Couple Warns Others After Falling For Facebook Scam
LifeAspire Staff 12/21/2016
The internet is full of helpful information, educational pieces, motivational stories and a dark side. Unfortunately, criminals can easily prey on people through the internet, which one British couple learned the hard way.
Becky Szenk, 22, and her fiancé Mark Higgins, 28, had invested all of their money in a pub called Horse and Jockey. In order to be closer to their business, they decided to move from their flat in Bilston to the pub located eight miles away. The couple and their baby girl, Ariyah, were excited about the move. They would be living above the pub.
Knowing they couldn't make the move by themselves, Becky turned to the internet to find a reliable mover to help. She settled on a moving company owned by a man named Lee Green. The company's Facebook profile looked legitimate and their website professionally designed, Becky said. She contacted the company, spoke with a man who identified himself as Lee Green, and set up an appointment for the movers to come to their home and help. Mark and Becky never expected that their decision would have such a dire effect on their lives.
Becky was instructed to box up their belongings and label them to help make the process go more smoothly. When the movers arrived, within 45 minutes they had packed the moving van with all of the boxes. The only thing that wasn't in the van was a television that the couple transported in their car so it wouldn't get damaged.
But an hour later, the moving van hadn't arrived at the pub. After placing numerous phone calls, Becky and Mark discovered that Lee Green wasn't a real person and his moving company actually was a scam designed to rob people of their money, belongings and even their identity. In fact, the movers now had their boxes containing baby Ariyah's medical records, Becky's engagement ring, all of their furniture, appliances, clothes, photographs and other irreplaceable items. Becky said it all happened "so quickly."
"They were racing in and out of the flat. We just thought they were being very professional. But once they drove away we didn't see them again. The men had told me in advance to pack all of our belongings into boxes and label them up clearly - I didn't realize at the time, but they took the most valuable items first. When I commented on how fast they were completing their work, one of them told me that 'we have a lot of jobs on today.'"
It took just 45 minutes for Becky and Mark to lose everything from their home. She said they're heartbroken and it was a hard lesson to learn. She said she never suspected that the moving business was anything but legitimate.
"I just hope others can be more careful about trusting people they book over social media as I would hate for this to happen to anyone else. I have never cried more in my life than I did on Friday afternoon. I am so distraught that they have taken my engagement ring and my baby's toys."
Here's a video about their incident and how to avoid scams like this.
Family, friends and even strangers have since stepped forward to help the couple out with donations for which they're thankful, but they will never be able to replace certain precious items like Becky's ring and photographs. Police departments advise people seeking professional services to complete a thorough background check on a business before hiring, to obtain references and check those out, then see if it's registered with an accrediting agency like the Better Business Bureau.