He always said “Too soon old, too late smart!”. And I’ve found that to be oh so true, as I travel my own path through life. Now, I figured I was fairly intelligent but boy did I ever get scammed on Friday! And I’m not easy to fall prey to scams, either. I’m telling you my sad tale so, hopefully, none of you will fall for the same type of scam I did. Due to our seed business, we have a PayPal account as we buy, online, various supplies for our business. (Prior to that, we only dealt in cash and checks, which is a great way to go, if you can.) I went to check our emails and here’s a notice from (supposedly) PayPal, saying I had just bought $500 worth of Crytocoin. Of course I had not. In a near panic, I called the “If you did not make this transaction” number on the email. Here’s where it got weird. I got a guy from India who screwed around and finally “found” the problem. He told me someone had accessed my IP address and would start making lots of unauthorized transactions if I didn’t address it immediately. Okay … Then he tells me to go to Walgreens or Target and buy $800 worth of Google Play cards. Whoa! Red flag, here. I asked him what the heck they were for and he tells me they’re so he can access a blocking code to block the hacker. Then he says PayPal had just added $900 to my debit card, $100 for my trouble to run to town (30 miles) to get the cards. I checked my text and did have a text from “PayPal,” informing me of the transaction. Still leery, I drove to town, bought the cards. Then he had me read the codes off the backs, (another red flag!), but stupidly, I complied.

Then he said he’d blocked the hacker but there was another one in Canada, a porn site and that I needed to go to Target and buy $800 worth of cards so he could block that one. By then there were red flags waving everywhere and I told him I was done. He kept on and kept on and finally I hung up. He called several times and I didn’t pick up. I drove directly to a branch of our bank and went in to see if “PayPal” had, indeed, added money to my account. And, of course, they had not.

When I got home, I confessed my stupidity to Will and hit the computer to report the fraud to the government. I’m sure the $800 is gone, gone but I’m looking at it as an education. Good thing, too, as today I got an email saying “Thank you for your $1,500 purchase from Amazon.” I immediately checked with my bank and there was no such purchase. And, of course, there was an “If this was not made by you, call this number.”. And, of course, I did not! Holy cow! I just don’t want any of you to fall for this type of scam. I’m smarter than I was on Friday. I check with my bank, first and if there was an unauthorized purchase, they deal with it and I get my money back!

This afternoon, I’m starting to transplant tomatoes and peppers. Will’s been working on the greenhouse and has all of the south side windows calked and permanently installed. Now he’s working on the north side. We have a 25-foot length of flexible gas line, which we may have to run on top of the ground to the tank, until the ground thaws enough so Will can dig up the line he damaged with the bulldozer, pushing snow. I’ll be needing to put flats of veggies out there pretty soon and they will need heat.

Delilah’s kind of young, but she really got into the egg coloring. But she wanted to eat them!

Last night, we had a very beautiful full moon, which rose through the trees to the east of the house. I just stood there for a long while, looking at it, then ran into the house to grab a camera. It was awesome. Then, this morning, we awoke to six inches of wet snow, still falling. It was kind of disappointing as most of our snow had gone, but we do know that it won’t last more than a day or two, this time of the year. I hope all of you had a blessed Easter and are looking forward to spring. I got some cute photos from David and Bill, of the grandkids coloring Easter eggs and wish I could have been there in person.

Grandchildren, Mason and Ava, coloring Easter eggs.

— Jackie

70 COMMENTS

  1. After having been hacked on Amazon many moons ago (and spending time being adamant the $9.99 charge on the credit card was NOT something I initiated), I ensure my credit card information is *not* saved online. Sorry, I’ll key it each time instead of using one-click. I’ve noticed more and more sites not allowing you to check out as a guest. Meaning any time I order, I ensure my card info is not saved.

    And I always use a credit card for any online purchases. Better protection than debit card and no access to my bank account. Anti-fraud software cannot catch all fraud so regardless of what statement/bill you get each money, go over it with a fine tooth comb.

