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Zoey_JD, Criminal attorney
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 23563
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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I purchased a boat on line from a woman named Angela Burton

Customer Question

I purchased a boat on line from a woman named Angela Burton and through google wallet. I thought I was buying boat and trailer both but was told later that the trailer did not come with boat and would have to purchase it separately, which I did. then had to send additional amount for insurance till I decided if I was going to keep the boat or not as I was to have fifteen days to return if not satisfied. then google wallet was to call and set up a time for delivery today. they have not called and I've called them at least five times and left a couple messages, but all I get is all our reps. are currently busy leave a detail message. now I'm afraid I've been had for five thousand dollars
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Fraud Examiner
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 7 months ago.
Hello, I'm sorry to be the one to confirm your worst suspicion, but you have indeed fallen victim to a very popular scam. Here's how it works: You see a desirable boat in an online advertisement on a site such as Craigslist. The cost is way below its book value. The seller is typically either out of your part of the country or in another country altogether. He can't let you see and inspect the boat, nor will he allow for an agent of yours to come see it. But don't worry, he assures you. The boat is a good one and you will be able to have 5 days (or so) to inspect it during which time you can send it back. Meanwhile, your money will be protected by Google Wallet, while you look it over. If you decide to get the boat, he tells you that they will release your money to the seller. You'll then get an email from "Google" providing you with payment instructions. That will usually involve a transfer using Western Union, MoneyGram or money cards to a so-called Google agent. Then you sit back to wait for your boat. By the time you figure out that it's never going to arrive, your your seller and the Google agent have disappeared without a trace and your money along with them. You try to find your seller, but none of the information you got turns out to be true. The real Google Wallet is only a payment processor. They do nothing else but accept your money. They never act as an escrow service to hold goods or money for any buyer or seller. And they would never send you to a competitor for payment if this were really a Google Wallet transaction. You would pay via Google Wallet with any real Google Wallet transaction. Here, your scammer switches up on you and wants a different payment method because Google transactions can be traced. Wire transfers via Western Union and MoneyGram and gift card transactions are untraceable, which you have already unfortunately found out. If you pay your seller via the real Google, she would get the money immediately and you would have legal recourse if she reneged on the deal. But instead, you never dealt with the real Google but someone who claims to be a Google agent with phony contact information and you sent your money directly to scammers.. The Better Business Bureau warns of false Google Checkout websites and scams here. (see link) So, for that matter, does Google. Report the fraud to your police and to the FBI at Notify the site where you found the ad that the ad is a scam so that they will take it down. There is no boat. There is no Angela Burton, there is no Google agent and anything you have sent them is likely lost forever, unless law enforcement can find out who or where your scammers really are, round them up and bring them to justice. I wish I could tell you that you'll get your money back, but short of hiring a private investigator to try to turn up your so-called seller, there's nothing much you can do except report it to law enforcement authorities. It's not a waste of your time to do that however, because there's one piece of good news I can give you: When you are the victim of a crime, your unreimbursed losses from that crime are tax deductible. So you'll be able to recover something in the form of a tax deduction when you file your 2016 taxes.

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