Protect Yourself

There’s a discussion on another forum concerning a number of current scams against retailers.  They’re all similar with the intent of getting free merchandise from unsuspecting merchants.  In general, the scam artist contacts a dealer, either by phone or email, asking for quantity pricing on several high-end products, usually to be used in their business.

The scammer may actually contact the dealer several times, giving the impression that he or she is seriously considering the pricing or that there might be other dealers competing for the sale.  (S)he may even order a "sample" using a good credit card to gain the dealer’s confidence.   Finally, the thief "agrees" to the purchase, either by credit card or check.  The credit card number will turn out to be either bogus or stolen or the check will bounce and the dealer will be out the cost of several pieces of high-end merchandise.

This scam isn’t new.  The only thing that’s new is the method of communication and payment.  I remember may years ago, when Tacony Corporation was in the television business and I was the salesman, we were approached by someone who wanted to buy a quantity of TV sets for a new motel.  He wanted to pay by check.  When I told him it would have to be a cashier’s check I never heard from him again.  Sadly, he was able to get a local dealer to ship him the TV’s. 

My former boss taught me a very valuable lesson many years ago.  He said that whenever a sale seemed too easy, ask the question "How did we get so lucky?"  Big sales don’t normally just fall into our laps.  If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t. 

If someone approaches you to buy an unusually large quantity of merchandise, protect yourself.  Don’t take checks or credit cards from strangers without properly identifying them.  Ask for certified funds or cash.  Be suspicious.  If someone identifies himself as "Mr. Smith" but has a thick foreign accent, that should raise a red flag.  If they identify themselves as a minister, as many do, that’s another red flag.   If they’re in a big hurry to make the purchase, that’s another one.  If you ask them to fax you a copy of their credit card and their driver’s license and they tell you that their fax machine is broken…….you get the idea.

You certainly don’t want to miss a big sale, but you work too hard for your money to let a con artist take it from you.

In a previous post, I listed a number of good sources for information on frauds and scams.  If you missed it, here’s a link.

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