Defrauding A Fraudster

, , , | Legal | December 4, 2018

(One day, while discussing telephone scammers with a coworker, my cell phone rings. The caller ID shows my area code and exchange, but isn’t a number I recognize. Scammers often spoof the caller ID this way so people will think it’s a neighbor or friend.)

Me: “Hello. Telephone fraud investigations. Agent Smith speaking.” *a total fabrication*

Scammer: *click*

Me: “Huh. He hung up. I wonder why.”

Your Unwillingness Is On Good Form

, , , , , | Legal Right | December 4, 2018

(I am an employee at a small shop located in a heavily-cultural enclave which, in addition to selling books and religious items, also offers to the neighborhood services such as notary public, copies, computer printouts, etc. for the sake of convenience and at low rates. This means that, in addition to the manager here, I am also a commissioned notary public in this state. One day, as I am working the front counter and my manager is doing some paperwork at a computer within earshot, three young men come in.)

Young Guy #1: “Hey, man. We have this form we need notarized.”

Me: “Sure. Can I please inspect the document first?”

Young Guy #2: “Yeah, here it is.” *pulls a sheet out of his backpack and hands it to me*

(I look over the page and it appears to be some sort of a boilerplate rental agreement which is supposed to be filled out, signed, and certified by a notary public. Thus far, nothing appears out of the ordinary.)

Me: “Please complete the form with your personal information and leave the signatures blank for the time being. Each of you will sign when I direct you.”

Young Guy #3: “Okay. Can we sit at this table here?” *points to a vacant table*

Me: “Sure, take your time.”

(The group huddles at the desk and starts talking about the form. Meanwhile, other customers are entering and leaving. Five minutes later, one of them approaches me:)

Young Guy #2: “We are trying to get this document accepted as a proof when applying for a professional license, and the rule is that this agreement should be at minimum one year old.”

(Now I realize what they want me to do is sign and certify the document and back date it to twelve months ago, a move that will cost me my commission (and possibly a nasty fine) if I am busted. Compounding this is the fact that we keep notary document records in a log book, and a signing dated 2015 in a sea of 2016 signatures would stand out like a sore thumb. Now, given these circumstances, we have very little to lose by telling them to f*** off. However, rather than flat-out refuse and have them all pissed off at me, I try to placidly explain my encumbrance. Italics show the vocal emphasis in my speaking:)

Me: “Well, if you need this to be a year old as of now, this document should have been filled out and certified twelve months before, or in December 2015. That way, it could have been used when applying for this license now. Of course, I am more than willing to go ahead and take your signatures on this now, but that means the form is not acceptable for use in this kind of scenario until December 2017. Do you understand?”

(The guys all glance at one another bewilderingly and start muttering to one another in a low voice. Finally:)

Young Guy #2: “You know what? Forget about this form.”

Young Guy #1: “Yeah, guess we’re gonna have to go about this some other way.”

(They take the document back, say good-bye, and the group leaves the premises as calmly as they entered. When they are gone, my manager, who was listening to the conversation, turns to me:)

Manager: “[My Name], you understand what these guys were trying to do, right?”

Me: “Seems like they were trying to get me to lie on a certified document. No sense in doing that, really. [Manager], why the h*** do people like these have such an aversion to following the law, anyways?”

Manager: “Probably just an easy shortcut they think will help. They have no qualms about lying under oath; they could find some other poor sap who might help them.”

Me: *switching to a very sarcastic tone* “S***, I should have told them I would do it if they gave me a hundred bucks for my trouble.”

Manager: *in an equally-deadpan tone* “And they would’ve gladly paid it, as long as it got them out of whatever mess they’re in.”

(We’ve had to deal with many incidents of people trying to get us to “help” them get documents notarized, but this was one of the more inane of such events by far. It’s amusing that people would never dare pull this kind of crap at a bank or currency exchange, but a specialty store is open season. Of course, it should come as no surprise to any reader that we even began including in our log book fingerprints of everybody who gets anything notarized right from the beginning, when we found out at least one of the initial clients used somebody else’s ID to get a form stamped!)

Pawn Shop Prices Are A Steal But The Stock Isn’t

, , , , | Legal Right | December 4, 2018

(Our particular location is in one of the poorest cities in the US, so we act as more of a pawn shop. Our store takes trades on iPads, iPhones, etc. On a pretty slow day, a young couple comes in:)

Male Customer: “Hey, I wanted to trade some of my stuff for cash. Y’all do that here?”

Me: *motioning toward the cases of used iPhones, iPads, and iPods behind me* “Yes, sir. What do you have for me today?”

Female Customer: “He got a bunch of phones.”

(The man puts a garbage bag on the counter and dumps it out, revealing what has to be about 25-30 phones. Some of them are flip-phones, a few are Apple products, and others seem to be low-end smartphones. We can only take Apple products, so I make two piles; one with iPhones, and the other phones in a separate pile.)