    • I do use a debit card because my small bank knows me and catches “fraud” or unauthorized purchases and calls me. A credit card won’t. Of course this doesn’t work for everyone and I can see, for many, a credit card would be best.

  2. Also have to give a shout-out to the UPS store worker who stopped a woman from sending almost $5K (in cash) to a scammer. A pox and not happy on the local bank that allowed the woman (elderly) to withdraw that amount of cash with nary a question. UPS store worked called LE as the UPS store has the right to inspect any package you want to ship. The woman was agitated and worried which tipped him off.

  3. So sorry, Jackie. It seems crooks are everywhere. Last year I had to cancel my credit card because a “charity” in San Diego hacked it! Thankfully my credit company raised the alarm and didn’t allow the hackers to withdraw any money.

  4. We don’t do pay pal anymore. We got hacked and they were ordering all kinds of stuff with our card. My husband misses it, but we don’t want to go through the aggravation again. It took courage to tell your story and God tells us we go through things so that we may be a help to others. You probably saved quite a few of us from doing the same thing. Thanks for sharing and God Bless!

  5. I am retired and receive a lot of weird phone calls. For some reason, I get the most on Thursdays. I don’t answer unless I know the number or am just in a mood. I live 25 miles from the nearest town and my exchange is not known for large businesses. So when I receive a call in my exchange from a casino (that I have never been to) telling me about my free points, I know it is a scam. Lately it has been quite a few about the large purchase on Amazon (I don’t have an Amazon account) or that customs is holding something for me.

    For a long time, it was the “you have good credit, we will drop you interest rates”. If I am in a mood, I answer (they leave voicemail) and lead them to tell me which credit card, etc. After they fumble that, I ask how can they drop my interest rates when I don’t have a credit card. The next thing I hear is a click.

    kathy in MS

    • I don’t even have time to play with these scammers. If we don’t recognize a number, we let them leave a voice mail, which most don’t. If the message is weird, we delete it. We’ve heard them all, too. It’s amazing!!!

  6. Sorry about th scam. I work with seniors and hear about similar frequently. Thanks for sharing.
    Hoping this week’s wind will get my corn pollinated. Picking beans, pintos, lettuce, eggplant, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, beets, onions, and peppers. And broccoli, the plant that never stops. Hedge cherries, too. They should have stopped a month ago. I would be picking peaches, too, but they’re wormy. Wish I could fix that problem.

    • What zone are you in, Kim? Or are you gardening in a warmed high tunnel to have so many vegetables this time of year. I’m in zone 9, far north California, where we get 100F for 2 or 3 mths per summer. I still don’t plant outside until late April. This year I sowed and planted in early March, our winter was really spring time in Jan.-March.

  7. Well I really did one years ago. My son owed over $4000 in charge cards. He got a letter that if he would pay only $2000 the account would be cleared up. Letter looked like it was from a credit company. This was before we had a computer so we could look up this company. Well, stupid me gave him the money to pay charge card then we both realized it was a scam.
    Money gone and I really do hope someone choked on it.
    We now have caller ID on our phone and if it is a number not recognized we do not answer.

  8. Sorry to read about your scam and thank you for trying to educate others. A very tough education!
    I have not started my tomato seeds yet in the house in western MN.. Not sure if spring will ever come. Maybe planning on a June garden won’t be all bad.

    katherine jordahl

  9. Sorry to read about your scam and thank you for trying to educate others. A very tough education!
    I have not started my tomato seeds yet in the house in western MN.. Not sure if spring will ever come. Maybe planning on a June garden won’t be all bad.
    katherine jordahl

    • It’s been a long winter, for sure. But I’d get those tomato seeds started. I have a feeling we’ll go from forties to eighties this spring!!

  10. Ahhhh! I am sooo sorry! Please help get the word out, NEVER TRUST THE CONTACT INFORMATION IN THE EMAIL YOU GOT! If it’s a credit card, call the number on the back of your card, If it’s your bank, call the number on the paper statement. PayPay? Amazon, etc? Look up the number on their website, NOT THE ONE IN THE EMAIL.

