BBB WARNS FLORISTS OF TTY RELAY SCAM CURRENTLY TARGETING THE INDUSTRY
Thanks to FTD.com for this Warning
BBB got a call from a regional florist who stated that they received a notification from FTD (floral wire service) that different areas of the country were getting scam TTY relay calls using the following scenario or one similar to it:
“A shop will receive a relay phone call for a wedding order for 8 bouquets at $200 each. The caller will be very specific about the size of the arrangements and colors of the flowers. The caller will say that a courier will pick up the flowers and provide a credit card for payment.”
The regional florist told BBB that they, too, received this exact scam call a few times, but that the scammers then moved onto scam email requests such as the one here:
From: John Walker [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, August 30, 2010 3:56 PM
Subject: Flower Arrangements !
This is John Walker and i live in town , I am partially deaf and i have been advised to stay off the phone for a while so i got your email contact from the internet . I understand that you are a florist so i am trying to order some pick-up flower arrangements for my son's wedding . This is a pick up order and would be picked up on the 10th of September 1pm .
I will like to place and order for 4 Centerpieces arrangements and i want to spend $300 on each of the arrangements . They should be in a Vase and all the sizes should be 26" W x 41" H . I want the color Pink and White and I want all of the flowers to look alike . It would be picked up by my Courier agent on the 10th of September 1pm so can i have the total cost plus tax included?
I will be making the payment with my credit card because I am currently in the hospital for an hear operation due to hearing problems , I also want your full assurance that the flowers will be made perfectly and will be ready by 1pm on the 10th of September . I would not be available to come in for the pick up so I have arranged for a courier that will do the pick up with a Big truk when the flowers are ready so I will like you to send me your shop address and phone number so that i can forward it to the Courier agent that will be coming for the pick up of my flowers .
NB: Please send me the total cost of the arrangements and specify the types of credit cards you accept so that i can make the payment once you get me a total .
This scam works as the scammers are using fake credit cards that have been created using ID theft victim info that the scammers have obtained one way or another. So this scam operates on two levels and victimizes two groups at the same time, the business, itself, (as it uses the business as a pawn), and the credit card information gathered from victims of ID Theft. Once the scammers get an unassuming business to take a charge on the “card” they use to purchase, this activates the card, and the scammers go to town maxing out that credit card, sometimes in a manner of minutes.
The best defense for businesses in these instances is to be hyper-vigilant about training staff how to detect potential scam relay calls and emails via the red flags they raise. All businesses get orders via email and phone. The trick is to detect a potential scam before it affects your business and bottom line.
Tips to Protect Your Business from Credit Card Fraud
1. Get all the information related to the credit card. Have the caller provide the name – exactly how it appears on the card – along with the card number, verification number, and expiration date. Also, ask for the complete name and address associated with the account holder.
2. Be wary of orders that use different "bill to" and "ship to" addresses. This could be a sign of fraudulent use.
3. Watch for unusually large next-day delivery orders. Orders larger than the typical size of orders at your business should raise a red flag, as should orders requesting next-day delivery. Also, pay careful attention when shipping internationally, especially to developing nations.
4. Do everything possible to validate the order prior to shipping. It may be beneficial to have the customer fax copies of both sides of the credit card. It may also be helpful to request a copy of his or her identification.
5. Take immediate steps to reduce damage if fraud is discovered. First, call the police to report the crime. Then call the cardholder’s issuing bank.
6. Most importantly, trust your instincts. If the caller does not seem completely confident about the information he or she is supplying, or you do not feel comfortable sending merchandise, don’t do it. It might be best to lose an order than to risk giving away merchandise for free.
TO REPORT THIS FRAUD
Businesses can report the attempt of the use of fake cards by contacting the card merchant directly to report the attempted use of the card, sharing pertinent info. Also, if the fraud got through against your business, report this type of fraud by filing a police report with your local authorities. Businesses can also file formal complaints with the FBI’s Internet Complaint Center (if the fraud was committed using the Internet ie. email) at: www.ic3.gov