Any Wonder Crime Flourishes?

by lewwaters

McGruff "Take A Bite Out Of Crime"As an old fashioned Southern Conservative, the thought of rising crime is and has been unacceptable to me. It has long escaped me why crime continues to rise in spite of all the efforts we hear of fighting crime, the reality Cop shows where the criminals are caught and arrested and even the Court shows where they are convicted and sentenced.

Okay, we all know the Drama Shows are fictional. Dragnet, Adam 12, Starsky & Hutch and all were actors playing a role, but with the reality shows today and news reports, we are led to believe citizens and the authorities are effectively fighting crime.

And still, crime rises. Theory after theory is given as to why. Poverty, oppressive parents, harsh parental discipline and more are blamed. I reject those reasons myself. Oh, abuse may play a role in a small minority of cases, but I know of several people who survived abuse and did not turn to a life of crime to justify that theory.

Through personal experience I have discovered why at least one segment of the rising crime rate continues. That segment being fraud, criminal fraud through the mail, old-fashioned scam artists.

Let me back up a bit and explain.

Both my wife and I operate small online sales over the internet reselling items we purchase at clearance and closeout sales to supplement our incomes. Nothing major, a good month might bring us a couple hundred dollars extra. For the most part, we deal with very nice people who appreciate finding something they missed when the item was popular in regular stores and we strive to price the items fairly. Nothing too unusual that several other people have begun doing.

We were surprised to receive in the mail a Cashiers Check for nearly $300.00 for an order through her online sales. Surprised because the purchaser did not go through the actual selling site, but copied the order and sent it to us in the mail, bypassing the selling site.

Unusual, yes, but some people can be quirky.

Our initial elation began to wane once she realized the items ordered totaled less than $130.00. Recalling several warnings of online scams, we decided to check into this surprise order.

We discovered that as we suspected, it is the fraudulent check scam where they request the items shipped next day mail and please send them the over payment, leaving us stuck for the total amount and charges once the fraudulent check came back as a fraud, if we had deposited the check.

This check was an excellent forgery, even to the watermarks on the backside and looked very official. We discovered it was a forgery once we called the “bank” that supposedly issued it, Southshore Currency at 110 N. Lake St. Chicago, Il. 60601, drawn in affiliation with J.P. Morgan Chase Bank.

Southshore Currency assured us they were not a bank and did not issue Cashiers Checks from JP Morgan Chase Bank. They do not have an office located at N. Lake St in Chicago as N. Lake Street is an East-West arterial anyways.

The routing number on the check was authentic, but for a bank located in Michigan.

The last confirmation we needed was when the purchaser, “Tyson Williams,” most assuredly an assumed name, replied to an email questioning the transaction just as we expected, “ship next day send refund for overpayment.”

At this point, I began discovering why criminals continue to get away with this sort of fraud. Calls to all the Banks listed resulted in numerous incidences of being passed on to another person, once to someone in the Philippines. None wanted to be involved with a fraudulent check written on their bank saying they could do nothing!

Trying our local Washington Mutual Bank, who is now affiliated with JP Morgan Chase Bank, resulted in much the same. All they could do was deposit it and see if it cleared. Uh, no. We already know it is a fraudulent check, why deposit it?

Getting frustrated in trying to report this in hopes it would be taken serious enough to maybe try to find whoever it is perpetrating these crimes, we decided to make a call to the Chicago Police, since it originated in their city.

Explaining it to the officer who first answered, he replied, “throw it away, it’s a scam.” Thanks, like we didn’t know that. Reminding him that we knew it was a scam already and we were trying to report it, he informed us, “there’s nothing we can do, you have the check.”

He did give us a “non-emergency” number elsewhere in Chicago to report it. Or at least we thought. Calling there resulted in the same reply, “there’s nothing we can do, the check is in your state.” Asking if they would like us to send them the check, letter and envelope elicited the reply, “no, just throw it away.”

Thinking maybe it qualified as Mail Fraud, I called the local Post Office and explained it to them. I was first informed that fraud had not been committed because we hadn’t deposited the check and been victimized. Pressing a bit further, the person I talked to finally said I could bring it all to the Post Office and they could look into it and could possibly use it as evidence.

I even called the FBI to inquire about it and was told it was a scam again, duh! The FBI Agent did say report it as Mail Fraud as the FBI had no jurisdiction in it and it was Mail Fraud.

We ended up giving it to the Post Office who took our information and what might be called a “report” on “sticky notes,” saying if they needed additional info, they’d get back to us.

Needless to say my eyes were opened on this sort of crime. I realize it isn’t a major crime and had we fallen for it, we would have been out maybe $200.00 or so, plus the items. But, how many others have received fraudulent checks as this and were not lucky enough to spot the forgery? Is it possible the person responsible for this fraud has made hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars off of unsuspecting people nationwide?

