Home
Business-Wise
Kate's Collage
"Vinny Da Vendor"
"Benny Da Buyer"
Kizer & Bender
Memory, Paper & Stamps
Category Reports
Designing Perspectives
Scene & Heard


Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com


 


Challenges, problems, and triumphs -- from a manufacturer's perspective.

Printer Version

How a Vendor Scammed a Scammer

A sharp eye, a sense of humor Ė and be wary.

by Name Withheld (Aug. 18, 2008)

(Note: In the previous issue CLN published a report of an attempted scam against a small company, Art Declassified. To read the original article, click on the title, "How a Small Vendor Was Almost Scammed," in the right-hand column.)

That particular scam has become very prevalent. Almost always it is from "James" in Australia wanting orders for "Jamesí Country Store" (insert your favorite name in place of James). I have received numerous versions, but they are all "form" emails. I consider myself pretty savvy about these things, since I have been a computer consultant and teacher, and I can spot scams and phishing expeditions a mile away. However, the simplicity of the "troll" totally bypassed my radar, and I responded. As my staff caught wind of it, they wanted to drop "James," but I decided to have a little fun and scam the scammer.

The email chain is a hoot, as I purposely played my pigeon, and he was totally clueless (and largely illiterate). I created an alter ego to get my office off the hook, and my alter ego, Russell A Yokell (R.A. Yokell), carried on a long correspondence with the scammer. (If you want a good laugh, Iíll forward you the correspondence. If you enjoy a good malapropism, my office was rolling on the floor reading every email.) I actually was able to get "James" to send me money for Russellís favorite charity, the poor Hopeless Children Fundation (sic). By the way, the Hopeless Children are a charity effort of the Holy Order of Perpetual Agita.

In all seriousness, itís a variation on the Nigerian 419 Scam. It goes like this:

1. Email wanting to place an order for your products for a (generic) store in Australia. No identification of which products, etc Ė just a generic "want to buy."

2. Offer to pay whatever the price (no negotiation, no selection), and an add-on additional fee for their agent who will collect the product. The tipoff was that we offer our products in U.S. and Australian versions, and James (who was buying for his Australian store) selected the U.S. version

3. Offer to pay by Western Union, pay additional funds for his agent, and then have you remit the additional to the agent who picks up the product.

After I "played" my pigeon for a bit, I received a credit card number. The credit card was legit, and once owned by a legitimate person, but now had been reported stolen. Played "James" a bit longer and was sent a second credit card number. Ditto.

OK, no more credit cards Ė certified funds only. I received a money order by FedEx, but was an obvious forgery (amazing what you can print on a color inkjet these days), made out from a legitimate person in Ohio. (I traced her, and sheís real). Basically, these scammers have no end of stolen credit cards, stolen identities, etc.

I actually offered to turn the matter over to the police, but it was difficult to decide who was the proper authority to take on the case. Thatís why they continue; they skirt between the laws. (Note: Because this type of case is interstate fraud, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is probably the agency to call.)

This was one of the first that I encountered. Since then, I receive several a week, all following a similar pattern. Most want me to tell them who I am (please send me your website, etc). If they didnít know who we were, why are they contacting us? This spring I started noticing the scam has moved beyond Australia, and now the requests appear to come in from "customers" all over the world.

Please keep my identity anonymous; Iíd rather not meet "James" anytime soon.

(Note: The author added, "There is actually a group out there actively scamming the scammers. Some of the results are quite hilarious. Visit the Trophy Room at http://www.419eater.com.")

xxx

 

horizontal rule

horizontal rule



   
   

Vinny's Recent Columns...
ADVICE ON EXPORTING TO THE UK AND EUROPE; An interview with the former CEO of HobbyCraft.

THE HISTORY OF WALNUT HOLLOW; One of the genuine pioneers of the modern craft industry.

HOW MICHIGAN SCRAPBOOKER WAS LAUNCHED; Substantial growth in 3+ years.

THE HISTORY OF PLAID ENTERPRISES, INC.; It's come a long way in 36 years.

"FLASH" SALES COME TO THE INDUSTRY; Q. & A. about the newest way to introduce new products or dispose of overstocks.

SITTING ON A BULLS EYE; What to do if competitors want your market share, or customers want to cut costs.

IS YOUR COMPANY ON THE VERGE OF BANKRUPTCY? 5 SURVIVAL TIPS; Time for a reality check.

FIVE COMMON AFFLICTIONS OF SALES TEAMS; The result: Bad morale and lower sales.

BEYOND MARKET MULTIPLES: INCREASING THE VALUE OF YOUR COMPANY BEFORE THE SALE; How to create a company with greater appeal to buyers.

CHA SHOW NEW PRODUCT REPORT; Hundreds (thousands?) of products, many from new exhibitors.

THE SOLUTION TO MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS; A sure fire way to inspire them to quilt.

ATTRACTING YOUNGER CUSTOMERS; Yes, we aren't our mothers' knitters.

NEW PRODUCTS TO BE UNVEILED AT THE CHAS SHOW; Two parts: new exhibitors and veterans.

WHAT SCRAPPERS ARE SAYING ABOUT MANUFACTURERS AND PUBLISHERS; Scrapbook Updates' readers analyze the problems.

ANALYZING THE CHA ATTITUDE & USAGE STUDY; The rationale and the science behind the number.

