Herman Marmon of East Hanover knows very well that scammers try to take advantage of unsuspecting people, especially seniors.
So when Marmon, 77, became the target of a scam, he chose not to ignore it. He decided to see how far he could con the con-artists.
Last month, he received and email from someone claiming to represent Budweiser. The writer, “Davidson Boone,” said he wanted to “wrap” Marmon’s car in advertisements, and in return Marmon would get financial compensation.
A short time later, he received a nearly identical pitch from someone claiming to represent Samsung.
The offer said Marmon would be paid $350 per week for as long as three months.
Marmon decided to play along, so he answered the required questions:
Boone: How long do you intend to carry the advert on your car 1 month, 2 months or 3 months?
Marmon: As long as you pay me!
Boone: Do you have a driver’s license?
Boone: Do you use your car every day?
Boone: Have you crashed a car between Jan. 2011 till date?
Boone: Do you have an existing checking account where you will deposit your check for letting our company use your car?
Marmon: Yes, two. Glad you did not ask for routing and account numbers.
“Note you will receive a check/Money Order, which will cover your weekly up front payment of ($350) for carrying the advert on your car/truck and an additional sum which will be forwarded to the decal installer/expert who will be responsible for the advert placing on your car,” Boone said in the email.
Marmon didn’t believe it for a second.
“They did not have any idea what my car looked like,” Marmon said. “Never asked. Could have been a scooter or 18-Wheeler.”
He answered anyway.
“This has a very bad odor. No question about type of car. Very strange. Please explain,” Marmon wrote, and his offered his address to receive the payment.
Boone didn’t answer the question, but sent instructions with a FedEx tracking number for the check. Marmon should deposit the check and email Boone a copy of the deposit slip, Boone said.
“Once the funds is made available, you are required to hold on to your $350 weekly compensation for the service you are rendering (Flying Budweiser Logo),” Boone wrote. “Payment for subsequent weeks will be mailed out to you weekly. Kindly get back to us immediately [when] your payment is received, do check your email for further instruction to avoid any form of delay.”
Marmon tracked the package, but it never arrived, even though the tracking information said there was a delivery attempt. Marmon never received a door-tag from FedEx, which he said he always gets if a delivery attempt is unsuccessful.
He went to his local FedEx branch. The rep looked for the package and said it was returned to the shipper.
“I said, ‘Whoa, please read the tracking information,'” he said. “She left and returned a lot slower this time. Said the package had been returned to FedEx Security.”
Marmon said that’s all the information he could get, so he emailed the suspected scammer.
“FedEx refused to deliver your package and it is being handled by FedEx Security. It is being returned to sender,” he wrote. “Hope for your sake that there are not any law enforcement people showing up with the .5 lb box.”
Boone responded, this time with a tracking number for a USPS package that contained a $1,950 check, and he apologized for the delay.
This time, the check arrived, and Marmon received a text message from Boone.
The fraudulent check received by Herman Marmon.
Courtesy Herman Marmon
Boone asked if the check had been deposited, and Marmon lied and said yes. Boone asked when the funds would be available and for the balance of Marmon’s account.
Marmon strung him along, and sent him a fake deposit slip.
Boone: Okay you are to deduct $300.00 for your pay and the rest sent to the graphic expert.
Marmon: You want me to send $1650.00 to GRAPHIC EXPERT? What is their address?
Boone: Have you heard of moneypak?
Boone: Go to any Walmart around you and tell them you want to buy greendot moneypak. Do you have any Walmart around you?
Marmon said yes, and it would take him a few hours to get there.
Instead, Boone had another idea, and instructed Marmon to go to Western Union.
Boone texted several more times before Marmon answered.
Marmon: Davidson, this has been a real pain. Western Union wanted to know why and where I was sending the 1650.00. They told me it was a SCAM and I should keep ALL the money you sent me. So I am going to keep it all. Thank you for the money. Herman P.S. The bank said there was no account with number on the check.
Boone: How can western union say that
Marmon: She did. I kept a copy of deposited check and when I got home I called the Chemung Canal Trust Company in Elmira, NY and asked them if account 235512753 had been issued and “OFFICIAL CHECK” # 100075481 on 9/17/2014. I was told No! DON’T TRY TO CASH IT. THIS IS A SCAM!! What say you now, Mr. Davidson Boone?
This time, Mr. Davidson Boone had no answer.
Marmon said he played along to cost the scammers as much time and money as he could, plus to possibly build a case for law enforcement.
“I called Bamboozled wanting to warn as many people as possible to remember, ‘If something seems too good to be true, it probably, and most likely, is,’” Marmon said.
Wise words, Herman, and thank you for sharing your story.
Have you been Bamboozled? Contact Karin Price Mueller at Bamboozled@NJAdvanceMedia.com