Shipping Scam Could Cost Thousands

Wednesday, October 22nd 2008, 6:14 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A Tulsa business wants to warn others about a shipping scam that could cost someone thousands of dollars.

Gilley Electric is a 30 year, reputable company in Tulsa. They buy generators from a company that's been doing some online promotion, so they weren't surprised when two customers overseas wanted generators shipped to them. They were surprised, however, when it came time for the payment process.

Dave Nelson received two emails in two days. One customer wanted a generator shipped to Australia, the other to Guyana. Both wanted to use their own shipping companies, so Dave sent them the weight of the generators and they sent him a price.

The customers wanted him to pay the shipping fees by wire transferring the money and they'd pay him with credit cards.

"They gave me credit card information and last night, I ran the money through the machine for the shipping charges. We have the money, have credit cards, we'll have our money, then had me do two other transactions, because it was over $6,000, one for $3,000 and one for $3,400, all cleared," said Nelson.

The other customer wanted Dave to spread the payment over four credit cards, which is when Dave's boss suggested they call the credit card companies, just to make sure these were authorized users. They were not.

"I mean, four credit cards is a little out of the ordinary, so it had to be identity that had been stolen, that's why I called you, to warn people of Tulsa and elsewhere," said Nelson.

Dave refunded the money to the cards and stopped the deal and is thankful they're not out any money or generators. He's frustrated he gave someone the benefit of the doubt and they turned out to be a crook.

Does it make him mad?

"It does, but, that's the unfortunate reality of the internet, good and bad that comes with it. Just the unfortunate reality of living in the world we live in," said Nelson.

Here are the red flags of warning:

-The email is filled with bad grammar.

-It's someone overseas when you normally work locally.

-They want you to wire transfer money.

-They want you to ship the goods to a name and address other than what's on the credit card.

A simple test is to do just what Nelson did, call the credit card company and ask if the customer is an authorized user.