Monday, December 31, 2007

The after holiday blahs...

I know I'm not the only who gets them, but I'm suffering from the after holiday blahs already. There's always all that wonderful buildup to the main event Christmas, and then once dinner has been eaten, and the presents opened, and the last Christmas special watched, and a few days go by, and then there is such a feeling of let down sometimes. Maybe I wouldn't be having it so bad but then to top it off I discovered I got scammed today by one of my freelance clients. Man there is nothing I hate worse than a scammer, and I don't care what kind they are! In this particular case I responded to an ad on Craig's List for a short editing job. I've never had any problems with Craig's List or any clients from there. Anyway, I was contacted by the client who provided me with the document to be edited, and then after responding to one e-mail, she dropped off the face of the earth. After there was no reply to my providing her with the first draft, and a second e-mail requesting that she let me know if she received the first draft e-mail, I began to get suspicious. Since I have other clients whose projects I could have been working on, as you can imagine I was not a happy camper. A quick check to the ad on Craig's List found that it had been flagged as a scam. I decided I needed to find out more about this person and did a reverse address search on her address only to discover that the address she had given me did not exist.

Of course at that point all I could do was e-mail Craig's List, give them the information that I had and hope that they are able to keep this person from scamming anyone else in the future.

The truth is there were a few red flags that had I been paying more attention I would have noticed and not even bothered to reply to the woman. One was that the e-mail was not personalized, the second was that there was no To: on the e-mail which can mean that it has been sent to more than one person, the third flag was that the notes she sent me were clearly written by someone for whom English is a second language and yet in her e-mail she wrote perfect English. In addition, she had seperated a lot of the sections with XXXXXXXX which when I began looking at examples of scam e-mails that Craig's List had, I discovered a log of them had this trait. Finally she wanted to me to give her my mailing address and to pay me via check or Paypal. I chose the Paypal option as this is the easiest and most expedient way for me to be paid.

Once I realized she was a scammer I really sweated because this scammer had my Paypal e-mail, which in and of itself is not that big of a deal but there are people who have programs that can hack into Paypal and if they have your e-mail they can use these programs to find your password and hack into your account. Yup, really made for the holiday blues today, let me tell you. Needless to say I went into Paypal, changed my password and security questions which is what is suggested and now I will have to hope for the best.

One of the reasons I went into this long post about this is that I would hate to see the same thing happen to someone else. This is the first time I've ever had a problem with a listing on Craig's List but you can bet your life that from now on I insist on a 50% deposit before I even start to do any work for anyone I haven't worked with before and know is trustworthy.

So, that's why I'm here at 3:49 am typing this long post. (sigh) Okay, that's my vent for the day. LOL

Just as a reminder there's still a couple of days left to get the holiday sequel for free when you purchase a copy of Destiny's Choices. If you haven't already, be sure and check it out!


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