My daughter and son-in-law are selling a pair of recliners. They’re brand new, but not what they expected based on the Amazon photos. Unfortunately, to return the recliners, they’d have to pay shipping. Oh, and shipping would cost more than they paid for the recliners to begin with.
The problem is, scammers have moved on from Nigerian princes to Facebook Marketplace. A lady with an account claiming she lives in the area offered to buy one of the recliners. Her Venmo account is a business account, so in order to make sure my kids get all the money, she needs to send more than they’re asking. They can just send back the difference after Venmo takes out the business percentage.
There are many versions of this scam, but basically the lady (who is almost certainly not “in the area”) has a Venmo account funded with fraudulent money. They’ll send $800 for the $500 recliner, and you just “make change” for them, and send back say… $250. They are also usually in a real hurry. You know, because Johnny is coming home from college and they want to surprise him with the recliner. Anyway, the money arrives in your Venmo account, and so you feel safe to send the $250 back. (Sometimes to a separate Venmo account, which is explained away as well) The next day, the bank which was frauded contacts Venmo and gets their money back. The full $800 is taken out of your Venmo account, because it wasn’t real money. And then you’re out $250, which was *real* money deducted from your bank account.
I mean, yeah, you still have the recliner because the lady (and Johnny) were never really buying anything from you. But that money you sent back was the entire point of the scam. And adding details like, “we need to hurry because Johnny” makes the story seem legitimate. Often a meetup place will be agreed to and everything, because they play along until they get their money. AND to add insult to injury, most people don’t report the scam because they’re humiliated they fell for it. So even if the money was able to be returned, due to embarrassment the scammers often get away with it.
It’s important to share stories like this, because it can help others from falling into the same trap. Thankfully, my daughter called me before sending the $250. The $800 had already showed up in their Venmo account, but they got a weird feeling and called me for insight. I’m certainly not scam-proof, but I’ve been burned enough times that my cynicism has grown into a super power. Tell your horror stories. Share your close calls. Knowledge (and a bit of cynicism) is power.
A Brighter Topic
It thunderstormed here yesterday, and for some reason I noticed a link on my weather app mentioning “Lightning Strike Maps” — and my interest was piqued.
While it’s not new to anyone but me, probably, the Lightning Maps website gives you real-time updates of lightning strikes! (well, close to real-time, I guess it’s 2.2 seconds behind in the screenshot above) Not only that, but when there is a strike, the grey expanding circles represent the thunder, based on the speed of sound, as it propagates across the map. And is it accurate? YES! As the edge of the circle approached the little blue dot that is me, sure enough I heard the thunder roll in. Seriously, it was the coolest experience. If you haven’t loaded the website before, next time you get rain — check it out!
Wait, Didn’t You Used to Create Stuff?
Right?!? No, but seriously, I did right? It seems like it’s been a while since I released stuff, but now that I have my super grown up Production Calendar set up, yeah, it’s ON. Stuff is actually happening. Most recently I’ve added a few videos to the Linux+ course:
And I’m hoping to keep up with regular blog posts. You know, like it’s 2005. (But I’m not doing the cinnamon challenge again. I’m still trying to get the brown crud out of my sinuses from last time!) A couple days ago I posted about when Hank Green ruined my bunny slippers. So you know, top notch content. :)
And a LONG Overdue Thanks!
I’m not trying to lure y’all over to Patreon and trick you into supporting me (I mean, there *are* prizes to be had, but that’s not the point). But really, it still amazes me how many folks are willing to fund this leaky boat of creativity. (Me. That was my description of me.)
New patrons this year alone: J.D., Money2themax, Justin Bullock, Matt Hartley, Trey, Pablo Lecavalier-Ruiz, jim3692, Scott Butcher, Karl Arenas, Mike Sera, Santiago Carnago, Levi Exner, DJ Eric Santos, and Danny Rukes. Seriously, y’all are amazeballs. Thank you so much!
Until Next… Week?
If my plans actually fall into place, you should get another newsletter next week. I know that’s about 3 months sooner than you’d normally get one, but if I mention here I’m more likely to follow through! So until next time:
Learn everything. Do what you love. And most importantly, Be Kind.