Friday, September 20

how an innocent piano teacher (me) almost got scammed

wow. I feel like I just dodged a really large bullet. 

This is the story of how I almost got scammed.
It all started this week when I got an email from a lady named Jenny saying (in broken english) that her daughter was coming to stay in the area for 4 weeks. She wanted to keep her daughter busy by having her take piano lessons twice each week for an hour each lesson.
I immediately thought, "awesome! that's some good money right there, even if it is only 4 weeks."

We emailed back and forth and after a few emails I started to notice that she wasn't answering any of my questions:
where are you from?, how long will your daughter be here?, etc.
I still didn't think much of it, until she said: My agent will be mailing you a check today with the total amount for the lessons +the piano books+ my daughter's travel expenses (lodging, airfare, etc.) + $50 extra for your efforts. You will cash the check and then my daughter will pick up the extra money from you.
**red flags**
Why in the world would I need to be in charge of passing on extra money for your daughter's "traveling expenses"?

So I emailed her back and said I didn't feel comfortable with receiving extra money and that I just wanted the payment for the lessons.
She responded with: My agent sent the check in the mail. Please notify me when you receive it and cash the check. My daughter will come to the lessons and you can give her the money. blah blah blah.
She basically disregarded everything I had just emailed her.

So I emailed her this: 
I'm sorry, but I will NOT ACCEPT EXTRA FUNDS TO GIVE TO YOUR DAUGHTER. Since you aren't answering any of my questions, I don't think this is going to work out. When I receive the check, I will destroy it. Your unwillingness to respond to my questions is not compliant with my policies as a teacher and I will not be teaching your daughter. Thank you for your understanding. 


And she hasn't responded since.
(I'm pretty sure if it was legit, the person would've emailed me back and said okay we will just pay you for the lessons.)

So i have been investigating the situation and I googled "scam where you get sent a check" and all sorts of articles popped up, all reminding me of her emails and the wording and what she wanted me to do. The reason why I didn't think anything of it in the beginning was because she would be sending me money and it was hard for me to imagine how it could turn into a bad situation or a scam. It's not like I would be wiring money or sending money to someone.
BUT in an article online I read, it says 
"You don’t have to wait long to use the money, but that doesn’t mean the check is good. Under federal law, banks have to make the funds you deposit available quickly–usually within one to five days, depending on the type of check. But just because you can withdraw the money doesn’t mean the check is good, even if it’s a cashier’s check. It can take weeks for the forgery to be discovered and the check to bounce.
"You are responsible for the checks you deposit. When a check bounces, the bank deducts the amount that was originally credited to your account. If there isn’t enough to cover it, the bank may be able to take money from other accounts you have at that institution, or sue you to recover the funds. In some cases, law enforcement authorities could bring charges against the victims because it may look like they were involved in the scam and knew the check was counterfeit."

So if I would've cashed a check from this lady and some girl (disguised as a piano student) or her "guardian" came to pick up the money for her "travel expenses", if it turned out to be a fake check I would have to come up with the money for the bank. 

Holy moly. That was a close call.

Wednesday, September 18

today's faves

1. going with a friend to an awesome zumba class and actually being able to follow along.
2. the fact that tomorrow's weather is supposed to be in the 60's
3. the two naps that I took today. 
4. my crankiest piano student only being 50% cranky this afternoon.
5. discovering "simply made limeade". 
6. Devin passing the first five weeks of anatomy! (this ain't no undergrad degree people...passing tests is like winning the lottery.)
7. my new favorite candle from target: Winter Woods. I'm so ready for fall and winter.
8. my car starting. --i had to get a new battery this week and now it starts with such pizzazz.
9. the app: million second quiz. Download it now. It's really fun.
10. and meeting some new friends for dinner tonight.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 17

denver, you've done it again.

a few weeks ago I was watching Diners Drive in's and Dives on the Food Network and they happened to be at the Highland Tavern here in Denver. I immediately fell in love with this place when Guy Fieri tried the tater tots and said they were the best he's ever had and my mouth was watering when they talked about the 15 day brined pastrami sandwich. I showed Devin some clips from the episode and we decided we needed to try it ASAP.

So last week we went! and it was incredible and everything I hoped it would be. 
It's super cozy inside and super busy, even though we went on a Wednesday.
The menu is incredible and I wanted to try everything on it. We definitely have to go back to try the dr. pepper ribs. yummmm!!!

Devin took a bite of the tater tots and immediately had the biggest smile on his face. They're like little balls of heaven.

We both ordered the Pastrami Sandwich (aka the Bombshell) and it was to die for. Pastrami...sauce...a fried egg...coleslaw...all on toasted bread. yum!
I ordered the sweet potato fries, which were also heavenly. and Devin let me have 2 of his tater tots. I'm so lucky to be married to someone who will share their food with me.
I also ordered a side salad with an Apple Vinaigrette and even that was delicious.

