Ann – Jul 24, 2020
Total money lost $600
Type of a scam Business Email Compromise
The company name is M & M Moving and the ‘owner’ I was speaking to is allegedly named Brent Routley. We are in the process of moving and were shopping for movers. In addition to the companies we reached out to, we received a few flyers in our mailbox. After reading the flyer, I reached out to Brent. The conversation started as per normal with negotiating and asking general questions. Once the price and terms were negotiated, "he" asked for a $600 deposit. This was to be sent to a separate email [email protected] and I figured it was a separate address that he used for deposits. Once I sent the funds, I emailed him back and "he" acknowledged receipt (July 10th). On July 13th, I reached out again and was told that I would receive the invoice on Thursday (July 16th). Needless to say, Thursday came and went. I emailed him again on Thursday evening and when I woke up on Friday, I had an email from him, from a different address, with the subject line FRAUD. He explained that someone must have hacked into his account and took over the conversation with me. Additionally, when I called him at 7:30am on Friday morning, I seemed to have caught him off guard and he said he usually doesn’t get up that early, which I found bizarre considering his line of work. He insisted that he was not the one responsible and he had spoken to Hamilton police and confirmed that he is not responsible, rather the people who got scammed have to address this. In my opinion,this really didn’t add up considering someone had impersonated him and his business. After advice from counsel, I called Hamilton police and he apparently did call but did not file a police report. Both myself and the officer thought that was quite odd, given that someone was impersonating him/his business and stealing from prospective clients. He also appeared to find the whole situation kind of amusing (in my opinion). He was also quick to ‘split the difference’ and in a text, made an odd reference which was ‘as discussed, we will split the difference, regardless of who was legally responsible. He proceeded to presumably book me the service and told me a $300 credit would apply but I did not receive any contract, rather some confirmation code via text. He also told me that this happened to a few other clients and they were scammed also but he wasn’t going to chase them for money they still owed because that is ‘not who he is’. To be clear, I do not know if this was legit, or the so-called owner is the suspect. At the end of the day, he came off in a very bizarre manner and I was uncomfortable with the whole situation, I left him a voicemail on Monday, indicating that his services are no longer needed. He called me back and proceeded to assert that this wasn’t him and that because of his family history of good will, it couldn’t be him. The thing I kept telling him is ‘I don’t know you’ and during this discussion, he really digressed from the topic of what actually happened and began talking about starving children, other clients and how he places his faith in god, and inferred that I must not believe because I don’t 100% trust what he is telling me. I found this incredibly offensive. Again, for probably the 20th time during the call, I told him I don’t know you. I find it very strange that someone would be hacked in the middle of an email thread and then have full control of that same account a few days later. With that said, I am not an IT/scam expert. I have spoken to RBC, Legal Counsel, Halton and Hamilton Police and now the ScamPulse.com to inform them of this experience. I will also be contacting the government of Canada anti-fraud centre. Besides losing the money to this ‘business’, I found it very disturbing that the owner seemed to have zero accountability and placed the blame solely on the ‘hacker’ and the people who were scammed vs. his own information security breach. I do not plan on posting any negative reviews because I truly do not know what happened here but felt compelled to report this, particularly because this business is accredited by your organization. With that said, what I do know is that most businesses would show some significant concern regarding a situation like this. Like mentioned, he did offer $300 but that is only half of what I lost and there are a number of other people that got ripped off here that he told me about, and the total of funds scammed by the individual impersonating him and his business is likely a few thousand dollars or more. I would think given a situation like this, his business and business insurance should have some responsibility to make right with the individuals that were scammed. At the end of the day, the money is not the most important thing. Rather, that others do not get scammed like this. I am happy to answer any further questions that may arise regarding this.