More importantly to me, have we gotten so lackadaisical that we just write off crimes as this and let the criminal walk to victimize the next unsuspecting person, possibly an older person trying to supplement their income a little?

This isn’t a murder, rape or violent crime, but a crime nonetheless.

How do we follow McGruff’s “Take a Bite Out Of Crime” if all we do is file these crimes in the circular file?

Watch out for yourselves, folks. In these “lesser crimes,” it seems as if we are on our own.

18 Comments to “Any Wonder Crime Flourishes?”

  1. Just a quick point on Pat Campbell’s comments.

    I interpret his comments on that thread at Clarkblog to mean that he is for looking into it to deterime if it is a good idea for the City or not. I think that was the extent of his support until he found out that he’s being bypassed on this at every turn. When this subject first came up I took the City Manager at his word that the process would take months and that City Council would be involved the entire way. Now we know that the City made the decision to go ahead and buy that building within mere days of McDonnell making that statement.

    Pat and I disagree on any number of things, but he is one of the only City Council members who gets outside of Downtown Vancouver and actually attempts to talk with us citizens.

    There are plenty of things to disagree with Pat about, but I just don’t think that this is one of them.

  2. I think you may have commented on the wrong post, Bob, but that’s okay.

    Since you know Pat better than I, I’ll defer to your judgement in regards to purchasing the Columbian’s building.

    Still, the threat issued at the end of his email is what disturbs me the most.

  3. I’m working in a big camera store and i had the exact same story, same name, same kind of check difference is the check is for 1,182, and i didn’t call all those law enforcement offices knowing from the past there is nothing they will do. luckily i found this and teared up the order right away, unfortunately i see that this guy got one order from us already.

    its ridiculous that there is so much of this going on and no one out there seems to care

  4. Benny, I imagine this scam hurts the real Tyson Williams as much as those who fall for it.

    I just couldn’t believe that no one wishes to investigate or prosecute this type of crime. Why else would there be so much of it?

  5. We received a money order with the same details as described above. Thanks to this website and our own verification steps, we didn’t fulfill the order for $1,800.00.

    We are very experienced in preventing credit card fraud with our business, but this is the first time we received a fraudulent money order. We learned that the FBI and IC3 will not investigate credit card fraud until losses exceed $500,000.00. That’s right! It’s so prevalent that they simply do not have the resources to investigate these types of money order and credit card scams. The crooks know this.

    We have had similar experiences dealing with law enforcement.

    http://bincrooks.blogspot.com/

  6. Hi. We also received a money order in the mail with the “southshore currency, 110 N. Lake St., Chigaco, IL 60601 drawn from JP Morgan Chase Bank in the amount of 968.08. The money order looks authentic in the fact that it has the security features on back, but as is usual, the total was for more than the acutal cost. This is a new customer for us, so I was kind of suspicious…. After doing a search under Southshore Currency, I came to this site! The name this fraud person is using is Chris Smith… but what tipped me off was his email address is TYSON179@yahoo.com From this site, I see that the name used with your fraud issue was none other than Tyson Williams… Coincidence??? I don’t think so. I just want to say thank you for this information… it helped to confirm my initial leariness.

  7. Morgan & Denise, if anything I wrote helped you to stop being fleeced by an unscrupulous person, it was worth it. Since the “authorities” won’t do anything about these criminals, we must band together to protect ourselves.

    If we ever receive an order out of the blue again and for any significant amount over the actual purchase, we are wiser now and check the check, regardless of how authentic it appears.

    Just so you know, the check we received also had all the security watermarks on the back. The email account was the same as yours.

    You might turn yours over to the Post Office and file a report with them. It is mail fraud and hopefully, if enough of us complain, maybe he will he/she will be caught.

  8. Hi Again Lew
    I just wanted to let you know so you can let others know that I once again received another “Fraud Bank Money Order” from none other than “Chris Smith” in the amount of $986.06, only this time it is supposedly drawn from Corus Bank, N.A. Chicago IL, and under Money Order is says: United Credit Union, 310 W. Ohio St., Chicago, IL 60625. Once again the email address is tyson179@yahoo.com This person must think we are total idiots. He never once called my business to inquire about the first money order that he mailed in… wouldn’t any “honest” person who mails almost $1,000 to a business be calling inquiring about their order/or if you received the money order in the mail??? Nope, not one call nor any email. I spotted the fraud right off the bat again and to think he actually is using the same name, address and email address. And once again the money order is more than 230.00 over the actual cost of products and shipping. This person is very bold.

  9. That’s what makes them criminals, Denise, their boldness.

    Yes, it is sort of stupid to try the same person a second time that did not fall for it the first time.

    I hope everyone who is contacted by this criminals contacts the Post Office and force them to take the information if you have to. Waiting until after someone is victimized to act is just crazy.

