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Your Take: Have You Ever Been Scammed?

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Scam TrucksOf course you have, we all have. Sometimes they’re small scams, like someone adding a little onto your bar tab, and sometimes they’re big scams, like someone skimming your credit card and going on a spending spree.

When I was in college, I would occasionally buy and sell stuff on eBay. I remember the days of scouring Fatwallet Hot Deals forums for deals I could sell on eBay. I was doing it so often that I wrote a program that would quickly scrape eBay auction results and give me average sales price, standard deviation, and other statistics so I knew whether something was worth the effort. My comfort with eBay as a seller made me comfortable as a buyer.

Back in those days, DVDs were very popular and people would buy tons of them. Today, we sign up for Netflix and are happy those DVDs don’t take up any space in our house! I went onto eBay to buy some DVDs and someone was selling them in bulk, for around $8-$9 a title. It was cheap enough that a college student considered it and not so cheap that it tipped off my fraud radar. I spent about $150 in DVDs and sent the guy a Western Union money order, which soon after I learned was the worst thing to do, and he lived in Canada. He had good feedback, almost perfect, so I wasn’t worried. Unfortunately back then, Paypal hadn’t caught on yet so I really had zero protection.

The $150 were across two auctions and I only ever received the contents of one auction and they were counterfeit DVDs. I was furious. I tried to find a way to recover the money, which I couldn’t, and I tried to contact the authorities, who didn’t care. They told me to contact authorities in Canada since he was a Canadian seller. I bought the money order with my credit card and the credit card company told me they couldn’t do anything, I received what I paid for – a money order.

That experience taught me many lessons that I use even today. I learned that you are the only person that puts the highest priorities on your interests, you can’t expect others to care as much as you do. Beware third party rating systems because they can always be gamed. Always pay with something that you know has some form of purchasing protection. Don’t trust Canadians. (just kidding on the last one)

How were you scammed and what did you learn from it?

(Photo: jepoirrier)

{ 66 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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66 Responses to “Your Take: Have You Ever Been Scammed?”

  1. Prasath says:


    I booked a travel flight through canadian agent from toronto. I gave the credit card number for booking. That guy ran another $700 in my card without my knowledge.IT took almost 60 days to receive the money back. I learned that I should never give my credit card to any canadian business merchanidse.

    • billsnider says:

      It could come from anywhere.

      I rented a car from a repair shop. I got that bill on my card and a BIG FAT charge also. I questioned him. He insisted that he repaired my car. He could not produce a paper to back it up.

      I contacted VISA, who refused to take the charge off.

      They did hold a three way converstaion on the phone for me. The dealer admitted that the charge was not mine and he promised to take the charge off.

      30 days later it was still there. Another call with the same promise. No results.

      30 days later same result. Visa finally removed the interest charges.

      30 days later i confronted the guy at his place with visa on the line. He finally removed the charges. He didn’t think I would be that tenacious.

      Bill Snider

  2. Shirley says:

    We hosted a family get-together at a nice restaurant. The bill was paid by CC and we intentionally left the tip line on the bill with just a line drawn through it, because we left a $100 bill on the table.

    The cashier arbitrarily added $80 on the tip line. Seeing this, I picked up the $100, but if we had been talking, etc., I would never have noticed soon enough. Whether this was a scam or not, I don’t know; but I sure learned to pay close attention to the bill.

    • Darin says:

      I usually write “CASH” in the tip line in that case.

    • Scott says:

      Interesting. I’ve never gotten burned more for more than a couple cents on the tip line. Much more often I’ve had AMEX automatically take the tip away from the seller – not always sure why or why not.

    • freeby50 says:

      “family get-together at a nice restaurant”

      Was it a large group? Sure it wasn’t one of those “mandatory 15% gratuity for parties of 6 or more” things.

      • Shahid says:

        I had an incidence at an Asian-Fusion type restaurant in Queens, NY. A week before my dinner invitation to a group of friends, I visited the restaurant to inquire about the prices, portion size, etc (and brought home a menu).

        When we finally arrived (a group of 7 people) a week later, I noticed the prices were different on the dine-in menu they gave us ($1 to $3 more per each dish). I didn’t make a fuss and just tried to enjoy myself and my guests.

        When I got the bill, I noticed the prices were again higher than what I saw in the dine-in menu. That made me furious….but I still did not complain to the cashier.