    If it’s legitimate, you only spent a bit of time to confirm that it is legitimate (THIS TIME! Next time might NOT BE! So check every time!)

    Another thing to get the word out – NO LEGITIMATE business or government entity will ever take payment in GIFT CARDS.

    We just need to keep reminding ourselves and others of these two things, over and over, and over.

    Now… how to get the deer to STEP eating my daylillies!! Jerks.

    Sandy in NM

    • Amen to that, Sandy!!! I have to fence my daylilies, as the deer gobble mine too. I tried everything else.

  11. And happy spring to you! I’m transplanting tomatoes and peppers too but I’m beyond relaxing. My back is killing me! But I feel so good to see those flats of Styrofoam cups starting to add up. We’re getting snow every other day or so; 4″ at a time or better. But that’s okay as it’s just April.

  12. My mom got a scam phone call. (Twice) mom had dementia so this story was repeated almost exactly.
    When she answered the voice on the other end said “grandma?” Of course she replied yes.
    Then he went on to say he was arrested and he needed bail and she had to get gift cards from Walmart.
    Fortunately she called me in a panic wanting to know what to do. I told her it was a scam but she was convinced it was his voice.
    We finally called my nephew to reassure mom.
    All I can hope for is that karma kicks them right in the ______ (fill in the blank)

    On a positive note all my tomatoes have been transplanted into the styrofoam cups.
    Not quite ready to leave them in the greenhouse over night.
    Waiting to see if the garlic I planted last fall comes up. The weather is finally straightening out.

    Love to read your updates

    • Yeah, I’ve heard about the “grandma” scam. What dirtbags those folks are!! I’m sure your garlic will come up soon. Even here, our garlic has never failed us.

      • I decided to sow garlic cloves left over from the previous season. After all, why pay $6 for a new sack from Lowes, when I still have some left over. They have come up, but from your experience, Jackie, is this a good idea, or will they just grow small bulbs and flower and go to seed?

  13. Scams come in sneaky, small amounts also. Sometimes I sell things on eBay. My husband convinced me to put three very old, very worn out yo-yos on to sell. I put the price at $9.99. Someone bought them right away! Somehow it was a way to get into my PayPal to add a charge. The charge said it was for a $1.99 donation to PayPal that I owed but the name on the charge was the same as the person who bought the yo-yos. I looked over my PayPal messages and did not see anything and called them about it. The person I talked to said they could not verify that it was a scam but not to push the pay button. From what I understand, this would have allowed them the ability to send bills, small or large, that would have been paid by PayPal automatically. It seems like you just have to watch everything now.

    I am so sorry that this happened to you.

    We are in Kansas. Potatoes and onions are planted and just showing. We had a freeze last night hopefully the last one. We have spinach and lettuce up about 2 inches and our broccoli and cabbage are in the cold frame ready to plant. Other plants in the greenhouse, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, herbs, and marigolds are almost ready to go to the cold frame.

    • Wow, they’re everywhere, aren’t they? And they’ve figured out how to screw folks who don’t deserve it. I’m sure there’s a special hell for these fraud-mongers.
      It’s awesome you’re gardening again!! We can only be patient and watch our snow melt. Again.

  14. thanks for being willing to share someone embarrassing to help others out. i clicked a text link twice for “my bank” and tried to log in. fortunately i had closed all accounts there so no damage done.

    • They’re out there and trying so hard to get money they sure didn’t earn from folks who worked hard to get it. Shame on them!!!

  15. I planted corn today and Jerusalem Artichokes last Friday. Most of the garden is fenced and we plan to plant my tomatoes, peppers, cukes and squash over the weekend. It may freeze tonight, then we should be good.

    • I hope you’re right. We nearly always get that last, unexpected freeze we have to tear around to protect our planted plants. Whew!