    I wonder too if Yahoo is aware of this email address and what it is being used for?

    Hmmmm, I may have to contact them too, LOL.

    Thanks for the update.

  10. Same story here. Thanks to all of you, who took the time to submit a comment, I was immediately alerted to the fraud.

    I simply googled the bank name and address printed on the authentic looking money order and I got this web page.

    The address on the phony money order is United Credit Union, 310 W Ohio St, Chicago, Il 60625. Courus Bank, N.A. Chicago, IL

    C. Smith. He listed his address as 1637 E. 87th St. #443, Chicago IL, 60617.

    Email tyson179@yahoo.com.

    The invoice is hand written, and very sloppy. He requests Next Day Shipping, and he overpaid.

  11. Thanks for adding your voice and updated information on this fraud, Shawn. We have to look out for ourselves today I’m afraid. But if we don’t, who will?

    By the way, contacting Yahoo was another complete waste of time and effort. They said they couldn’t do anything without me forwarding them the “offensive emails.”

  12. I googled tyson179@yahoo.com and got this website. I received a money order for $1,865.01 which is more than $600.00 over the price of the products he wanted me to send to him next day delivery. I did not fall for it because I use to be a bank teller. The things that caught my eye were the things all of you talked about. Things like not purchasing from my store like normal people, email address different then the ship to name. I took the money order to my bank and they looked up the routing number which came up invalid. My money order was from United Credit Union and Corus Bank check number 2430. The guy who sent me my check actually called me. He left a message on my cell phone. I noticed the phone number he called me from (781-273-2365) was different then the number he wanted me to call him back on (781-589-0112). When I called him back he said “Oh, you called me back”. It was as if he was not expecting me to return his call. He has an accent. He sounded like he was from the middle east or Africa. He also had an arrogant attitude. He said my website was not clear in answering his question, but in fact my website clearly stated the information he was asking about.

    If I had sent the merchandise I would have been out $900.00 the cost of the product plus about $50.00 in shipping plus $600 overpayment I would have refunded him a total of $1550.00

    It truly is sad no officials can take the time to stop this guy. He must be successful or he would not keep doing it.

  13. Thank you, Cindy. I took the liberty of bolding the phone numbers you supplied to make them easier to notice and hopefully, help others.

    I agree with you about the authorities. That is the reason why my wife and I put up this post.

    Thanks to all who add updates on this cretin, whoever it really is.

  14. Yeah, this turd is at it again! Same MO as mentioned United Credit Union 310 W Ohio St Chicago, IL 60625… We are a mail order catalog retail business and we received an order from “Mr. Williams” (which was the name of the customer whose catalog he stole.) all of the customer’s info was scratched out and the address 1637 e 87th st #443 chicago, IL 60617 the signature on the mo was Keith L Z(Unsure of last name?)…he ordered 3 johnny cash cds which were $8.98 each. Yeah, he sent in a money order for $218.01… and the email address was also TYSON179@YAHOO.com…WHAT AN IDIOT!

  15. If this “Tyson” were smart, they’d realize we are on to him and have warned others.

    I hope others realize that when they receive an order with a check, no matter how authentic looking, that is “accidentally” for much more than the order, they are about to take it in the rear.

  16. Mr. Williams, as he calls himself, has tried to hit us twice. Both times he orders two extremely expensive suitcases, requests 2nd day shipping, then overpays it by 175.05. I guess the .05 is so it doesn’t seem fraud-y.

    The order is scribbled in ink pen on printer paper.

    The money order is drawn on Midwest Federal Savings, which is apparently located just down the street from the bank your’s was drawn on. 110 N. Lake St… which still doesn’t have a North section.

    He wants the packages sent to 1637 E 87th St #443 in Chicago. Checking on Google Maps, you’ll see it’s the The Chicago Computer Club, which apparently repairs/sells computers.

  17. I received a report today from a local business regarding the exact same type of scam. Mr. Williams of Chicago, IL tried to order a large amount of candy from a local distributor. Several fraudulent money orders were sent.

    I understand the frustration everyone is having reporting these occurances. We take these complaints on a regular basis, and these cases are nearly impossible to solve. I will do my best to try and find information regarding this and post anything I think will help.

    Unfortuantely, most of the offenders in these cases are operating from outside the country. They usually dupe someone else to pick up their items (another victim) by luring them into the scheme through social networking sites on the internet. I welcome any other information or stories about this case. I am only one small town cop, but I’ll try my best.

  18. Sgt Turner, my main frustration came from the ones I contacted, local Police, Chicago Police, Post Office, FBI, and even the banks named on the check who would not even take a report. So, I put this post up to warn others of this particular criminal effort. If I stopped even one person from being scammed, I accomplished my goal.

    I appluad you for at least being willing to take reports and look at them seriously, even though not a high priority crime. I wish there were more like you.

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