PERSONAL MONEY HORROR STORIES

Halloween isn’t the only time of year that can be spooky or scary; it can be ANY TIME when a personal money horror story can happen to you! Let’s see what happened to these three poor individuals and how their nightmares became a reality. Muahahahaha!

The Tale of the Scary Scam

Amazon is such a HUGE company. It became increasingly relevant during quarantine because all stores and shopping places were closed for several months. Like many Americans, I had an Amazon Prime account so I could receive my orders super fast. After having the subscription for several months I realized that I wasn’t using it as often, especially when stores started to reopen. I decided to cancel the order but I didn’t have my account information with me. There’s an option to cancel it on the web, but I decided to call so that I can speak to someone.

I looked up Amazon’s phone number on the web and dialed it. When my call went through I found myself speaking to someone with a heavy accent overseas. I told him that I wanted to cancel my Amazon subscription but didn’t have my account number. He asked me a series of questions including the last four digits of the card number that I used for the account. Everything sounded legit until he asked me to download an app so that I can give him access to my phone. (cue horror scream) He explained that it was so he could see my account.

Luckily for me, I didn’t want to download anything new and WIFI was sketchy in the area that I was calling from. So he said that I should go to Walgreens or CVS and purchase a gift card. The gift card had to be an Xbox one for $100.00 dollars. My phone received a text immediately after the $100.00 was transferred to my account. I attempted to verify that it was, but like I mentioned before, the WIFI was sketchy so I couldn’t get on my bank’s website to verify the validity of the transfer.

He had stayed on the phone the entire time while I purchased the $100.00 gift card. Meanwhile, I was asking him many questions of the reasoning behind my purchasing a gift card. He had answers to them all….and I’m the one that called Amazon’s phone number. It wasn’t a blind call that was made to me. At least, that was my reasoning at the moment. But, it just didn’t seem right and I wasn’t convinced.

It got to the point that he started screaming at me to give him the gift card number. I disconnected the call because that call was horrible! What was I left with.. a $100.00 dollar gift card that I couldn’t return for Xbox. I ended up canceling my subscription online, and it ended up being such an easy process.

Scams can happen everywhere, even if you initiate the call. If anyone ever asks you to purchase a gift card when YOU are trying to close an account. DON’T DO IT. How I had made a call to a scammer through the Amazon website I will never know. Let my personal money horror story be a lesson to you so you don’t have to live through it. Be smart and aware. Scammers are everywhere!

Not sure how scammers work? Check out this page for more info on phone scams: https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2019/phone.html.

My Halloween Car Personal Money Horror Story

On October 3, 2019, I went to the car dealership to purchase a new vehicle. I found one that I liked and took it for a test drive. I was so happy. The car was perfect. We finalized all the documents and drove the car off the lot that evening. I was on cloud 9. Then, bam, tragedy struck. I was driving to work on October 23, 2019, 20 whole days after purchasing this new car when I was involved in an accident.

A head-on collision at that. Luckily, I was fine, except for bruising from the seatbelt. The car, however, was not fine. The car was damaged badly, but we were unsure of how in depth the damage was at the time.
We waited anxiously for the call from our insurance adjuster for the outcome of the car. The adjuster called and advised the car was totaled. I was devastated. The car was so new, we have not even reached the 45 days for a payment.

When we were finalizing the paperwork, I did not think that gap insurance was needed. I wanted to try to keep the payments down as low as possible. Of course, between my husband and the advisor, I was talked into signing up for the gap insurance. Looking back, I am so grateful I was talked into getting Gap Insurance.

Due to the car being totaled, we had to wait for the price from the insurance as to what they would cover. Imagine the horror, when I was told the car value was $24,000 when I just took out a loan for $32,000 for the car.

This was where the gap insurance took over. It was the hero to my nightmare. Since I had the gap insurance coverage, I was able to sleep peacefully knowing that between the two coverages, my car would be covered, and I would have a very low out of pocket expense.

Moral of the story, listen to people who want help you in the long run. Think of how it would have been if we did not listen and opted out gap coverage. I would be stuck paying for a car that I no longer had while also paying for the replacement vehicle that I needed to purchase. While GAP insurance may not be right for everyone, I will always be grateful for the person who pushed me to getting GAP coverage.

Do you know what GAP insurance is? Check out this blog post for more information… do check it out… don’t let the next personal money horror story be yours!

My Financial Nightmare

I started paying attention to my credit score when I discovered my passion for personal finance during my sophomore year of college. I applied for a student credit card and made sure to use it sparingly while paying it off every month. The more I learned about the value of good credit and how important financing is, the more excited I got when my score would increase.

As my number increased, I was able to get approved for a better credit card, open my own utility accounts, and lease an apartment. Getting approved for the apartment was simple with my decent credit score, no criminal history, first month’s rent and security deposit ready to go. I ignored the red flags that the landlord of this apartment complex made no effort to hide such as one-star reviews online, poor grounds keeping, and rumors from current residents about illegal activities in other units.

Although my lease start date got delayed several months until March, I was told that I could end my lease early, so I decided to sign the agreement for one year. For the eight months I spent in the apartment I enjoyed living without roommates. By the end of the year I was ready to move in with my girlfriend. I spoke with my landlord who told me getting out of my lease early would cost two months’ rent. I felt robbed, but quickly moved on to enjoy renting a peaceful townhouse near campus.

About six months after moving out of my old apartment, I noticed my credit had dropped by about 100 points overnight. Without warning or any indication of a payment due, the landlord of my old apartment sent me to collections and destroyed my credit score.

My waking nightmare began. I requested more information about this debt from the collection agency noted on my credit report. After being sent my first invoice, I learned that my previous landlord kept my security deposit in addition to charging me to fix up the place. This process of “parking debt” on a credit report is a common tactic that my scummy landlord used in order to hold my credit score hostage until the debt was paid. Had I known upfront that I owed additional money to my landlord, I would have paid what I needed to so I could leave. Instead, I spent months fighting the charge and eventually had to deal with a collections company to pay my debt off in order to save my credit score. This money horror story felt like it would never end so I will dispense this little piece of advice….

Beware of legal agreements with sketchy people and keep an eye on your credit score before you need it. Don’t let your score drop to a SCARY place and stay on top of it with free monitoring services.

Do you know how to raise your credit score? Check out this blog with some great tips!

These poor souls had to endure their own personal money horror stories and I hope that you can take a moment and tid bit of advice by learning from their experiences. If you find yourself caught in a financial jam, give us a call. We are here to help and serve you even during the scariest of times.

Sarah Molen
Quality Analyst Specialist, Marketing Assistant

 

 

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