  16. Here in the Copper Basin Alaska we still have a couple feet of snow on the garden! Loshave been mid teens and highs around forty with bright sun so the greenhouse gets up to the high sixties but is back below freezing by nine o’clock so it will be about May 15 before we can afford to warm it at nite and put plants out there. We get at least two spam calls a week some of them even leave a voice mail saying call this number and we will take care of your bill collectors! Since I only buy what we can pay for I just laugh and delete the voice mail! You know better now so have a good day. Like your grandkids!

    • Yep, we have plenty of snow in our garden too! Our highs have been low-mid thirties (some days) with lows in the low teens. The greenhouse (unheated now) has daytime temps in the seventies and even eighties but down to like 17 at night.
      And yep, we get tele-marketers and scam calls every day but don’t pick up the phone unless we recognize the number. And we too, have had voice mails, which we just delete. Really now…..

  17. Oh Jackie, I’m so sorry this happened to you. I know it was a hard lesson learned, but please don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s those THIEVES that should be ashamed of themselves!

    • I agree. You can bet I won’t fall for that again!!! I look at it like a college course in fraud prevention that cost $800.

  18. It is hard today with most everything being on line. When I returned from a trip to New York with the Sierra Club, I discovered that over $2,000 had been hacked into my checking account. And, of course, I reported it, but it took months for the bank to decide it was a scam and put money back into my account. Sorry this happened to you, but sometimes we are unaware of what is true or false.

    • So true. And the crooks are SO convincing. My bank is very good about getting money back if I have a card hacked. Three times, so far. And I don’t do much online but for the seed business. No “tunes”, “videos”, games, etc.

  19. I just finished filling out a fraud report to my bank about my credit card. Someone used my card information to pay their Georgia Power bill for $571.00! Also, they stole my debit card information and used that, too! Now that both cards are shut down and replaced, I can go into my account and turn off/on my cards to protect them as much as possible. Thieves are everywhere. Be very careful where you use cards and don’t answer emails

  20. I am so sorry that this happened to you. Yes they put fear into you then take advantage!!

    Right now they are working on getting you to sign up for a “card” that helps you pay your dental bill. Just nuts what they ask for.

    Go back to gardening. You are safer there!!! Love your grandkids!!!

  21. I got scammed on April 1st. (appropriate) But not for much and my credit card company called me
    and told me they weren’t paying it. I am usually so careful, but I wasn’t on the alert that day.
    It is so easy to be fooled! Now I am afraid to open any suspicious email. I hope you don’t have to pay those charges. The photo is outstanding!

    • Boy, I hear you. My scam was awful as I DID buy the Google Play cards so the bank can’t do anything to retrieve my cash from my debit card. But I did file a fraud report with law enforcement.
      I, too, am leery of opening a suspicious email. Just today, I got another one, saying my Amazon order had been shipped; one I never ordered. But I checked my bank and no cash had been taken out so that one is a scam too. I suppose because I fell for the first one, they’re trying other options.

  22. I almost got scammed the other day by supposedly publishers clearing house. I kept asking questions because it didn’t sound right to me, he had good answers but when he told me I needed to drive to my bank and get $500 I knew it was a scam so hung up. I gave him my email address so I just prayed he couldn’t put something on my computer. Please everyone be aware those scammers are scary!

    • Boy, isn’t that the truth! That’s why I posted my problem on the blog; to help protect others from falling for the same type of scam.

  23. A good way to distinguish phishing emails: Amazon and PayPal will always address you by name, phishers will use a generic like “dear customer”.

  24. The Scammer Payback guy on YouTube has made an art form out of trolling phone scammers. He impersonates old ladies and keeps the scammers on the line for hours, hacks their computers while they hack into his simulated old lady computer, and has learned their language so he can understand their conversations with supervisors in the background.

    Some victims he has heard from have been scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars.

    If you give scammers remote access to your computer, they can not only get into all of your files and everything, but they can even edit the numbers being shown on your screen. So just as you are typing in how much you want to pay online, they can throw in some extra digits as a “mistake” and submit it for you, and then you have a whole ‘nother problem entangling you.

