Today on my way home from having lunch with local business wizard Sebastian Manago I stopped into another client's shop to see how things were going for them.
The client was all excited that they had another major sale from their website. The sale was for $1300 worth of product, however the client had requested that she withdraw an extra $600 and send it to her shippers agent (TNS Express Courier) in Jefferson City, Missouri via Western Union Money Transfer.
Immediately alarm bells went off and we discussed the transaction. I informed our client that this had sounded like a scam and happens very frequently. Our client then immediately went and got her paperwork on the situation as she agreed it sounded like a scam from the start however she was more assured it wasn't a scam because the credit card transaction went through, however she did not have a name of the card holder.
The initial email was sent to some Wool Company in the Yukon however our client was Blind CC'ed on the email. Therefore the target was multiple business owners, however the default addressee in the email was not our client. The sender, John Spyke, was using a Free Yahoo Email Address.
The John Spyke sender had made mistakes which implied that he wasn't sure who he was sending the emails as. In some cases, he wrote his name as John and in other cases he wrote it as Mike.
The TNS Representative that was suppose to be contacted had a @Yahoo.com email address, which also sent up some red flags as most businesses don't use free email address providers. It doesn't say much about the business when they are using a free email address provider when they could own their own domain name (@theirbiz.com) for the cost of 3 coffee's a month.
After contacting TNS Express, they informed us that all their representatives use a @TNSGlobal email address and that they have no offices in Jefferson City!
Our client also had their own suspensions as the John Spyke would not give them his contact number or mailing address. Phone calls made to the store were listing a blocked number as a return phone number.
While many people would think that a instance like this would only cost our client $600, it actually goes a bit further then that.
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