I have been doing business transactions in the internet since around 2000, both buying and selling, and between then and now I probably have had hundreds of transactions already. Out of those hundreds of transactions, I have been a scam victim about less than half a dozen times.
The percent rate is pretty low, but it is always painful when it happens because you end up losing hard-earned money to criminals for something which you are not able to get. I have decided to come out and blog about the latest one, to show everybody how it happened, and perhaps they can learn a thing or two about the whole incident, and hopefully keep people from getting scammed themselves.
‘MyPhone A919 Transaction’
I wanted to get a new phone, and after careful consideration, I finally decided to get a MyPhone A919. This retails for about P8k at the time of writing, and I found an ad on Sulit.com by a seller named, “BIgBigSale19”. She (I found out later) was selling the same unit at only P7k, with a P1k discount.
So I contacted her thru Sulit, and gave her my phone number. She later texted me and inquired if I was interested in the phone. I decided to commit since the seller looked legit, she had about a dozen ads of other phones she was selling.
I wanted to meetup at the SM Mall of Asia, but she said she was based in Mabalacat, Pampanga, but offered free shipping. Here I hesitated a bit, because I usually prefer meetups. I was feeling a bit lazy, and I was attracted at the low price and free shipping she was offering, meaning I just had to wait for the unit to arrive at home.
I committed to her on a Saturday, and the payment options she was offering was only thru the Pawnshops (Cebuana Lhuillier, Mhlullier), and thru LBC or Western Union. I decided to pay thru the Pawnshops, but since those were closed during Sundays, I told her I would pay for it on Monday morning. The seller provided her payment details to me, meaning her name and Address. The name given was that of a woman, with the following details:
– Name: Jhonna Mae O. Cabatuan
– Address: Apartment 3, Maryland St., Green Meadows, Mabalacat, Pampanga
Monday morning came, and at this point I was starting to have second thoughts about the whole transaction. However, the seller started texting and badgering me, treating me like a Scammer or someone who was reneging on my commitment. At this point I got irritated, and told her the deal was off, but she apologized, so I decided to push thru with the payment.
I initially wanted to pay thru Cebuana Lhuillier, but since I had a hard time getting there, I decided to pay thru LBC instead. As soon as I made the payment, I texted the seller the tracking number and my shipping details so she could ship the unit immediately. She confirmed that she was on her way to get the money.
I went thru the whole day the next day expecting the unit to arrive anytime at my house. I figured it should arrive before 5:00 pm, and that if it did not I would start asking her about it. I did NOT ask for the tracking number of the shipment after payment, mainly because I was a bit pissed off with the seller, and felt confident the shipment will arrive, anyway. It turned out to be a HUGE mistake.
At 5:00 pm, the unit had not arrived yet, so I started texting them to follow up. It took a couple of text messages from me before they responded, saying that she will ask the person she sent to send the unit. By around 6:00 pm, still no response, so I started badgering her about the Tracking Number. She again tried to assuage me by saying that she was still waiting for her helper to provide the information. However, after that she did not reply back to my text messages anymore, and then finally at around 7:00 pm I sent a formal report to the Sulit.com Administration about the Scammer. I included with the report a scanned copy of the receipt I had for the LBC transaction / payment.
I sent a second report to Sulit about half an hour after I sent the first one, but just got an automated response from them. Apparently, since I filed the report after their office hours of 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, I had to wait the next working day for my issues to be addressed. I am glad the whole incident did not happen on a weekend, or else I would’ve been forced to wait a while longer.
In the meantime, what I did was post a negative feedback to the seller. She had a couple of ads in the site, and I was worried she might end up duping more people. I hoped that my negative feedback will discourage people from making any more business transactions with her. I also posted a negative comment on her MyPhone A919 ad, as somebody was asking her some questions about the same unit.
Sulit finally suspended the account and deleted all of her ads by noon the next day. The account and ads were still there in the morning when I checked, it only disappeared when I checked around lunch time. The delay was around 15 hours, which was sort of okay, but I felt they could’ve done it sooner, like temporarily suspend the account just to ensure no more people were duped by the Scammer.
As of this writing, I have not yet received any response from Sulit about the whole incident. No, “we are still investigating the whole incident, blah-blah-blah …”. Just nothing at this point.
I tried calling the Seller’s number (celphone number 09468695775) in the morning, and it still rang. After Sulit bought down her account and ads, her phone number became irregular: Most of the time it would be off, but sometimes it would be on, with the scammer not answering the phone when I call.
I also tried reporting to LBC the issue, I was hoping they would blacklist the Scammer since I have her contact details. I left a message to their website relaying my intentions, but they have not responded to me thus far.
For everyone’s reference, I am posting in its entirety my text message conversation with the Scammer. As you can see from the text message conversation, she is quite glib, and knows when and how to push the right buttons to manipulate people. I guess you have to be, to be a Scammer like that …