        Needless to say……..I will never ever take my business to that restaurant.

        • Shahid says:

          I forgot to mention that they had a mandatory 10% gratuity for groups of 4 or more……..and a 15% gratuity for groups of 6 or more.

          So I ended paying 15% on top of my padded bill.

        • cdiver says:

          Why didn’t you speak up. Screw not giving them future business, why pay them now.

      • Shirley says:


        The bill was right at $400, so the $80 was 20%.
        The $100 bill would have been 25%. 😉

    • echidnina says:

      I don’t know how large your get-together was, but many restaurants have a policy automatically adding a certain amount of gratuity for large parties (sometimes 6+, sometimes 8+, etc). It might not necessarily have been a scam.

  3. eric says:

    I’ve also been burned by those receipts with tip lines. Now I’m a bit paranoid and keep them around until the charge is posted to my CC. It seems like nowadays EVERY business has it, even ones you would normally never tip.

  4. I have actually not been scammed and I hope never to be *knock on wood*. My parents were once scammed when it involved a home improvement contractor a few years back. He was paid a portion of the money and failed to do any of the work. It seems to difficult to get a difficult contractor because there are so many cases of people being scammed by them.

  5. saladdin says:

    Almost got married once. That’s as close to scammed as I’ve gotten.


  6. cubiclegeoff says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever been scammed. Everything that’s been tried has been caught, or just a mistake, or something. Like a restaurant adding a tip to the credit card without my authorization (the place did it as standard practice and when the bill went through it was fine). My brother was selling his motorcycle a while ago though and almost got pulled into a Nigerian scam.

  7. cubiclegeoff says:

    Actually, I probably have been scammed by a mechanic, but wouldn’t know it. I wish I knew more about cars and how they work.

    • The problem isn’t knowing how cars work. Its knowing what the parts cost, how much work it really takes to do a job AND if it really is necessary or not to replace a part (i.e. is a slightly worn part really an issue or good enough). In fact, I am sure engineers like myself are much easier to scam because we actually get the techno-mumbo-jumbo, but lack the knowledge mentioned above. I think that only really avid DIYers or mechanics themselves are able to see thru these scams.

    • jsbrendog says:

      all sorts of this. who knows what’s actually going on in there…not me ha

      • Ryan says:

        google is a wonderful thing. just make note of what they want to do then go home and research it. you’re not the only one going through the situation as you’ll see. every time i go get my oil changed they say i need all these other things done. i tell them to make a list and i look it up at home.

        i saved a bunch of money recently when i needed to get new rotors. tire place wanted to charge an arm and a leg. i went to autozone, bought the parts cheap, then had someone i know install them.

        its the man, trying to hold us down.

        • Jason says:

          I was having my oil changed a few months ago, the lady ahead of me was getting pressured to have all kinds of things done, one by one she was caving in her $14,99 oil change came out to almost $400.00.
          When my turn came this punk brought out the same oil filter they had used on the prior lady to show me how much I needed a new filter, I advised him that it was not the air filter for my car and to just change the oil and filter as advertised. Another guy came out to show me my battery was almost dead and and I should replace it, I told him I replaced it 3 months ago and if they messed with it I would sue them.
          They finally returned my car and I immediately check the oil, which they hadn’t changed. I gave him two options; he was going to change my oil, oil filter, and air filter and refund my money, or I would call the police. They changed everything under my supervision and refunded my money.

  8. zapeta says:

    I can’t think of an occasion when I was scammed. Others have brought up receipts with tip lines, and I agree. I always keep those receipts to make sure they don’t sneak a few extra dollars on to the bill.

  9. Scott says:

    Let me throw out a mother of all scams that I got sucked into…

    Three or four years ago I was young(er), single, much more stupid, and had some extra money sitting in a savings account that I thought would be nice to invest somewhere and earn a little more. I put the money in some mutual funds, safe stocks, and a few other places. Then I got cold-called out of the blue by some group that sold precious gemstones as investments and the data they showed me looked awesome. I could buy a rock for $2,000 and they could resell it at auction in four months for $10,000 – sign me up! They called back a couple times with hot new investment opportunities and ended up hooking me for about $8,000 over the course of 6-8 months. I was so happy because I had $25k+ in investments on hand, right?

