Getting scammed (almost) was a real lesson for me

Anyone can be a scam target—even me—who’s written extensively on the subject.

It’s a little hard for me to even write about this—it’s a pride thing I guess. But, I was nearly the victim of an attempted scam earlier this month which still has me saying to myself, “I can’t believe I fell for this.”
    While I didn’t lose any money to the attempted scam, it was close. I definitely lost some pride when I realized I didn’t see the warning signs and almost did forfeit $400 because of it. What’s even more regrettable is the fact I’ve written several stories over the years about similar scams targeting local residents, so I should have seen the signs.
    But, in the interest of helping someone out there avoid a scam like this, I’m setting my pride aside and will let you know how it all happened.
    It started with an email from a close friend here in Imperial—so I thought. It had her name, spelled correctly, listed at the top of the email, but just her name, not the actual email address. That didn’t seem at all out of line to me—I believe once you’ve corresponded with someone a lot, their address doesn’t come up at the top anymore, just their name.  
    She (or he) asked if I was free at the moment. I told her I was. She then responded minutes later asking if I could pick up some iTunes gift cards for her since she was in a meeting and would be working until late that night. She added, “When I’m done with the meeting I will reimburse you.” I asked her what she needed and for how much. Even the response “4 pieces at $100 each” didn’t faze me, although it crossed my mind that it was a little much for her to ask me to spend—but, hey, I know her well and knew she’d pay me back.
    It was the next request that should have alarmed me, but didn’t: “I need you to scratch the back of the cards to reveal the pin, then take a snapshot of the back showing the pin and have them attached to me. How soon can you get the cards?” I told her I’d get them right away and that I’d text the pin numbers to her. Then, tongue in cheek, I added, “By the way, what are you doing......paying someone off or what?”
    No response to my attempt at a joke, only “Kindly get back to me with the pictures as soon as you can get them.” I did take pix of the pin numbers but texted them to her because that was easier than sending them by email. When I emailed that they had been sent by text, this was the response: “I require them for use urgently,” adding “Take a snap shot of the back showing the pin and have them sent to me here to make it less demanding. Paste them here,” the email pleaded.


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The Imperial Republican

308-882-4453 (Phone)

622 Broadway St

PO Box 727

Imperial, NE 69033