    The Indian government does occasional crackdowns, but there is a lot of bribery going on, and the scammers are very soon back in business again.

    • Wow, that’s interesting! The guy I was talking to had a strong Indian accent; don’t know if he was in India or was just one of the “cheap helps” companies hire. I’d never give anyone remote access to my computer. I’m dumb, but not that dumb!! (I don’t think…)

    • India’s government is Hindu, on purpose. They are shutting down all christian ministries and are a totally corrupt government.

  25. Really sorry to hear you got robbed. Yep, I dang near drove to town once for gift card, to get a great deal with Direct Tv. Those people are SO convincing, and of course had a Manager I could connect with, etc. But then it seemed too good to be true, and it was. Just think if those scammers would use their efforts and intelligence to solve world problems instead!
    I have 260 Clear Dawn onions that have gotten 2 haircuts so far, and its 21 degrees this morning. In addition, there’s several Andrew Rahart Jumbo tomatoes a foot tall, in 4″ pots…its only 2 more weeks until last frost date and I haven’t even tilled the garden yet! Cold, windy spring, and not much moisture.
    There are a few tiny fleas from the potting soil; so far, no issues but is that something that could become a problem?

    • I think I’d dust or spray your plants/potting soil with pyrethrin, just to be sure. This organic compound is harmless to people, birds or pets but will kill off potentially harmful insects. Some of my onions receive up to 4 “haircuts” before I set them out so don’t worry.

    • I was just studying about Clear Dawn onions, that were generated from Copra and are said to be a very good storage onion.

  26. I get emails supposedly from PayPal fairly regularly telling me about transactions. I haven’t used my PayPal account in years and doubt that it is still active. I ignore the emails. I also get other emails supposedly from merchants where I shop telling me I just earned a great reward. I also ignore them. I only depend on what I see when I log into their website directly.

    • Amen to that!! I delete such emails. I, too, haven’t used my PayPal account in a couple of years, due to a screw-up on their part, which was never resolved. I didn’t lose any money but it was highly irritating.

  27. Hi Miss Jackie…so sorry this happened. I get emails from time to time from “Amazon”. They are fake. If you go to the real Amazon website and call they will ask you to forward the bogus email to them. stopthespam@amazon.com is the address I think. Last week I got an email concerning a transaction on my credit card that had a PDF attached to it. I was supposed to click on that if I hadn’t bought anything. I didn’t click on it. I called the CC company instead. They had not sent it. I stuck the email in the trash and then flushed it. It’s a nightmare for sure. Your moon photo is ethereal! Thanks for sharing it. Stay safe. Pyro

    • Now you see why I just stood, mesmerized by that moon! You could actually see it rising. That’s a good idea about the Amazon scams. I got another one today so I’ll forward it to the real Amazon.

  28. My Dad *almost* got scammed but thankfully, he drove to my house. His “past due credit card bill” was $8K!! My Dad has NEVER had a balance that high. Trust me, the scammer got a bomb of expletives from me – and NO money. They play on panic and while my Dad knew better, he’s a) not young and b) has his hands full taking care of Mom.
    I called his CC company to report a potential breach. I scoured thru his computer and nuked the “message” he got. Had him change ALL his passwords as added precaution.
    If there was ever a legit reason for public torment and execution, these scammers would be front and center.
    So takeaways are: 1) hover over sender addresses in any emails you receive – most have funky looking addresses, 2) NO legitimate business requests gift cards for payment, 3) NEVER answer phone calls from a person not in your contacts. See if a voice mail is left – most scammers won’t and err on the side of caution if they do and block the number ,4) if a text is not from someone in your contacts, block the number.
    Check out https://haveibeenpwned.com/ to see if your email address has been part of a breach.
    All I can say is a) I am ready for phone scammers (can’t wait for the “IRS” to call), b) have had scammers hang up on ME (and their “supervisor” call later), c) have an object that will cause massive pain if I am ever able to come face to face with said scammer.
    Sorry this happened to you but once bitten, twice shy or fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.
    Frankly – I’d go back to check/money order and do report this. And beware the Grandma/Grandpa scam. I have no grandkids yet got the call one day. I sure had fun lol.