    Then I tried calling them to sell the stones because I wanted some of the money out. Left countless messages, got a couple callbacks saying “sorry for the delay, I was out sick, we can’t sell now, do you want to buy more?”, and gradually got more and more suspicious. I should have seen all the red flags much earlier – firm based outside US in Canada, cold-calling me to offer investment, sealed gemstone boxes (don’t open them!), etc. – but I didn’t. To my credit, the Better Business Bureau approved them for a full decade before this and a search on their background came back clean. Anyways, about nine months after I first got unknowingly swindled, I did some Google searching for the tenth time on the place who sold me the stones and finally got the answer I needed in a scam/ripoff forum, although it was not the one I wanted – I and many others had been taken for a ride by this “gemstone firm”. By this point, their office never responded to any calls, the website was no longer being updated, and they seemed to have shut down all operations, leaving myself and many others out to dry.

    Except… all of the stones we got came with certificates of authenticity by a gem inspector who was not in Canada, but was actually based in New York city. And lucky me, the New York attorney general was preparing a fraud case against him. So I sent off my documentation of being ripped off to the attorney general along with many others and after about six months to a year of waiting, I had a check for about $5,800 come to me from the New York treasury from reparations collected from the crook inspector after he was arrested, tried, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Let me say again – I was VERY lucky to get anything back and feel very fortunate that I did. I still lost a couple grand in the whole thing but learned a major lesson while doing it.

    • Scott says:

      Probably should add that the only common denominator those of us in the online forum could find was that several of us had subscribed to free trade magazines (like many technical professionals do). Our thoughts were that one of the magazines had sold our list of names and contact information to the scammers, although we couldn’t ever prove this. So needless to say, I don’t subscribe to those free magazines anymore and recommend others don’t either.

  10. Scam: Pretty much any time you buy an extended warranty. The economics don’t justify the expense.

    We still went for it when we bought a couch “we will repair ANY damage”. 2 years later one of the seams came apart, I called and they asked if some special event had caused this or regular wear and tear. I said, dunno, probably wear & tear. They said: tough wear and tear is excluded from the policy and _we have you on tape saying so, so don’t event try to saying anything different_. I don’t know what pissed my off more , the fact that the Jordan’s Furniture sales rep lied to me or that they recorded the discussion without my knowledge, but I was pissed. Considered writing a letter to Warren Buffet pointing out that one of his companies was involved in systematic and consistent fraud. But my wife talked me out of it. My blood pressure still peaks when I think of it.

    • billsnider says:

      I decline this until the warranty runs out in 1-3 years. Consumer reports rails against this all the time.

      Bill Snider

    • cdiver says:

      You should have called them on this. They can’t record the call without your permission.

      • In most states, they can, actually. I’m not sure if this is the case in Jake’s state, though. There are only a small number of states that require both parties to be aware.

        As for the actual warranty, I suspect that they’re defining “damage” and “wear and tear” to mean two different things. Damage is generally caused by a specific incident at a particular point in time (you drop a bowling ball on the couch) whereas “wear and tear” is gradual.

        Not saying that they’re necessarily right to exclude it, but explaning the possible logic.

  11. freeby50 says:

    When I was a teenager I bought some audio tape cassettes for music bands at a flea market which turned out to be forgeries. They were dirt cheap and fairly obviously forgeries in hindsight. Honestly at the time I wasn’t really unhappy with the purchase though.

    I *almost* got ripped off on eBay recently but caught the suspicious behavior before it was too late. They wanted me to pay outside ebay. Then the seller was unregistered by ebay abruptly.

    I’ve been over charged for things but they could have been accidents or just high prices.
    Ive had people screw up the tip on restaurant bills but that also could have been accidents.
    I’ve bought things I shouldn’t have bought like an extended warranty or two but I did so knowingly, just a stupid purchase on my part.
    I’ve been upsold on stuff I don’t need like transmission fluid flush on my car at the oil change place. (my car manual said its not required)

    I’m sure I’ve been scammed other times and not known.