Me: *pointing to the six iPhones in a pile* “I can only trade these phones today, because we can only take Apple products, but check back with us in a month or so and we might be able to trade the others then. Also, I can only trade one phone per transaction. Were you trading these for store credit or for cash today? You’ll always get more store credit than cash.”

Male Customer: “Um…”

Female Customer: “He don’t play video games no more! And you mean you gotta ring each one, one-at-a-time?!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. I’m sorry, but it’s store policy. I have to make a copy of the driver’s license or state ID of the person trading it each time for our records. So each phone has its own transaction.”

Male Customer: “You gotta have an ID to trade this s***?! That’s f****** stupid, man!”

Me: “Well, that’s actually state law, sir. Whenever you trade an item that can be insured, you have to show identification in case the property is reported stolen or missing. Phones can be insured. And our store policy states that if we trade anything for cash, an ID copy is required. Do you not have an ID?”

Male Customer: *to his girlfriend* “Babe, just use your ID. You know I can’t use mine.”

Female Customer: “H***, naw! I ain’t puttin’ my info in his system for your stolen-a** phones!”

Me: “Excuse me, did you just say these were stolen phones?”

(They both look at each other and back at me. In unison, they both say, “No, no, no. We bought them from my brother in New York, and they were stolen at one time, but the cases were dismissed.)

Me: “I can’t take these, then.”

Male Customer: “C’mon, man, don’t be a b****. Just ring ’em up; why’s it matter what they are?”

Me: “Because if they’re stolen then I’ve given you money for something that will be seized by the police when they come in this week to pick up our ID copies and serial numbers of the phones we traded. So [Store] would have paid…” *I look down at the phones and guess their total value* “…[total], for absolutely zero inventory. That’s why.”

Female Customer: “I told you, fool!”

Male Customer: *putting all of the phones back in his garbage bag* “Man, f*** this place! This is some bull-s***!”

(They then stormed out of the store and got in their car, of which I could see the license plate from the front windows. I wrote down the plate number and called the police, because I know how much it can suck to have your phone stolen. They were arrested at another location of the same company I worked for that same day, trying to trade in the same phones.)

The Police Like To Check In Regularly

, , , , , , , | Legal | December 3, 2018

(I am a cashier on a busy Saturday. A woman approaches my till and begins placing numerous items on the belt. I scan them, and the total is well over $200.)

Customer: “I would like to pay with a check.”

Me: “No problem. Can I please see you ID?”

Customer: “Oh, it is stuck in my wallet and really hard to get out.”

Me: “I understand.” *though I think it’s strange* “Can you write your ID number on the top of the check?”

(The woman begins to fill out her check and write the ID number for me as I scan the last of her items. Suddenly, I feel someone staring at me intently. I look up slowly, and standing directly behind the woman is a police officer. He holds his finger to his lips to keep me silent and motions for me to continue with the transaction.)

Me: “Okay.” *trying to act normal* “Your total is [over $200].”

(As the woman hands me the check, [Police Officer #1] grabs her and immediately handcuffs her. I stand absolutely still, having no idea what on earth is happening. Then I hear yelling from the left and see [Police Officer #2] coming up with a gun drawn!)

Police Officer #2: *to a man a few customers down in my line* “Down on the ground! Now!”

Police Officer #1: *to me* “Ma’am, please finish ringing up these items, close your line, and give me the receipt.”

(I immediately did so, turned off my light, and motioned for the manager to come over. I explained the situation as best I could and everyone dissipated from my line. The police officer returned to get my information and a brief statement. He then shared with me that this woman and her boyfriend had just used a fraudulent check at the department store next door and were planning on doing the same here. She and her accomplice were arrested, and for the next hour or so, every customer stood in my line to hear all about the scary arrest. Bonus points to me: despite the activity, my till was perfect. I got a cookie!)

Please Do Not Incite Fraud

, , | Legal Right | December 3, 2018

Caller: “Hi, I’d like to know about [Daughter]’s prescriptions.”

Me: “And is your daughter under 18?”

Caller: “No, she’s gone away to university.”

Me: “And is there a note on her account saying we may share her information with you?”

Caller: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll check.” *gets necessary details to find the account* “I am sorry, but there is no note, so unfortunately it’s illegal for me to share that information with you, as your daughter is over 18.”

(The caller loses her temper.)

Me: “I am very sorry, but it really is illegal and would cost me my job.”

Caller: “So if I called back and said I am her, could you then tell me?”

Me: “That would constitute fraud.”

Caller: “Yes, but how would you know? Can’t I just do that?”

Me: “I am afraid that would be fraud, which is illegal. Anything else I could help you with today?”

Caller: *click*

(You seriously expect me to tell you that you should break the law over a phone call, which as you were informed at the beginning, is being recorded?)

Page 2/4512345...Last