A reader: My husband received a strange phone call today. We have a printing company here locally. The caller wanted to order 5,000 screen-printed shirts. The caller supplied us with contact and credit card information and said he would pick up the order as soon as it was ready.
He was in a hurry to get the shirts. He also said that if this order went well, he would send us more business. He wanted the shirts in just a few days. We were delighted to fill the order.
But when I tried to contact him, the contact information no longer was valid and the name on the credit card didn’t match the name on the card account. We have not heard anything else from him. We are stuck for the job, which is useless to anyone else. What can we do?
Action Line: I’m afraid you were hit by a scammer who was most likely using a stolen credit card. We’ve had these types of scams in our area where the scammer even used the name of “Reverend” in front of the bogus name just to add credibility.
Don’t take the bait. Get as much contact information as you possibly can. Require a deposit up front to help cover your costs. If it is a RUSH order and you do not have time to make sure the credit card is good, you can always ask for cash.
Actually, although I know it doesn’t seem like much consolation, you got off without being stung by the second version of this scam.
Many printers have received similar orders but, after printing the order, they then receive a second request to ship the order to a foreign country using a specific express company. Naturally that company requires payment up front, so the printer is asked to pay the shipping charges and add them to the total cost of the printing order, which is charged to a credit card that turns out to be fraudulent.
The other type of scam that seems to fall in line with this type of scenario is where they send you a check for the order but it is more than the order costs. They then want you to send the difference of the overpayment. Then the victim is out the money for the order and the money sent back for the “overpayment” and any bank charges that may apply.
If you think you may be the intended victim of a scam or you have been the victim, call your BBB for immediate assistance. As always, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 2600 W. Shaw Lane, Fresno, CA 93711 or email@example.com.