I have been working on an interesting project for the last couple of year. This project is one where I am speaking to individuals who survived the Holocaust. I have been capturing some of the most interesting stories and personal histories from people who are Jewish, Gypsy, Jehovah’s Witness, members of what was the LGBT community of the time, and more.
I have learned a lot, and I plan to share these stories in a series of documentaries I am putting together.
Make documentaries is not an easy thing. It takes time, camera/audio equipment, audio equipment. So, to help with the fundraising, I created my third GoFundMe campaign. That campaign has not gained much in the way of donations. So, off to Facebook and a quick search for groups where one can post their GoFundMe links.
Joined, and posted.
Within the group was an individual named Michael Beaver. Michael said that as the Bible said one must be kind to their neighbors, he was going to send $100 to four people. I responded.
Michael – and I am sure that is not his real name – asked me what $200 would help me with, as far as my project goes. I told him. His next message was to send him my mailing address, and he would direct his bank to send me a check.
That was my first red flag.
GoFundMe is set up so that one may make a direct contribution to a campaign via credit card or debit card. If, as Michael says, he had a bank, why would he not use a debit card, the very least, to make his contribution to the project?
Not long after he told me the check was on its way. I thanked him, already sure this was going to be a scam. When he told me to use mobile deposit, on my cell phone, when the check arrived, I was sure it was a scam.
At this point, I didn’t want just to tell him to bugger off. I wanted to make him think I was eager and waiting. I asked for the tracking number, and he said, “If u can be patient, it will be good…it is gonna track this week and anytime from now.”
Today that check arrived.
The check is printed on the type of paper that comes with most commercially available check writing software. The signature is one found on the internet- you can even see the little “dots” that pop up when you over enlarge something.
Then, and this is a bit one, the check is from RKJ Hotel Management LLC. Who are they? RKJ Hotel Management is the holding company that owns Radisson Hotels!
I called the bank. That’s the call found at the top of this article. According to the bank, the account is compromised. It is not an account held by RKJ, nor by Michael Beaver. Simply put, it’s fake.
I did ask Michael about this.
“I am a shareholder there. That’s it,” he messaged me via Facebook. “I told u, message me before deposit. I would have simply authorized it before you deposit.”
Now, to keep this on some sort of level playing field, I send a copy of my call with the bank to Michael. I asked him if he would like to comment. He’s not responded.
What’s sad is that the bank said they had one other call, from Florida. This morning, I was contacted by a woman named Heather Nicole Little, who asked if I Michael had offered to help me.
I told her he did and that it was most likely going to be fake.
Too many individuals are only out for themselves. They will find ways, such as this, to make a quick buck, and leave you to deal with the legal repercussions. If I had deposited this check, I would have ended up in jail for cashing a forged check. Michael? Well, he would be long gone.
Be careful. If you receive a check, one you were not expecting, do not cash it. The same holds true if you receive a check that is written over the amount you were expecting- it will be a scam.
Oh, what was I to do with the extra money? Ah, but Michael did have an answer for that one.
“The amount sent exceeded what,” he wrote (His bad grammar, not mine). “Wanna donate to you, how can I be sure u will send the excess when cleared to the rest people that I’m donating to? I have a tracking number of the shipment already.”
In the end, I’m sure “Michael,” wherever he may live, would have received that money and laughed as I was led off in handcuffs.