Life in a mirror

Recently I did something that I couldn’t believe I was doing. It was a Wednesday evening and I had just arrived at a meeting of the Writers Circle that I now belong to. The meeting hadn’t yet begun, the last few stragglers were taking their seats. It was announced that due to personal reasons our Treasurer was resigning after 15 years. A request was made for a volunteer to take up the mantle.

That was when I heard it. It was my voice, and the words, not unfamiliar, were not what I expected to hear coming from my own mouth.

‘If nobody else wants to do it I will.’

It didn’t make me feel good, I had misgivings about this. Although I had done it before, twenty years ago I was the treasurer of our local Playgroup. I was worried about having other people’s cash in the house whilst we were struggling financially ourselves. Over the last couple of weeks since we sold our car, our own situation has become more relaxed. I began to feel better about my new role.

This weekend I called round to visit my predecessor for the handover of all the Treasurer’s paraphernalia. We chatted for several hours. We didn’t spend much time discussing the Writing group. Instead we talked about our own lives.

I had never imagined that I would meet another person whose life was such a mirror of my own life. She has lived my past, she has lived my current life. She is living my future.

It is strange but the revelations that came about through our conversation are both scary and at the same time comforting.

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Hankeen Gabriel now we know

Thanks to John we now know how Hankeen Gabriel works his scam. After seeing my post he has given us a copy of the email he received from our favourite scammer. I thought I would copy it here in case you have had contact from this person but have not seen John’s comment on my last post.

To recap, I was advertising a car for sale through Gumtree, I very quickly received an sms on my phone from Hankeen Gabriel asking me to email him which I did. A few hours later I received an email from him which struck me as suspicious. Firstly the language was obviously transcribed from google translate or some other such translation tool. Secondly it was curious that not once did he mention my car which he apparently wanted to have shipped to his dad without actually seeing it. He was most concerned that I should have a paypal account.

I have reported this to Gumtree. Now John has reached the next step in the sting.

 

Thanks very much guys – really appreciate this blog. Just had Hankeen Gabriel contact me to buy my car. Initially I didn’t twig it was a scam so sent my paypal email address but nothing else. He replied to me with this email:

I was just about to make the payment when i had this little problem with the pick up agent.. He said he won’t come and pick up the item unless i pay him the agent commission fee first in order to be able to schedule a pick up time ,and my pick up agent head quarters is in the state and all commission payments made for pick up, from anywhere in the world is sent to their head quarters in the state and the only form of payments they accept is western union money transfer and i tried to pay online but i will need a credit card which i didn’t bring along, and there is no post office(there is usually a western union section in have to ask you to help me with the pick up fees, i will include the £450 they charged to pick it up and take it my home(1st class treatment), to the payments i will send through paypal. After i have made the payments and it has been confirmed by paypal, i will need you to help me send the £450 to my pick up agent through western union money transfer, the western union money transfer can be made at a post office near to you,there is always a western union agent in most post offices or online athttp://www.westernunion.co.uk .I will be making the payments shortly and will email you as soon as it has been done.

So the scam in the case it to try and get you to send funds via Western Union. Hopefully anyone else in this position will see this blog and avoid the scammer!

Thanks again for this blog, saved me losing £££ to this terrible scammer.

 

So now we know.

Hankeen Gabriel reply to Gumtree ad

About six weeks ago I wrote this post about the scams we had come across during our efforts to sell our car. The good news is that we have sold our car.

However I have noticed over the weeks that my post about the scams has been getting more traffic than more recent posts. Today I have had two separate comments from people who have been contacted by Hankeen Gabriel following ads being placed on gumtree.

I am sad that these people are being bothered by this person but I am glad that my post which mentioned his contact with us has helped others to avoid him. I don’t know how his scam works but I am sure it is just that.

I wonder how many people have been caught out by this person in the last couple of months since we had our message from them.

I am thinking now that perhaps we should all report them to Gumtree and perhaps the police before they can con someone innocent who doesn’t realise there is anything odd.

I have now emailed gumtree and had an automated response saying they will look into it and get back to me within 6 hours.

I will keep you posted.

 

Here is the reply I received last night.

Thank you for your email reporting this to us – we take reports of this nature and the safety of our users very seriously and use information such as this to help improve the site experience for everyone.

The information you have shared with us does, in our experience, show patterns commonly associated with fraudulent activity.  For these reasons, I strongly advise you not to pursue contact with this person. We will use the information you have provided to further investigate this user’s activity on Gumtree.

I am very sorry that you had to come across this. We try our best to prevent these situations from happening and have a dedicated team of Customer Service agents on hand 24/7, 365 days a year who are available to assist with reports of this nature.  You may wish to re-visit our Safety tips and read up on what we’re working on at the moment at the following link: http://help.gumtree.com/knowledgeSafe

If you have any other information that you feel would be useful to stop this individual or others acting in a similar way, please let me know; you can reply to this email or use the “Report this Ad” function which can be found at the top of every Ad.

I thank you very much for taking the time to report this to us so that we can take action to protect others. If you have any further concerns about any personal information you have shared with this user, please do get back in touch at this email address.