  12. Kirk says:

    At a Meineke franchise near me the dealer installed aftermarket brakes on our car and asserted that they were genuine brakes. After some knocking of our car, we called up Meineke on their warranty. They however claimed it was our exhaust system (not the knocking brakes). Seems there’s a clause in their warranty that says if we decline an additional service that they find for a problem on our vehicle it basically voids the warranty. But we persisted for their lifetime warranty and demanded a new pair of brakes. They comp-“lied” and we got “new” brakes. The owner then took the warranty paper and tore it up before us. He said lifetime warranty expired. You’re entitled to one free change.

    We paid for this on our credit card, and the franchise owner refused to give us our money back. So we tried calling Meineke HQ, which basically can do nothing since each franchise is independently owned. So we’re out like $400 for on pair of brakes now… which would be fine… except they didn’t work.

    So we took the car to our dealer. They looked at it for us and with us. They wrote on their writeup, that nothing was wrong with the exhaust system. then they pulled out the brake drums with us present. These were lopsided rusty drums that didn’t even fit our car. The dealer showed us what our brake drum should look like and what crap the franchise had installed. They put in genuine parts now and the car stopped making the noise.

    So now we took back the brakes to the Meineke guy, ’cause we didn’t want them. But he threatened us and chased us out of his store. We pretty much documented all of this to of Credit card company, and they dealt with them. Got our money back… but I’ll never step foot in that Meineke again.

    • Kirk says:

      I should say if I wasn’t standing under the car with them when they pulled the brake drums at the dealership I would have thought that they were scamming me too.

      • billsnider says:

        This is a sample of the many reasons why you have to keep your eyes open or go broke in the process.

        Bill Snider

  13. Scott says:

    In 1995 I was a freshman in college and started buying boxes of Magic the Gathering cards and running an email based auction selling the singles. I made about 10% plus had lots of leftover cards.

    I decided to take the next step, got a business license, and put all my lawn mowing money into buying Italian Legends (an older set released in Italy). That set was really popular and the Italian cards were legit for US play.

    I wired $1200 to a student in Italy and he just kept the money. Police, FBI, Bank, USPS, … no one could do anything.

  14. Master Allan says:

    Nearly got scammed at the dentist a year ago. I was trying a new office and booked an appointment for a cleaning. After the hygienist completed her work the dentist noted I had a cavity. 30 years and sadly I just developed my first cavity, depressing! I did suspect a little trouble with that tooth though and a professional just told me the reason. They were very quick offering to either fill it on-the-spot or book an appointment within a few days. Instead I contacted a family member working in the dental field. “No problem”. I then left for some overseas work and over the next 6 months had it evaluated by different dentists when time permitted in Australia, New Zealand, and upon my return in the U.S.

    There was no cavity, no drilling my tooth and filing was required at all. That fact determined from 4 independent examinations. SCAM avoided.

    • ziglet19 says:

      I had a similar experience when I had to go to a new dentist under a new insurance policy. They came up with all kinds of problems I had, when I have had very little problems in the past. And refused to give me a routine cleaning until I got some of the “problems” fixed. I went to another dentist to get a second opinion, and she didn’t find any of the other issues the first guy did.

    • BrianC says:

      I’ve had some questionable encounters with dentists as well. One practice did a filling that in retrospect probably didn’t need to be done, and recommended that I get an expensive rooting and scaling procedure done every four months. A second and third opinion noted that the filling was probably not necessary, and may in fact now need to be redone because it wasn’t done right. And the rooting and scaling procedure? Totally unnecessary.

    • Anonymous says:

      This seems to be a big problem with dentists. Unfortunately I listened to a new dentist and had the work done and later found out that none of it was necessary. Be careful!

  15. Darren says:

    I’m not sure if this is a scam in the traditional sense, but I’ve signed up for an MLM company that a classmate was involved in.

    It was a pretty high-pressure situation, and they were doing a hard sell to get me to join. I ended up paying about $100 to join, in which I immediately felt an uneasy feeling about as I drove home.

    Needless to say, I’m not a part of that company anymore, and am ashamed to say I fell for the pitch. Looking back now, I should’ve just walked out. It’s probably the worst $100 I’ve ever spent or lost!

  16. cdiver says:

    Chiropractors….no offense to any of you out there.

    • My chiro manages to get me back to normal quickly. About once a year, I manage to something awful to my body (clinging to a roof with one arm and trying to nail down loose trim with the other hand, for example). A couple of treatments and I’m good until next year.

      There’s a very broad range of opinions on chiros, though 🙂

      • Shirley says:

        “There’s a very broad range of opinions on chiros, though.”

