Con Men and Their Scams: Total Gyms, for Cheap - You Can Resell Them at a Profit!

Con Men in Your Church, Gym or Grocery Store
Trouble in River City. 

Not all scams and scammers appear in email, a letter or a phone call.  Some approach you where and when you least expect them: in church, at school, in a grocery store or gym.

Below is a report from a victim of just such a scam.  Here's how it works:

  1. The scammer offers to sell you something at a cheap or discounted price, saying you can turn around and resell it for a quick profit, via an ad on CraigsList, a newspaper or on eBay.
    (Note: if that were true, why wouldn't the scammer just sell them herself on eBay?)

  2. The victim agrees to buy 1 item to test it out.

  3. The scammer delivers the first item at the agreed cheap price so all looks good, and the victim agrees to buy more of them, and pays for them in advance.
    (Note: step 2 and 3 is how the scammer gets the trust or confidence of the victim; that is why it is called a "con game")

  4. The items never arrive and the scammer disappears. The victim is out his or her money and all the contact information for the scammer turns out to be fake or disconnected. Whole stores and houses have been known to be cleaned out and moved over night, to set up the scam in a new location.

This type of scam has been around for generations. Rent "The Music Man" with Robert Preston for a classic Hollywood movie version of how a con scam works.

What can you do to defend yourself from scams, frauds and identity theft? Whether you think you have been the victim of a fraud or scam or want to be proactive in protecting yourself, here is a list.

Report of a con:

I have started fundraising to take Aiden to some appointments and therapy that isn't being covered on our insurance. I was in Fred Meyer asking how to go about asking them for a donation and explained what it was for. I got the paper to fill out and was leaving out to my car when a lady approached me and introduced herself. She said she had connections with the fundraising department of Total Gym and that she could set me up with a deal where I could get a Total Gym for $400 and easily sell it on ebay for $600 making a profit of $200 each.

They would offer free shipping directly to the buyer so it was a really good deal. She said she would set up an appointment to come to my house so we could discuss the details. I wasn't sure what to think but decided it couldn't hurt to talk to her.

When she came to my house she said that she could for sure offer me 5 of them and possibly a couple more. I told her that I was worried that it wasn't legit and she said if I wanted we could do 1 to start with and then after I got the total gym and realized it was all legit then order the rest. I went ahead and agreed to it. I got the total gym within 2 weeks so when she called me to set up another appointment I went ahead and agreed. When she came she explained how it would all work. She would come back in a week to collect the money and place the orders. I was so dumb and since I got the first one I believed it. I went ahead and listed the auctions on ebay. I sold them easily. She came back to the house. I paid her $2400 and she supposedly placed the orders.

I started getting nervous after a few days because I started thinking how I had paid her all the money and decided to call her to see if I could get tracking information to give the buyers. I had never called her before. She always had appointments set up and called me from a private number. The number she gave me isn't a real number.

Now I am working on getting the money to pay back the buyers and I am really out of luck because all I have is a name which total gym has never heard of and a phony phone number. I was just really dumb but she seemed so nice. Just wanted to help others if anyone tries this with them.


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