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Checking your credit score can help keep you safe!

Credit Fraud--Unauthorized Charges

Credit fraud involves the theft of your credit card or account number to make unauthorized charges to your account. Though consumers are protected financially from this abuse, other creditors may take note of all this activity and decide to raise your interest rates or refuse to grant you a loan. Ordering your credit report will help you catch new activity on accounts that you haven't been using, or may have closed.

When it comes to managing your credit worthiness, your credit report is your best resource. Ordering your credit report gives you the opportunity to manage your credit wisely today, while planning your credit strategy for achieving future goals--a credit-savvy move every consumer should make! Click Here to Learn More About Credit Repair >>





December 2010

This Craigs List Posting Is A Scam! - Vacation Rental Scams!
To Take a Better Look At This Posting, Right Click and select view image in a new tab.

Recently, my family and I took a vacation to New York City with some friends. As we were a big group - 7 total, we decided to look into a vacation rental instead of a hotel. First stop Craig's list... Big Mistake - I almost fell for this - they are getting better, those scammers! The posting looks real, but it is certainly on the cheap side. Closer inspection reveals some too good to be true items, although - not entirely in the realm of the impossible. $85 a night is very cheap - anything under $200 is questionable for New York City - And this one offers free international calling - not impossible with today's VOIP phone lines, but suspicious.

How to avoid getting scammed? This guy will ask for money up front in the form of a cashiers check, money order, WESTERN UNION or MONEYGRAM. Do not ever do that. It is a scam. This apartment was most likely for rent at some point, and the scammer grabbed the pictures. Maybe it is in NYC, maybe not. You will never find out, because the person placing this ad has no access to this actual apartment. I would avoid Craig's list altogether for vacation rentals.

I was all set to start the rental process but emailed my husband at work to see what he thought. His reply came back "It's a SCAM!" A co-worker of his fell for the same scam, but for a "rental" in Santa Barbara, California. Poor guy actually sent the money, drove his family out - and had no place to stay! See how that works? While I was writing this, I responded to the above ad. Here is the correspondence:

Me: Is this still available? We really need a place quick! 1 week from 12/27

Response - came right away!

SCAMMER: Thank you for your interest towards my posted apartment on Craigslist. My apartment is still very much available for the dates you wanted and it's located on 255 E 26th St, New York, NY 10010 in center of attractions with personal large bedroom, kitchen, High ceilings , tiled floors, with dishwasher,disposal, compactor, fridge and ice maker. Artist handmade and tiled archways and wall panels. arrangement for luggage during and after check out to keep them safe,tiled floor,recessed lights,and Fully-equipped laundry facility and private parking space.

The Apartment Rent Is Listed Below.
Dec 27th to Jan 3rd is ($85/Night) which is $595 for your total stay
50% to hold your date of arrival is required which is ($295) Plus
Security deposit of $250
Total payment to be made to secure the date of your arrival would be $545

Note:The security deposit which is ($250) is refundable on your departure if no damage during your stay.

Thank you,
Mrs Tessy

ME: OK, sounds great, do you take credit cards?

SCAMMER: Hello, Thank you so much for your final interest in my apartment, I do assure you that you will never regret booking my apartment because you would enjoy your stay in my apartment and make you feel like a New Yorker.
For booking and reservation of the apartment for your dates, I would issue you a contract booking and agreement form upon request as attachment file so that you can have it filled and send it back along with your deposit. I would gladly send you the Contract Booking Form upon request and I will also be there during your arrival to give the keys and also be there on your departure to refund your deposit in cash. You will send the booking deposit to my brother in Missouri which would be through Western Union or Moneygram, the choice is yours.

Thank you,
Mrs Tessy


Google maps showing location of Craig's List Scammer

I notified the Kansas City PD - but I doubt they will do anything. I also flagged it on Craig's List - but they don't seem to mind since this particular scammer has been active since early December, at least.


