer was posting using his name. I know for a fact that this has happened to other reputable sellers on here (JUSTROLEXES, DAVIDSW, BRIBOXER, TUKUYA, to name a few) maybe not to this extent but I have had instances where I got an email from what I thought was Tony (JUSTROLEXES) trying to sell me a watch for under current market value. After texting Tony, it clearly was not him. 2FA SHOULD BE REQUIRED MODS!!!!! We're dealing with very very expensive items and the potential for fraud is way to prevalent. 2FA is damn near bullet proof.

These are usually scam emails with very similar email addresses to the watch resellers real email address and nothing to do with the watch resellers TRF account. I'd be amazed if these resellers don't have 2FA turned on at TRF.


But, I agree, all sellers and buyers should be required to have 2FA turned on.
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Old 1 December 2020, 04:51 PM   #18
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Wow, unbelievable.

Big thumbs up to Beth.
She saved you
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Old 1 December 2020, 07:58 PM   #19
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Agreed. I had the pleasure of getting to know Donna over the phone. I know her to be a decent, honest, woman of faith who was just trying to do the right thing. She tried everything to get me my money back as quickly as possible until she literally had to drive an hour and a half back to her Wells Fargo branch to return the money. We need more Donnas in this world.
Amen to this
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Old 1 December 2020, 10:46 PM   #20
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Amen to this
Meets stranger online? Supposedly stationed overseas? Sends them money repeatedly...Accepts a phony proposal?

Lots of naivete in this here Donna....
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Old 1 December 2020, 10:50 PM   #21
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thanks for sharing this and glad things got sorted out in the end. I have now enabled 2FA to keep my account safe.
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Old 2 December 2020, 12:55 AM   #22
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Meets stranger online? Supposedly stationed overseas? Sends them money repeatedly...Accepts a phony proposal?

Lots of naivete in this here Donna....

Exactly — not sure we need more of the person whose naïveté unwittingly causes a crime spree of bank fraud and wire fraud ... not ‘great work’.


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Old 2 December 2020, 01:05 AM   #23
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This sounds like a scam in its-self to me.

Am I right in thinking you have now dropped the case so what is to prevent her from returning it via a dodgy cheque or cancelling payment , still seems fishy to me.

Best of luck with the outcome.
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Old 2 December 2020, 01:21 AM   #24
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What a story - glad you got your money back OP.

I am in a similar situation (https://www.rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=774993) -- but the chances of me getting my money back are slim as I wired the money about a month ago. I have the account holders name I wired money to but have no way of getting into contact with him... I wonder if I am part of a similar scam like yours where the account holder is unaware.

It almost seems like a perfect crime - I live in Chicago and have not been able to get any local authorities to hear my case.
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Old 2 December 2020, 01:45 AM   #25
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What a story. I think Donna deserves some flowers and Christmas present for being a great person!

;)

Glad it worked out for you.
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Old 2 December 2020, 01:53 AM   #26
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With the effort they put into this I'm pretty sure they could just earn $10,000 working.
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Old 2 December 2020, 01:57 AM   #27
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Meets stranger online? Supposedly stationed overseas? Sends them money repeatedly...Accepts a phony proposal?

Lots of naivete in this here Donna....
Totally agree. On the surface it seems fishy. But after speaking with her for an hour I could tell that she was a late 50's, early 60's retired divorce woman that was just caught up someone on the Internet. She lives in a very small town, she's retired, older, and likely somewhat lonely. Not hard to fall for someone at that point I would imagine especially when they're showing you that kind of attention. When I spoke to her she was very clearly embarrassed, emotional, disappointed, angry, you name it. I got the impression that she was one of these technology somewhat illiterate types that found online dating for the first time ever and just got caught up.
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Old 2 December 2020, 01:59 AM   #28
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thanks for sharing this and glad things got sorted out in the end. I have now enabled 2FA to keep my account safe.
I understand 2FA is not 100% but it's far far better than not having it at all. It's an additional layer of protection. If my story can get 10 people to enable 2FA on here, then I'd say the post was worth the time it took me to write it up.
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Old 2 December 2020, 02:05 AM   #29
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This sounds like a scam in its-self to me.

Am I right in thinking you have now dropped the case so what is to prevent her from returning it via a dodgy cheque or cancelling payment , still seems fishy to me.

Best of luck with the outcome.
Fair point. So Donna's back story is that she's originally from Canada. Moved to Oregon to be with her kids. First she moved to Eugene where she opened a Wells Fargo account while she lived there. Eventually she settled in Florence which is about an hour and a half drive from Eugene along the Oregon coast. I looked it up, there closest Wells Fargo is in fact in Eugene...she's not lying about that. Second thing, I spoke to Beth on the phone for some time and she told me she was the assistant branch manager. I also spoke to the branch manager and both are aware of the situation. Can Donna call WF and cancel the check? I don't see how...the funds have already cleared and are in my account. I assume the transaction is completely over. Could she call WF and file a fraud case of her own? Perhaps. But I have a paper trail and 2 branch managers who are aware of the situation that a fraud specialist at WF can verify through.
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Old 2 December 2020, 02:07 AM   #30
zruvalcaba
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Real Name: Zak
Location: Temecula, CA
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Originally Posted by RegisTimepieces View Post
What a story - glad you got your money back OP.

I am in a similar situation (https://www.rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=774993) -- but the chances of me getting my money back are slim as I wired the money about a month ago. I have the account holders name I wired money to but have no way of getting into contact with him... I wonder if I am part of a similar scam like yours where the account holder is unaware.

It almost seems like a perfect crime - I live in Chicago and have not been able to get any local authorities to hear my case.
Sorry to hear that Andrew. I got really really lucky. I won't be making the same mistake twice. In fact, chance of me buying from a private party are going to be very slim now unless I can meet F2F. Good luck with your case, crazy times we're living in.
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