Meet crazy_bamn. She's a scammer.
More photos here (the above should be the one with the least amount of make-up . . .)
Name: Evangeline Salamat Alonzo (known as "Bamn" online) as clearly stated on her LJ profile.
SHORT VERSION: In September 2009 I came across a thread on je_sales where crazy_bamn commented about planning to sell her KAT-TUN merchandise, and upon looking at her LJ, I saw eight KAT-TUN pamphlets. I proceeded to "check her out" to see if she was trustworthy. She seemed to worship the ground a certain fansubber walked on, giving me the impression that she was knee-deep in the fandom, which meant she was unlikely to be a quick scammer. She must value her online reputation amongst "friends" and such, surely? I also saw that she had been scammed by someone, plus she was willing to help people who were scammed . . . oh the irony. In any case, I decided she was trustworthy. Oh how very wrong I was.
I purchased the eight KAT-TUN pamphlets for a total of $300 USD, including registered airmail shipping from the Philippines to Australia. This was on 22 September 2009. She cried about typhoons (a legit reason, I thought) so I was really lenient with her when she took a while to post it, and even longer to get back to me with why the hell the pamphlets were taking so long to arrive. The registered airmail tracking number she gave me was AM963315411PH - which, apparently, doesn't exist. Does anyone in the Philippines recognise this AM code? I only know of AP, CP and RR. Bamn's last contact with me was an e-mail on 14 December 2009 where she said she would refund me the money if the pamphlets did not arrive by the end of December. Well, they did not and have not arrived. She lied multiple times. And then seemingly disappeared . . . despite still being active on LJ.
All this was documented with discussions with vitkay and maru_wonders from the very beginning of the transaction to my having problems with Bamn across the next four months. So, I do have "witnesses".
I e-mailed (and LJ messaged) Bamn on 1 January 2010 asking for the refund she had promised. No reply. I then found out that she'd lied about a lot of things from her friend. I e-mailed (and LJ messaged) her again on 9 January 2010 telling her I was going to make a Buyers Beware post on je_sales and file a police report against her if she did not comply with a refund. No reply.
But despite ignoring my e-mails/LJ messages, she has posted at least twice on LJ on 7 January 2010 and also on 15 January 2010. As she's still using her LJ, she's definitely read my LJ messages - I doubt she could lie her way out of that.
(Personally, if I was going to insist on hiding, I'd stop using my LJ account altogether . . .)
LONG VERSION: I purchased the following eight KAT-TUN pamphlets from crazy_bamn:
Kotoshi mo Ah Taihen Thank U Natsu
Spring LOOKing 2005
DREAM BOYS 2006
DREAM BOYS 2008
Cartoon KAT-TUN II You (Tokyo Dome)
Queen of Pirates
Break the Records (Tokyo Dome)
She had a photo of them up in this thread - the image that now says "This image or video has been moved or deleted". She deleted it shortly after I purchased the pamphlets - at the time I assumed because they were no longer on sale, as she had sold them to me (now I'm thinking she didn't want "proof" that I'd purchased something from her?). If anyone has happened to save that image of the eight pamphlets onto their computer before she deleted it, I would appreciate it if you could upload it for me. It's not that important, but it could help.
At first we spoke through LJ messages:
Then we took the discussion to e-mail, where we agreed upon the price of $300 USD, including registered airmail shipping.
I asked her if she could hold them for me for one week so I could get the money together, as $300 USD doesn't just grow on trees for me . . . she showed impatience with this. Seriously? I paid in one week. She took me on a ride for FOUR MONTHS like it was nothing. -_-
I noticed that the PayPal e-mail address she gave me was different to her e-mail address, and indeed her name, but I figured she just had another account like a lot of other sellers . . .
So you're transferring the funds to the bank, right?
Damn, banks are closed? OK, cool. A typhoon? I understand completely. Hope you're safe.
. . . Your internet had to be restored again? Or did you forget you had already used that lie in the last e-mail?
Everyone knows that "tomorrow" means "next week". And all the excuses about possible delays? Making sure I don't contact you constantly about why the package will never show up? I contact you constantly anyhow. And plenty of e-mails later . . .