    • Yep, I know about the Grandma scam. Not personally, thank goodness. We don’t answer the phone unless we know the caller’s ID. If it is someone we want to talk to, they leave a message. Any suspicious texts get deleted fast. And, yes, I’m smarter today than I was on Friday!!

  29. Oh man. My grandma gets those all the time. When you get those emails, you can actually forward them to phishing@paypal.com. They try to track down the offender and block them. It’s a very hard hard thing. So sorry you got scammed. It happens all too often. We get concerned our information has been hacked, and they know it.

    I haven’t started transplanting yet, but I think soon.

    I have a question. I bought slips of onions online because I never have had good luck starting from seed. Well, I got them on Friday and they say to plant 4-6 weeks before last frost date. Man, does that seem off! I’ve never planted that early in the garden, mostly because our soul is still frozen. We got inches of snow today, and I’m just thinking of putting the slips in potato grow for a while then plant nearer the end of May. I know you start yours from seed. Just don’t want my little plants to dry out and die!

    Thanks a million for everything you do!

    • A frost and freeze are different and I sure wouldn’t plant onion plants this early if your soil is still frozen!! I think, what I’d do is kind of heel them in by burying the roots of the bunch in a large pot of soil and watering it occasionally. Keep them in the light and see how they fare. A lot of onion farms are down south and they don’t seem to understand our weather up here! Thanks for the PayPal site; I’ll do that. I don’t expect to get my money back but I’d like the thieves to rot in hell.

  30. Oh boy, I get these a lot. Got a phone call again the other day, saying something about a purchase on my Amazon account, please press one. I did, just for kicks, got an Indian sounding man saying his name was ” Peter Walter”. Uh huh, sure. Hits the end button.

    • While tempting, never hit a number to respond. The cretins then know they have a live number and turn around and sell the number (or use for one of their many other scams). If you aren’t in my contacts, I don’t answer my cell. So best leave a message and not for a minute do I trust the city/state that shows up.
      IF you think an email *might* be legitimate, you can always go to the business website (not by clicking any links in the email of course). Might have to use “contact us” because some places no long list phone numbers.

  31. I had a phone call from “Amazon” wanting to verify I’d made a $900 purchase. I hung up without saying anything and so far no more such calls. I usually get about one a week.

    We had snow for Easter. About 3″ although it was melting fairly quickly at first and then started accumulating so maybe more than 3″. We desperately need the moisture so I’m not complaining. It was mostly gone by 2:00 this afternoon except on the north side of the house.

    The price for a can of vegetable has reached $1.25 ON SALE at the local grocery stores so I’m praying for a successful gardening year!!

    • Yep, and have you noticed, all the store cans/packages are smaller now? Instead of 16 oz cans, they’re 12-14 oz. Shrink-flation!! We’ve been having snow every other day, too. The good news is we’re out of the drought conditions now. Whew!! That wasn’t fun.,

  32. Hi Jackie,
    I got an e-mail this morning from PayPal thanking me for some transaction that I didn’t make (I don’t have a pay pal account) When I went to “cancel” the transaction, the security software kicked in & blocked the rest of the e-mail. Nice to see it’s working. Finished transplanting my peppers & I’m almost done transplanting the tomatoes. A nice relaxing activity while it’s snowing – we’re supposed to get a few inches through tonight – normal for April here in the Finger Lakes of NY. I’m trying to think of extras that I can plant to supplement the goat feed. At $20.50 a 50# bag it’s getting kind of steep when they go through almost a bag a week… Probably I’ll plant a lot more squash & pumpkin as they store well but not sure what else. We did have a real cute set of triplets & 2 single does last month. Happy Spring!

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