        Yes, the general attitude is changing quite rapidly. My family practice doctor even suggested that a chiropractor might be able to help my back and neck pain.

        Another time when I went to the chiropractor for severe knee pain, he diagnosed a torn disc in the knee, called the surgeon, and made an appointment for me.

        The first time I ever went to a chiropractor, I was scared silly that I would be hurt and/or maimed for life… 🙂 Now I see gratefully see him whenever I deem necessary.

  17. Posco Grubb says:

    Apartment rental deposit not returned upon move-out.

    Long before I moved out, management had some plumbing repairs done that left holes in the walls. The holes were eventually patched but not repainted. After moving out, the management refused to return my deposit because they claimed that I had damaged the walls and that the deposit was used to paint the walls. I tried to file a suit in small claims court, but the management company was shady enough that it was difficult to find out where to serve the suit.

    Lessons learned:

    When moving in, make sure you get the management’s legal name and address.

    When doing the pre-move-out check-out with management, take pictures and get everything documented in writing. If they say that the apartment is in good condition and only carpet-cleaning will be deducted, get that in writing, including carpet-cleaning costs.

    • I got charged for damage done by a burglar … in spite of the fact that I filed a police report.

      I moved my stuff out on a Friday, stayed in the new place (different town) over the weekend, and returned after work on Monday to clean the place.

      At the time of the burglary, the apartment contained my vacuum cleaner, rags, a can of Pepsi, M&Ms, and a spare set of keys.

      They drank my Pepsi, ate my M&Ms, and stole the keys. I might not have even noticed (the damage wasn’t obvious) except that they put the empty Pepsi can back in the fridge. The most valuable item – the vacuum cleaner – wasn’t touched.

      I made a special point of telling the landlord about the stolen keys … but they didn’t seem overly concerned at the problems this could cause future tenants.

      The same landlord fixed my AC – and in the process removed the unit overnight – leaving a gaping hole that someone could easily crawl through. (It wasn’t a window unit).

      • billsnider says:

        Interesting about the key.

        Local gym had a key lock box. Someone made a duplicate of each key and one day wiped the place clean. Amazed how they think of these things.

        Bill Snider

  18. daenyll says:

    My mother forced me to get a “brake change” at one point when she came to visit in college during the winter. We went to get them done, dropped of my car and went and ran losts of errands for a few hours in her car(driving by the shop several times and my car never appeared to move). They called back a while after we’d finished running about and said the work was done and my mom rushed around and made me pay, later in the week I had a chance to get a good look at the brakes and they were the same as they were before. Totally got charged for them putting the car on the lift and taking a tire off while we stood inside and paid. I was super pissed.

  19. Eli says:

    I’d love to start hearing about what people have done to fight back. A lot of these stories stop at the point soneone realized they were being scammed or had been scammed. Maybe this is why the scammers keep scamming. Because they aren’t pursued often enough.

    I had someone steal my cc information and try to make multiple charges. I caught it quickly because I was checking statements daily and I called the cc company and all merchants to make sure they didn’t send any actual products to the scammer. I went as far as to call the local state police office, but that’s where I stopped pursuing the scammer. I was younger then and would like to think I’d follow up even more now, but who knows. Let’s have an article about ways to fight back with different types of scams. For example, better business bureau, state police, etc.

  20. Christina says:

    It happened just recently, I purchase a service online, at first it was okay but after a month it billed me again and again. Maybe I was stupid not realizing that, I canceled the services and just this month my billed arrive and was surprised that I was billed again. I’m really furious about this this, I’ve changed my credit card info and still they got in. I don’t want to mention their name as of now until I get things clear. But I will definitely let the people know of this activity. It’s misleading, signing-up for a month’s service I presume because there is no information regarding it not unless you opt to like other services out there…and more, once you canceled the service, it will still bill you.

    Same as yours, I learn that no matter how good the feedback is, or the testimonies which I think are all made up..they don’t care about your money…it’s only you who can protect your interest…and I learn to be more careful with who I’m dealing with referencing with the info they provide in their site. They billed me almost 75-150 AUD/ monthly….for 4 months. If I’m billed again providing a different name and a random card number, I don’t know where to run to. It’s funny that I can’t even close my account with them. There’s no option.