Oh! YOUR E-MAIL WASN'T WORKING? How convenient.
What magic do you possess that allows you to call a post office when they're closed?
A new e-mail account . . . to futher a lie.
Her last e-mail to me. (Update: This is an image of Google's cache of Hongkong Post's website where they put up a notice about "Delay in Outbound Air Mail Service". Bamn has clearly copy and pasted this notice, also adding in a sentence about typhoons - to make it Philippines-relevant - and changed "Hongkong Post" in the beginning of the second paragraph to "PhilPost".) Apparently she doesn't feel that "ashamed" as she just ran off after this. I e-mailed her again to question the fact that I thought she had transferred the money into her bank account back in September? No reply. The fact that she used her friend's PayPal account is new to me, so on 1 January 2010 I send an e-mail requesting a refund to said e-mail account, as well as to both e-mail accounts Bamn used, and via LJ messaging. Point: Bamn definitely got that e-mail. In fact, just six hours before I sent the e-mail, Bamn was happily posting on this LJ thread.
I didn't get an e-mail response from her. I did however get one from her friend - who was shocked and awesomely helpful (thank you a tonne!). (Update to clear things up: Bamn's "friend's" name is KC, and she used to run a "shop" called "Yumi's K-JPop Room" with her friend, Yumi. Her friend Yumi has since stepped down from the shop, and now KC runs it by herself - though still under the name of "Yumi's K-JPop Room" since their customers are familiar with that name. KC has total control of the associated e-mail account of the shop, hence, though the following say the e-mails are from "Yumi", it's actually KC using the shop's e-mail address.)
Woah, hang on. You withdrew and gave Bamn the money a few months ago? It's not still in your PayPal account like Bamn claimed in her last e-mail? Shocked. Appalled.
So Bamn . . . used your PayPal account for illegal activities, ran away, then hung you out to dry to clean up the mess? What a nice friend she must be.
I left out all the details 'cause that's for the police. But her friend went through a lot of trouble to gather that information for me, and I really thank her for that. I hate Bamn for doing that to her, though. Seriously. What kind of friend does that? Forget about the fact that she stole my money - this is her friend that she just left in the wind after using her PayPal account to steal money. -_-
Bamn's not answering her friend's calls at all. And her friend called around post offices and we're pretty sure the "tracking number" AM963315411PH is just made up completely. Her friend can't get a hold of Malabon's Post Office though (she tried again later), but from what she gathered from her own post office, they don't have a pick-up service . . . which Bamn claimed she used. And they have no idea what "AM" could stand for. If you're in the Philippines and you do know/have seen it, please shed some light on this matter?
That just sums it up. Bamn lied from the very beginning. If her friend was borrowing $100 USD of my money, why not just tell me instead of lying about the banks being closed? Her friend transferred $200 USD a day after I paid, by the way . . . and the rest in early October. Bamn had the money when she told me she was going to send it . . .
Well, at the very least - at least some of my money went to relief operations . . . assuming that's not another lie Bamn told her friend.
UPDATE AS OF 7 FEBRUARY 2010: I've received all eight KAT-TUN pamphlets on 1 February 2010. Two of the eight are pretty badly damaged due to inadequate packaging (no bubble wrap whatsoever - what the?), but the other six range from good to excellent. It must be noted that crazy_bamn is definitely a scammer. The only reason she actually ended up sending the pamphlets to me (for real, this time) is because she's shit-scared of her mummy and daddy.
After I showed KC this post, KC herself made a post about Bamn at her own shop:
Someone contacted KC after reading her post, and kindly gave KC a new and different phone number for contacting Bamn. I asked KC to try calling the number, and she very kindly obliged: through the new number, she reached Bamn's aunt. After KC told Bamn's aunt the whole story of Bamn scamming me of US$300, her aunt offered to give me items valued at US$300 to make up for what Bamn did, of which I declined. Her aunt then gave KC the phone number of Bamn's brother-in-law, and she told him the whole story. At first he didn't believe her, being adamant that Bamn would never do such a thing because she wasn't like that, and that Bamn herself denied that she scammed me. KC went through a lot of phone calls with the brother-in-law. Finally, after ignoring KC's phone calls, text messages and e-mails, Bamn finally texted KC with an apology, and claimed that it wasn't her who scammed me, but her "cousin". She also begged KC not to meet up with her sister about the situation, because then her parents would find out that she had attempted to scam me - and she didn't want that because her parents obviously had no idea what their daughter was capable of.