REST IN PEACE: JEAN HOWARD BARR; JHB International's Founder and CEO.

POSITIVE NEWS ABOUT THE INDUSTRY; What they want/need from the industry.

COMMENTS FROM INDIE CRAFTERS; What they want/need from the industry.

UNDERSTANDING INDIE CRAFTERS (BY AN INDIE CRAFTER); What they want, what they buy, and how to reach them.

CHA EVENTS FOR MANUFACTURERS; How to get more out of a trade show besides selling your products.

CREATIVE INDUSTRY TURNS TO EDUCATION TO BEAT RECESSION; Simple solutions for vendors and retailers to create online video classes.

WHAT HAPPENED TO CREATIVE MEMORIES? Not adjusting to the times.

COMPLAINING ABOUT SHORT-SHIPMENT PENALTIES; Who pays retail? The vendor?

HOW A VENDOR SCAMMED A SCAMMER; A sharp eye, a sense of humor - and be wary.

HOW A SMALL VENDOR WAS ALMOST SCAMMED; A savvy, suspicious mind averted a serious financial loss.

COMPANY FOR SALE; The owner is retiring.

EXHIBITORS: YOU'RE WASTING YOUR MONEY! Check your customer list before pre-show mailings.

PLAID CONSERVES TO PRESERVE; Simple changes can mean big savings.

SUGGESTIONS FOR THE CHA SHOW; How to attract more buyers and exhibitors.

CHANGES AT A.C. MOORE; They may not be what they seem.

THE TERRI O SHOW IS COMING; Building industry sales by empowering consumers' creativity.

SOME THOUGHTS ON BANKRUPTCY; It's unfair, but...

BOTTLES OF HOPE; A polymer clay grassroots movement.

SEWING SMILES FOR KIDS; Pillowcases and quilts for kids in hospitals.

HELPING THE WORLD IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE; Mrs. Grossman's, C&T Publishing, and Tara Materials.

HELP PEOPLE -- AND THE WORLD; How one company contributes to charities and to Mother Nature.

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS AND HELPING THE WORLD; Plaid employees' long list of charitable activities.

A SAVVY WAY TO INTRODUCE A NEW LINE; Put it in the hands of consumers and teachers.

CHA AND PMA: SHOULD IT BE EITHER/OR? Why not take the best of both worlds?

A VENDOR'S RESPONSE TO THE PROVO/CRICUT ISSUEE; It's not easy to take sides.

RESPONSES TO CLN'S CODE OF ETHICS...from chain store execs, vendors, and reps.

PROVO RESPONDS TO CRICUT CRITICS; Unexpected demand caused problems.

ADVICE TO VENDORS; Common sense, please!

HOW TO HAVE A GREAT TRADE SHOW; It takes more than great products.

KEY CHALLENGES/OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE CRAFT INDUSTRY IN 2006; Office supply, private label, and direct import.

IS MIKE DUPEY RIGHT? The industry's retail pioneer's criticism of chain stores elicits strong reactions.

RETAILERS: CREATE A "PLACE," NOT A STORE; Customers return if they feel a sense of community.

"HOW AND WHY WE CHANGED OUR BUSINESS"; Sometimes necessity forces gutsy businesses into new, scary areas.

WHY INDEPENDENTS ARE DECLINING AND THE INDUSTRY IS SOFT; We can't improve the situation until we understand the causes.

HOW TO MAKE THE SCRAPBOOK PIE LARGER; "Keep it simple and non-threatening."

INDEPENDENTS: SUPPORT VENDORS WHO SUPPORT YOU; "Support goes both ways. It is a relationship of trust and consistency."

WHAT MAKES A GREAT SALES REP? Colleagues and customers remember the late Bob Watikins.

TRADE SHOW PRESS POINTERS; Maximize your publicity for a minimal cost.

HOW CAN A SCRAPBOOK START-UP SUCCEED? The answer may be a "Group" away.

DO TRADE SHOWS REFLECT THE STATE OF THE INDUSTRY? If we're like other industries, trade shows may be in trouble.

DO TRADE SHOWS REFLECT THE STATE OF THE INDUSTRY? And if so, are we in trouble?

THE STATE OF THE FLORAL MARKET; A blunt interview with Aldik's Larry Gold.

YOU WANT JUNK? YOU GOT IT; Pricing pressures are ruining good categories.

PLANNING THE PERFECT TRADE SHOW; Ten tips for CHA Winter Show exhibitors.

MORE VENDORS RESPOND...; A dialog between vendors and a savvy but unhappy independent.

VENDORS RESPOND TO INDEPENDENT'S PLIGHT; Why vendors have minimums and what retailers can do about it.

RETAIL, E-TAIL, AND "UNFAIR COMPETITION"; Expensive advertising, false promises, and little education.

THE TRIALS OF A SMALL COMPANY, PT. II; Expensive advertising, false promises, and little education.

THE TRIALS OF A SMALL COMPANY; Talent, drive, and product -- but no money.

GETTING READY FOR A TRADE SHOW; Go MAD at HIA.

THE THREE L's: YOU CAN'T SELL WITHOUT THEM; How to look, listen, and learn.

IT WASN'T ALWAYS THIS WAY...; but why does that matter?

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO STRAWBERRY?; Does every new product have to be cheap?