Aug 23, 2010

Small Business - A Word to the Wise

In the past few months I've seen some businesses, that I do business with, get burned by internet/email scams for large wholesale orders.  That sucks!  They not only lose out on inventory, but they lose money & their precious time too. 

I thought I would write up a quick post to help you distinguish one of these scams...And NOTE - I've been burned and had to learn the hard way too. 

This email is straight out of my inbox..

"Hello sales,
I will love to purchase from you but before I can do that I will like to know whether you can ship product's to Asia (Korea) and to know more about your market and to also know your mode of payment because I will be making payment with my credit card, so please i will be expecting to hear from you soon for me to place my order.  AND MY ADDRESS IS:

103-103 Yangwoo Apt,
323 Sosadong Sosaku Buncheon City

Note: I need your product website


Let's break this baby down:

1) Aside from the giant run-on sentence (if you can look past it), the fact that they can only make payment via credit card should clue you in - they are frauds.  Don't EVER do this!  What many new business owners don't know is that you are not protected from international fraud if and when the chargeback occurs.  People, they are using stolen credit cards.  A lot of times they will want to make 2 separate payments with 2 different credit card numbers.  Even Paypal payments can be sketchy.

2) The "Note" at the bottom should also give you a major smack in the noggin that they are sending these blanket emails to any email address they can get their hands on and have no idea what your products are.  They don't care what your products are.  They want your goodies and they want to use stolen credit card numbers to get it.  If you end up having a conversation with them and get an order, they will politely ask that you ship it quickly (because it will take about 2-3 weeks for the actual credit card holder to find out that their info has been stolen and report it to their bank).  By then they will have your product and you will be out everything.  The money will be automatically retrieved from your bank account and will NOT be returned to you.  Even if you prove you shipped the product - YOU LOSE!

Things you can do to verify if/if not a company is legit -

Have the "company" fill out a new vendor application.  Ask for their information up front and in return let them know that they must pay you with a wire transfer upon order placement.  Yes, you do have to give out your bank account information (you can get your wire transfer information from your bank), but they cannot withdraw money from your account, only transfer money into it.  Make sure this money is sitting in your account BEFORE you begin pulling or creating their order. Don't waste your time. This step should deter anyone who is not legit.

I know the prospect of receiving really large orders is exciting (especially in this economy)!  There are plenty of international businesses that are wanting your fabulous product.  These scams have ruined it for them.  Protect yourself.  Say upfront what you need to get moving on the order (and stand by it!).  If they don't want to follow your policies - you don't want to do business with them. 

Remember, you are building a relationship and you are NOT desperate (they can totally smell it).  Good luck!

Have you been scammed before?  Share the story here and spread awareness.


Lisa Hill said...

great post! teaches us to be on the look out!

FlyfishingJosie said...

Thanks for a "heads up" and the details to really help, Jenny. You are a true "giver" to the world.

bari said...

I get those emails at LEAST once a week. And never answer. Glad you are spreading the word!

Garry said...

Thank you for spreading the word. I am presently being scammed by:
Customer ID number TW36HFJ76T
Wun Chao
8-10 Palazio Himonya Bldg. 1F,
2-chome Minami, Meguro-ku,
Tokyo 152-0013,
Have paid $5000 dollars to his freight forwarder He has doubled his order and expecting me to pay more for additional freight. We are going to have to return the money paid for the order to his numerous credit cards and say goodbye to the $5000. I have reported it to and Serious fraud office in the hope that someone cares enough to do something
Thank you Garry

MOMOKO said...

my friend fell into this thing, and he already received over $41,000. I tried to make him understand that this is a fraud called "chargeback fraud," but he failed to understand my point and continue to believe that the money will stick. I really think this is a common scheme to pay with credit cards with intentions of chargeback later on.

I also received emails from the same person "tom chang" with almost same message as your's, but I ignored it for the same reasons you mentioned here.

Now he is so happy that he got $41000 and he is ready to spend it on dental care for his son and himself and he is ready to move out of the current place and he has so many "plans" on and on and on.... and he totally fails to understand that something is wrong.

MOMOKO said...

This things now has a new name, "tom chang" but interestingly the "customer id" (TW36HFJ76T) is same as the one mentioned here.

Anonymous said...

Also be on the lookout for Billy Moore, at the same address, asking to order products