What is the scam here?

My business got a call today from someone wanting to purchase something. So far, so good. The call came through a relay service that helps deaf people make phone calls. Again, no big deal.

But the caller wants to buy 300 of the item, which I sell for around $35 a piece. This is where we went :confused:. The caller could have a legitimate need for 300 widgets, however he could easily purchase the item wholesale and save a ton of money (my profit) by doing so.

Further, he was in a hurry to complete his transaction via a credit card. He wanted directions to my business so he could send a truck for pickup. Again, these widgets are available wholesale, and the wholesaler would include delivery to his door. These widgets are not rare, their sale is in no way controlled.

My receptionist asked for his number so she could call him back. He was unhappy about this, but gave an email address. I Googled the email addy and got nuthin.

So. . .where is the scam?

Seriously…I got EXACTLY the same thing a few months back.

My guess is that at some point (if it was like my scam) he would say “Oh, the truck is going to cost me $900, but they don’t take credit cards, could you add on $900 and give the guy a check when he get’s there”

Either way, you’re going to be out the widgets (if he ever picks them up) and the money (since someone is going to do a charge back) and the extra money if he convinces you to charge above and beyond the amount of the widgets and give him cash back.

I think it’s sort of an updated version of the “cashiers check written for too much” scam.

Cool! Thanks! I’m gonna email him and play around a bit. :wink:

Go nuts, but personally (as you can see in my thread), I would do everything I could to make sure he didn’t give me any credit card info just so that if something ever does happen with that credit card number nothing ever gets traced back to you. (“Yeah, he emailed me, but I declined the sale when I felt it was a scam and I never got any credit card info”)

My guess is that the next thing that’ll happen is that he’ll tell you that the freight truck is going to cost money and he’s going to ask you to charge it to the CC and pay them directly.

Yep, I’m just going to string him along. Otherwise I will have to do real work here. :wink:

I just needed 300 of those widgets in a hurry, and your place was close by, and I didn’t really care about the price. But since your being such a pain, I’ll just buy them from someone else.

Keep us posted, kayaker! Otherwise I will have to go to sleep over here! (it’s 1:30am in Tokyo)

I thought about that scenario for a second but it was all too strange. First off, as in the OP’s situation, my product could be bought locally pretty much anywhere, there’s not much point in paying $1200 dollars in freight to send it across the country* and then when I said no he offered me an additional $200 for the trouble of making the payment to his trucker…yeah, that’s a scam.
*actually a lot of people from all over the country do buy my hardly-unique products and ship them all over the country, but random customers spending a couple dollars are one thing. Someone spending thousands of dollars for an ‘event’ wouldn’t be sourcing out his perishable gift baskets this way. That’s something you’d get from a local company and have delivered that day…probably for free.

Scam him back.

WooHoo! I keep a couple Hotmail accounts just for this kind of thing. Got an almost immediate reply from Eric Bill, in which he is eager to do bidness!

It could be a stolen credit card, though. That would just hurt the victims even more.

Well, you wouldn’t be scamming him, you’d be scamming the person who actually owns the credit card, who might not even not that it’s been stolen yet…maybe it’s yours…

Sounds to me like it’s a stolen credit card (or number) that he’s trying to milk for all he can before it gets cancelled. Hence wanting to complete the transaction quickly and send someone other than himself to pick them up. (Of course, it would be him, but he’s posing as the rightful cardholder on the phone.)

If he sells 300 of your $35 widgets on the street or eBay for $10, that’s a pretty good haul.

Yeah, that occurred to me right after I posted it. :smack:

Yabbut if kayaker could get the CC number, then the CC company could be informed as to the person who stole it. Or am I being naive?

I emailed him a total. I purposely doubled the cost per item, yet he is still saying it sounds like a good deal! Wish I had more customers like him. Turns out Eric Bill is battling cancer.

Being approached with this sort of scam is fairly common in the auto repair business. Typically the car is hundreds (maybe a thousand or more) miles away, needs brake work or a transmission repair, and the caller wants it towed to YOUR shop because…well, I don’t think they ever have a plausible reason. And of course the whole premise is absolutely ludicrous. I ALMOST think a shop owner deserves to be hosed if he really thinks someone is going to tow a car that far to deal with someone he doesn’t know from Adam.

I gather they use TDD to give an air of legitimacy, and maybe to prevent the victim from hearing the scammer’s clearly foreign (Nigerian, most likely) accent. From post #4 in the thread Joey P linked: After the guy hung up when I said I had no way to do what he wanted the operator actually said, “Ma’am, that was a scam. Federal law says we have to put all calls through.” The operators are legally obliged to relay the conversation but not intrude or add anything (like a scam warning) during the conversation.

I wouldn’t worry about taking the credit card number. That’s what businesses normally do in good faith. Report it to the CC company and it may do some good in sparing the card owner (victim) some trouble.

I doubt the scammer would be identified, and even if he were he’s probably overseas and can’t be brought to justice. However, it could be helpful if the card had not yet been reported as stolen.

My receptionist says that the extra time that a TDD call takes for her to handle made her want to complete things quicker.

Just got another email. Eric wants to tip me!