As a victim of an online equine scam, I’d like to make sure it doesn’t happen to you… Part One and Part Two on this topic discuss the bogus Equine Mall, a scam perpetrated by Maryann Pattyn, aka Maryann Montour, aka Dedy Pattyn.
I was supposed to get married in early May. The pandemic has forced us to delay our plans until June 6th, but that is another story. In order to be married in our church, we were required to take an “Enrich/Prepare” class. The course starts with a psychological test. One of the assessments had this to say about both Alan and me:
Both individuals scored HIGH on the pleasing dimension. These individuals will be trusting, friendly, and cooperative. They value getting along with others, are considerate, and helpful. Optimistic about people, they view others as basically honest, decent, and trustworthy.
Does my personality and inherent belief that people are good predispose me to being scammed? I have experienced scammers before. I don’t advertise on Craig’s List. Scammers watch for items of value and immediately initiate their game. Their English is poor, (usually, but not always), and they tell you a “friend” will carry out the deal because they are out of the country or otherwise indisposed. Often, they offer to pay you more than you are asking, and they want the deal done “yesterday.”
The Beautiful Greenhouse Deal!
Recently, this ad popped up on my Facebook page. Alan loves to garden, and I thought this would be a great way to have a garden in Colorado. (The wildlife make growing flowers and vegetables nearly impossible!) But look at the price! It would not be possible to purchase decent materials for that price, much less have it constructed!
I started to poke around the website, and this other option appeared…
Seriously, how could one even acquire the materials for that beautiful greenhouse for a mere $147? Again, I turned to the internet, and lo and behold, I stumbled across this… Here you have the real manufacturer of this greenhouse. This would be the real price, and a much more realistic one at that.
Indeed, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I am sure you have heard that before, but keep that in your mind whenever you are contemplating an online transaction. If like me, you tend to view people optimistically, it won’t be your first thought. I can honestly say it never crossed my mind that Maryann was scamming me. However, it did appear as a scam to an acquaintance of mine. We just didn’t compare notes.
I am teachable! Sadly, I will be more suspicious in the future. This greenhouse deal looked way too good to be true, and a few minutes of internet research gave me the answer I needed.
More of the scoop on Maryann
This week, I will be compiling all of the information I have gathered on Maryann and her activities. I learned she had at least two other fake websites. One is Horse Match International. A company whose logo was pirated (but who had no legitimate dealings with her) had this website associated with a business account under her name.
No surprise, she had been very active on Facebook under “Horse Match International.” While researching that website on Facebook, I ran across a “one-star” rating from a man named Lorenzo. I reached out to Lorenzo. Next week, I’ll tell you what she did to him, using yet one more fake website. In the meantime, I implore you to spread the word about Maryann. I will be compiling my documentation and submitting it to a cybercrime agent of the Kansas FBI. The more I can learn, the more successful we can hopefully be in stopping her crimes. (Note: check out the Facebook posts below that are associated with Horse Match International. The lower left one notifies people that the website will be down for two weeks for “maintenance.” Would you like to place any bets as to whether it ever “recovered” from its maintenance phase?)
PLEASE NOTE: There IS a LEGITIMATE Maryann Montour out there with a legitimate business. She has a website and an Etsy page. She, too, is a victim in that her name is now associated with the crook Maryann.