We ended up using and had no trouble - stick to the verified landlords to be safe.

Credit Card Crimes

A friend just emailed me a link to this blog - Banks have declared war -- on you - it is something you should read - but prepare to be aggravated.



Several years ago an ADT salesman knocked on my door with what sounded like a good offer. I would get a security system installed in our house, which would be monitored by ADT. Should the system ever go off, ADT would run through a list of phone numbers to try and contact us, and send the police to capture any burglars.

For two plus years I paid every month, secure in the knowledge that ADT's system would be there to prevent the unthinkable from happening.

Then one day in May, I got to see just how useful my security system was. It was my daughter's birthday celebration and I had made reservations for 15 at a nice restaurant in Santa Barbara, a 45 minute drive from our house. We caravanned up the coast and had just been seated when my husband's cell phone rang with ADT on the line informing us that our alarm had been set off.

I told them it was neither anyone in the family, nor our pets because all were 45 minutes away about to eat dinner. ADT then informed me that the police would not go out and check on the house before 7:00 PM, and that if and when they went, it was very low priority.

In short: "Your house may or may not be being broken into right now, and there isn't a darn thing we are going to do about it."

Which made me really wonder why I was sending ADT those checks every month. (Actually, letting them charge it on my Visa.)

The alarm turned out to be a false one, thankfully. But the next day I called to cancel the service, but learned that I had several months to go on my contract and would be charged the balance. I didn't like that, but said fine, charge me and cancel the service. At least I would have use of the electrical outlets their stupid system was covering in my utility room, and I wouldn't have to deal with the alarm going off for unknown reasons. Assuming that was that, I soon put ADT and their scam service out of my mind.

Until about 3 months later when I noticed that I was still being charged the monthly rate. I called again, went through the same spiel as the first time and thought again that I had canceled the service.

When my credit card bill came the next month, I looked right away for the lump sum that would signify the end of my relationship with ADT. Instead, I found the usual monthly amount. This time, I closed the credit card account. I figured 4 months was long enough for them to do what they said they were going to do.

It was obvious to me that they were hoping I would forget that I didn't want their useless security system and continue paying even after the contract time had elapsed.


This information is worth reading. By understanding how the VISA & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.

Those con artists get more creative every day. My husband was called on Wednesday from "VISA", and I was called on Thursday from "MasterCard". The scam works like this:

Person calling says, "this is , and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My Badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by bank XYZ. Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a marketing company based in Arizona?" When you say "No", the caller continues with, "Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards.

Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?" You say "yes". The caller continues... "I will be starting a Fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1-800number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security.

You will need to refer to this Control #" The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. "Do you need me to read it again?"

Here's the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works: The caller then says, "he needs to verify you are in possession of your card". He'll ask you to "turn your card over and look for some numbers. There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are your card number, the next 3 are the 'Security Numbers' that verify you are in possession of the card. These are the numbers you use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. Read me the 3 numbers".

After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he'll say, "That is correct. I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?" After you say No, the caller then Thanks you and states, "Don't hesitate to call back if you do", and hangs up.

You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. Are we glad we did! The REAL VISA Security Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 was charged on our card.

Long story made short, we made a real fraud report and closed the VISA card, and they are reissuing us a new number. What the scammers want is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card. Don't give it to them. Instead, tell them you'll call VISA or Master card directly. The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the information since they issued the card!

If you give the scammers your 3 Digit PIN Number, you think you're receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement, you'll see charges for purchases you didn't make, and by then it's almost too late and/or harder to actually file a fraud report.

What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from a "Jason Richardson of MasterCard" with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA scam. This time I didn't let him finish. I hung up! We filed a police report, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several of these reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybody we know that this scam is happening. Please pass this on to all your friends. By informing each other, we protect each other.

HAVE YOU BEEN SCAMMED? Tell us at the retro housewife hotline

Places To Be Heard!

  1. sk-YOU - Community website for Sears and Kmart customers.