    • billsnider says:

      Same happened to me. Bought a service over the phone. They didn’t tell me that they registered me in a monthly plan with a commensurate charge. I had two months at $4.95 show up on my credit card. I called. They said they normally don’t tell you of the charge and they would be more than happy to remove the charge and take me out of their plan. I will NEVER use their service again. Their loss.

      Bill Snider

  21. I think the internet has opened up a whole new world to fraud and deception. If you sign up for google news alerts on companies such as Western Union and Moneygram, you will see countless stories come up about people getting scammed.

    The general rule is if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.

  22. I think everyone has a story of when they were scammed. I’m sure I’ve been scammed more than once and they’re not fun times to recollect, but the main one I remember was from a door to door alarm system salesman. He made it sound like he was ALLOWING me to have an alarm system. He said something like, “the local government has allowed us to give away 3 free alarm systems on your street and I wanted to see if you’d be interested.” All the alarm equipment, sensors, whatever, was free and so was the installation. He said it was a $1000 value. Later I find out online that this is how pretty much everyone gets their system. Very few pay for the equipment. The way they make their money is with the $50 fee that I get charged every month which he neglected to mention even after I asked. He said it was, “oh, not much, about $14 a month.” The contract you sign is also for 3 years, so by the time I get done this scam will have cost me $1800.

    Just so I can sully their name after what I’ve been through, the alarm company is APX alarms. I had never heard of door to door alarm salesmen and I HAD wanted to get an alarm because the part of town I live in isn’t the greatest, but I’d rather have gotten it from a respectable business, not a scam company. Here’s a news story about the company:

  23. Jeremy says:

    A number of years ago I got sucked into a penny stock scam. Actually, the company was real, but the stock price was not as it was almost entirely manipulated with chatter on message boards and naked short selling.

    Being young and stupid and a part-time day trader I started to buy into it. With a price of just a fraction of a penny it was almost intoxicating to buy up millions of shares, and that’s exactly what I did. I don’t remember just how much I spent, but I put quite a few thousand into the stock at the time. Today all I have to show for it are a few stock certificates that show me holding like 5 million in worthless shares.

    What really makes me mad is that while I was holding the stock I could have made a ton of money. At one point the stock did go on a run and was up something like 800% from what I bought in at. But I got sucked into the dream of even bigger returns so I held onto almost all of the shares, which fell back to earth as quickly as they rose. I felt like a real fool missing out on five-figure profits only to be left with nothing.

    To this day people are still trying various lawsuits against the company, the owners, and even the SEC, but I know that I’ll never see the money again. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it was a painful lesson. But it’s those kinds of lessons in which you can learn the most.

  24. Marc says:

    Years ago I had a new Dodge Van that had a problem with the Alternator. Local Dealer claimed it was replaced. Condition persisted. Returned again, except this time, I had pulled the engine cover prior and marked one of the bolts in a way I could see but mechanic may not.

    Got vehicle back and problem still there. Did not even leave the lot – brought out the Manager, pulled out my socket and socket wrench, removed 3 bolts and 2 minutes later was pointing to the original part that needed replacing. Made a larger mark on it, said I would wait and to fix it. It was fixed. I also walked out with some other “consideration” in my pocket for my trouble.

    This was in a small town and in a down economy – other Dodge Dealers were 30 – 50 miles away. I was a Manager of one of the Largest Employers in town and made it a point to spread my story around with my employees. Later learned Manager was let go soon after.

    On a used vehicle purchase last year, something was funky with the Sales Manager and the Lender. Contacted the Lender directly and discovered Hanky Panky. Found the owner’s name of the Toyota dealership we were purchasing the vehicle from. Contacted the owner directly, advised him what was transpiring and what I wanted. 3 Sales Contracts were written up on the vehicle, each time for a lesser price and with additional value added to it. I knew they were hurting and wanted to sell the vehicle bad, but I did not want it that bad, so I was in the better position negotiation wise. And I would only work with the Owner. This was in a large west coast metro area. Saved over $1000.00 and I was quite willing to pay the price on the first Sales Agreement. [and somehow, I still have all 3 original Sales Agreements].

    In neither of the cases was I a loud mouthed, hard ass – I was quite calm and business like.

  25. Anonymous says:

    think ive been scammed was asked to send money via western union for shipping permit .no return as yet

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