Kind regards,

Andrew
Gumtree Community Team
www.gumtree.com

There’s a space

Looking out of our window there is a space where there should be a smart blue Holden Monaro. It is now 10.30am on Sunday, half an hour ago two men appeared on our drive. I knew as soon as I saw them, why they were here. They had come to take my baby away. After months of reluctantly trying to sell our V8 car with the Chevy short block engine, I had a call on Tuesday from a man in Norwich who has been looking for one of these cars since 2003. He was so keen to buy it that he had transferred the money into my bank on Wednesday. I find it very odd that someone would part with that amount of money on a car he hadn’t even seen. He still hasn’t seen it as he sent a friend to collect it. So now we have a space where my car has sat for the last 16 months. Yes I am sad that I shall never get to drive it again. Owl is sad that he shall never get to hear the roar of the engine when it starts up.

Owl is now going to apply to get his driving licence back after a year of not driving. Once he gets his licence we shall buy him a cheap run around car maybe something like a Nissan micra but more likely a peugeot or something similar. Insurance is not going to be cheap since his drink driving ban.

On a brighter note, last night the two of us went to see a firework display. One that is reputed to be the best in the area every year. It was a lovely evening, although as we set off from home the rain began. It had been dry all day, but we were not put off. When we arrived it was still spitting but it wasn’t enough to dampen the atmosphere. I don’t have a clue what the turn out was but it was busy without being over crowded which was good. Whilst we waited for the fireworks to begin we each had a hotdog from one of the stalls set up among the funfair rides. The fireworks were fantastic, all set to music. I took several videos as well as photos. IMG_2156  IMG_2155  IMG_2162

It was a great evening for us especially as we don’t often go anywhere together these days.

Day tripping

Yesterday I took Skater on a day trip to Hertfordshire. Not your usual destination for a day trip, I know. We had an important reason for going. This was to be the start of Skater’s new future. We were visiting The University of Hertfordshire which happens to be in the small town of Hatfield. This was my second visit there as I was also there three years ago with Pug.  We set off at 6.45am (on a Saturday! criminally early) in the rain. Luckily the National Car Park that is M25 was the clearest I have ever seen it. We made good time and were parked and registered by 9am.

We listened to 3 different talks during the morning, explored some of the campus including the all important Student Forum where the live music shows are held. We were filling in time until the subject talks began but my son was getting bored, we managed to have a look at the TV and Film studio which was what he really wanted to see. Skater satisfied by what he had seen was ready to hit the road back home. We came across congestion between junctions 13 and 11 on M25 but otherwise the journey was good.

Today was a different type of day trip even though my companion was Skater again. This time we were travelling by train, I sent a text to Statto to let him know which train we were on. We had no idea whether he would be meeting us at the station or did he expect us to find our own way to his flat? An hour and 42 minutes later we arrived and there he was waiting at the barrier. He led us across the concourse towards a well known book/stationery store where he had left Miss  Effervecence.

Setting off on foot we walked past The National Theatre National Theatre From there we walked along the river bank towards the OXO Tower. Oxo Tower We were almost there. Turning down a walk way we were soon greeting the concierge of the block of flats where Statto now lives. Once in the flat we were given the grand tour and a much needed cup of tea. We were given a delicious roast chicken dinner. It was amusing to see my son carving up the meat but I am sure practice will make a difference.

After our meal we went out for a walk. Back on the south bank we continued east. Among the sights we saw were The Tate Modern The Tate Modern and who could miss the sight of Shakespear’s Globe Theatre. The Globe Theatre   Southwark bridgeUsing the Southwark bridge we crossed to the north of the river. Soon we were into almost familiar territory for me. A lot has changed since I worked in The City in the early 1980s. If we had turned east we would have been going towards the area I had known all those years ago. Instead we turned west towards St Paul’s Cathedral. St Paul's   St Paul's steps Heading back towards the South Bank I stopped to take a few photos from the north bank. London Eye  CIT tower You can’t see it but the flat is in a block right behind the SEA Containers building, right next to the cranes you can see. We had almost reached the safety of the flat when it began to rain. By the time Skater and I left Statto and Miss Effervecence the heavens had opened and we had to dash to the station, splashing through the many puddles.

By the time we reached home a little after 9pm my legs were beginning to feel the effects of so much unaccustomed walking.

I really enjoyed my day out as did Skater, tomorrow I shall pay for the punishment I have put my little legs through, but as I have a day off from work I am not too worried.

 

Positive

Most days being positive comes easily to me. It has become second nature, putting on a smile and laughing when others are being negative.

Most days being positive isn’t something I even have to think about, I can generally find something positive in everything.

However there are days like today when being positive is much harder.

The hardest days of all are those where I am surrounded by people who just don’t think.

Some people just don’t get the severity of a situation and carry on as though they can do as they please when they please and there will be no consequences. They don’t worry so don’t understand that I might be extremely concerned.

There are others who have never been in the same situation and have no understanding that sometimes it is tactless to go on about spending hundreds of £s on christmas presents or trips abroad over New Year when others just can’t afford to live, let alone think about those things.

It is difficult enough having to struggle day by day trying to pay the bills. Never knowing if you can afford to spend money on food let alone any luxuries, but when someone who is fully aware of how things are, prattles on about how many hundreds of  pounds to spend on presents from Boots this year or should they spend it elsewhere, it kind of feels like they are rubbing your nose in it that you have nothing.

However looking on the bright side, I may be feeling depressed today but I know that will pass and I will get back to being positive unlike some.