Bamn sent KC a text message and e-mail as her "cousin" apologising for what "she" did. She sent my items via EMS on 28 January 2010 and I received them on 1 February 2010.
So, thanks to KC, I (mostly - since there were some damages) got what I paid for. <3
When I first made this post, someone else, Rach, generously told me she'd "investigate" Bamn for me. She contacted Bamn about a T-shirt - and, what do you know, despite the fact that Bamn seemed to have disappeared from the face of the Earth where her e-mail and phone number were concerned, she replied to the T-shirt enquiry straight away with her "problem" e-mail address. Not only that, but she also gave her other/second e-mail address as her new PayPal address.
So, clearly, Bamn was still using both her e-mail addresses - and clearly ignoring all e-mails from me and KC on both of them. Tsk tsk.
Rach and I decided we would try to get Bamn to confirm her phone number and home address, so that I could give it to the police. Well, she got Bamn to confirm her phone number.
I've blanked it out, but it is the exact same phone number that KC had for her - the same one she had been texting and calling like crazy, of which Bamn totally ignored her completely. But Bamn was clearly still using her phone number.
After replying straight away to Rach's enquiries, Bamn then stops e-mailing her for several days. I speculate that at that point in time (a couple of days after I made this post) Bamn had actually stumbled across my post about her scamming me - and as Rach enquired about the T-shirt shortly after I made my post . . . well, it's obvious Bamn put two and two together, and became suspicious of Rach. Then, as KC is busy calling Bamn's aunt and brother-in-law, Bamn happens to finally e-mail Rach - but as her "cousin":
Yeah, she's using the "cousin" gig on both - obviously to make her story more authentic and cover her tracks.
Now, let's lower our IQs quite a fair bit and actually believe Bamn - that it's her cousin, not her. This means that every time I e-mailed/LJ messaged Bamn after 14 December 2009, and every time KC e-mailed, texted, and called Bamn - her cousin conveniently got in first before Bamn saw any contact from us, and wiped our messages from Bamn's e-mails/LJ account/cell phone.
But let's keep our IQs lowered - this would also mean that Bamn's cousin has access to Bamn's e-mail accounts, LJ account, and cell phone, as well as the eight KAT-TUN pamphlets themselves. This means that her cousin uses Bamn's accounts to scam people, so either way, you should NOT do business with Bamn, as her cousin can run in and scam you at any time with Bamn's accounts.
Let's raise our IQs back up. Bamn is obviously her "cousin", and can't figure out a good story to cover her tracks.
From the LJ responses and LJ messages I've received, it seems like Bamn scams people if she can get away with it. This means that if you live a fair distance away from her in the Philippines, and especially overseas, chances are she's going to take your money and run with it. She can't scam people in meet-ups though, because obviously you're right in front of her and she can't run fast enough. I also believe she uses her reputation as a good seller through meet-ups to hush any talk of her being a scammer - after all, if she has customers to back her up as a good seller, who's going to believe someone who claims Bamn tried to scam them?
(Unless of course they have evidence like I do.)
Like hitokiriace for instance who tried to warn people in the je_philippines community about Bamn here back in June 2009. If I had seen that post, I would never have initiated a transaction with Bamn - unfortunately, I wasn't even aware of the je_philippines community.
The hilarious thing is that Bamn actually defended herself and accused hitokiriace of lying here. The nerve of this girl when she knew full well that she was in the wrong. But it's obvious she felt she could do that because she had a "reputation" in the fandom. Yeah, she's really devious. She plants herself well into fandom so that she has people to back her up, whilst in the background, she goes around scamming anyone she can get away with scamming.
If crazy_bamn has scammed you, please feel free to PM me for her family's phone numbers so that you can actually receive what you paid for.