Basically this place rocked! and Denver has the best food ever!

Monday, September 16

Denver flooding

Holy moly!
What a week it has been here in Denver. 
If you haven't been watching the news, Denver and it's surrounding cities have been pounded with a ton of rain and flooding. 19,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged this week. 

We are lucky to live in a new neighborhood that is built on the old airport - so it has excellent drainage, and is basically flat so the only areas that were flooded in our neighborhood were the parks. 

This is a picture I took from inside the Stapleton Rec Center, which looks out over a park. None of that is supposed to be water, mind you.

Aurora (a few streets over from where we live) was hit pretty hard and they ended up closing all of the schools, including the medical school. That alone was shocking because the med school doesn't even close during huge snowstorms.

This is a picture that one of our friends took of the flooding in Aurora. I can't believe that we live so close to this and yet didn't have any flooding/damage.

This is at the medical school where the white coat ceremony was held a month ago. Totally full of water. Some of Devin's friends from his class put up pictures on facebook of them playing in it. It was basically above their knees.

And here are some pictures from harder hit areas. It is unbelievable.

One of Devin's classmates was visiting her parents on Wednesday night up in Estes Park when the worst of the storms rolled in. Estes Park basically became an island after all the roads were washed out. She was stranded for 3 days and ended up hiking down to Boulder and hitch hiking to Denver, which took about 8 hours. (dedicated student)

We are so grateful that we have remained unscathed (besides a bit of leaking upstairs) and are praying for those who lost their homes or loved ones. 

Monday, September 9

Sean's farewell

The flight to Salt Lake was sooooooooooooo pretty! It was totally clear and I looked out the window the entire flight- which was a first for me. We flew over the Colorado ski resorts and I could pick out each one.  (I also was a rebel and took pictures the whole time with my phone.)
The flight attendant felt really bad for Devin because he looked so tired and she told him he needs more sleep. I guess a few weeks of med school will do that to you. Poor guy.
Look how pretty the clouds were!

So the purpose of this trip was to say goodbye to Sean-er doo! He had his farewell on sunday and is serving a mission in Dallas, Texas. We're so proud of him, but gee whiz it's hard to say goodbye.

definitely should have taken more pictures... 
This is after church. 

He did such an amazing job speaking and he even did a musical number. I'm not just talking about any musical number.. he arranged his own version of Homeward Bound and had his piano teacher, Craig Kaelin play the organ, a lady in the ward play the flute, a family friend Mark Lindsay sing, and Sean played the piano. It was incredible!!

Here is the recording of it. Not the best quality ever since it's from devin's iphone. But I think it's awesome and wanted to share.

Sean is so popular that Senator Orrin Hatch was in attendance (umm he's the one with the white hair with his back turned to the camera). This is my creeper photo from the car. (and my cute mom)

Just look at his hat. Isn't he the cutest little brother?

And Devin and Sean. It's crazy that both of Devin's brothers are on missions right now. It's sure going to be quiet!
But i'm so proud of them!

We love you Elder Scott!!

Wednesday, September 4

surprise sister!

2 weekends ago I flew to Salt Lake to surprise my sister at her baby shower!

My mom picked me up at the airport and our first stop was Cafe Rio. I was in heaven.

Then we stopped by my dad's office to say hello and to hear about his campaign :) What a guy.

My mom and I ran some errands and then picked up the cake for the shower at my grandma's.
There was a ton of traffic and we were getting way stressed that we wouldn't get to the shower before ashley. As soon as we pulled into the driveway, I jumped out and ran inside right as Ash was driving down the street. My mom grabbed the giant box from the car (for me to hide in) and ran inside way fast. Ash was way confused as to why my mom was carrying such a large box and running inside. I hurried and jumped in the box (pulling a muscle in the process) seconds before she walked in the door.
She said hi to everyone... went into the bathroom and fixed her makeup... etc. Meanwhile I'm overheating in the box...  taking pictures of myself....and trying make my leg stop cramping.

 Ashley finally came into the room and my mom said that there was a gift she needed to open first. Ash let out the biggest scream as she was opening it. We had no idea it would be such a scary experience for her.

Such a fun shower with our cousins, aunts, and grandmas!

Ashley got a lot of amazing gifts! My mom found our favorite bedtime book from growing up: Hush Hush It's Sleepytime. So many memories :)

The rest of the weekend was spent shopping and eating. I'm so glad that Brad let Ashley stay in Salt Lake the whole weekend to play with me!

Ashley took this picture while we were shopping for shoes at DSW. i look totally miserable.

Another highlight was Saturday night when we couldn't decide where to go to dinner. So we went to Zupa's and then an hour later we picked up chinese food. Having two dinners is always a good idea!

Next up: Sean's farewell