Glass scammer stopped in his tracks

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March 31, 2007
By *
A purchase and shipping scam circulating in the US was stopped dead in its tracks when it reached Gary Leis of South Country Glass in Medicine Hat, Alberta.
A purchase and shipping scam circulating in the US was stopped dead in its tracks when it reached Gary Leis of South Country Glass in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

The scam first surfaced last September among reports from glass shops in the southwestern US after a man under false pretenses called several glass shops to order quantities of glass with stolen credit cards and asking that the product be shipped to a destination in Africa. The caller insists the glass shop contact a specific international shipping company with details of the product to be shipped and then the shipping company charges the glass company, through a money order, for the cost. However, this is just a front because the so called freight company is involved with the scam.

“I got a phone call from a guy who wanted to order a large quantity of 30 by 30 inch clear glass. This was kind of a large order for us and I first got suspicious when the price I quoted didn’t phase him,” recalls Leis.

That’s a great price!
“He said it was a great price and charged it to a MasterCard,” says Leis, adding that the caller, claiming to be Mr. Mark Henri, then insisted on packing it in special crating to be shipped to Legon-Ghana. “He wanted us to pay for the cost of shipping and then he would reimburse us. That’s when the warning bells started going off,” says Leis, who then started to play with the scammer at his own game.

“I called him back and said that I found a shipping company that could ship the glass for less. He started to panic,” he says. The point of the scam was to trick the glass company into paying for the freight believing this would be reimbursed but the scammer, who is also behind the fake shipping company, then cashes in and disappears taking the money with him while the credit card company’s insurance covers the charges applied to the stolen credit card.

“We contacted the credit card company and notified them,” says Leis, who then continued to frustrate the scammer by playing along with him. “He was getting greedy and kept trying to order more and more glass,” says Leis, who cannot understand why his company was targetted. “We are just a small little glass shop and we don’t even have a web site. I don’t know how he found us and I haven’t heard of any other glass companies in Canada that have gone through this.” He suspects the scammer targets small companies like his because they are more eager for large orders and do not have the resources of larger companies to do the necessary checks and follow-ups to ensure the legitimacy of the order.

Although South Country Glass did not fall for the scam, Leis warns that other businesses should be cautious because the credit card companies will not reimburse the three percent surcharge applied to the balance of the fraudulent credit card purchase. “We finally told him that we knew it was a scam and we were calling the police,” says Leis. “I’m glad we didn’t fall for this.” -end-

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