Print Quotation Scam - How it Works
Print Quotation Scam
1. You receive an e-mail job quotation request.
2. You respond with a quotation, or simply seek more information from them. Contact is established and artwork will be supplied. (See sample to left)
3. Your quote will be accepted, typically unconditionally. Notice in our case below, the job was awarded without a quote even being provided.
4. Contact details including name, address and phone number will be provided, as well as a possible credit card for verification, or charge of the entire order.
5. Having established a, “Trusted relationship" with you, a request will soon follow for you to transfer “Only” the freight costs to a shipper in Africa (or some other nation) via currency transfer. You will be told to simply include this shipping charge on your invoice upon completion of the job.
The request may be justified in many innovative ways designed to convince you that it is warranted. Often it is said that they have their trusted shipping company they use, however, they will need to pay them in advance to pick up the order at your facility. The freight costs will generally be quoted around $10,000.
6. (If) you pay this upfront shipping cost for them to their “Trusted shipper” - The scam is complete.
Don't Get How it Works?
The scammer is going to place an order with you, send you a check (or credit card) to pay for the product, plus the shipping costs. If they use a credit card for payment, they will tell you to charge the additional monies to cover the, "shipping costs" for the shipper of their choosing. Basically, they are going to pay you in full with a check or credit card, and then have you pay their shipper directly from those funds.
If it is paid with a check, it will be from a legitimate company, account, etc., as this is often where some of the global stolen identity ends up. If they use a credit card, the card number will be valid. They often test stolen credit cards with very small charges to see if the account is active - frequently in the $.50 - $5.00 range believing the actually owner may not notice these insignificant charges on their statement.
Once you receive the fraudulent payment from the scammer for the fake order, you will then be requested to send money “immediately” via Western Union, (or other wire transfer) to “Their very trusted shipper” for the "shipping charges".
Again, they are paying you in full, then you are supposed to take the shipping portion of the funds and wire it to their shipper for them - the shipper is actually the scammer!
This will be explained, such that, they need to arrange to get the product picked up from you, but their shipper requires money up front because it's international shipping. They will INSIST you use their shipping company. (Of course they would, they are the fake shipper)
Let's give an example - The scammer pays you with a check (or credit card) for the invoice price of the product, plus shipping. Lets say it's a $25,000 print job. The shipping portion, they have now “negotiated” with their "Very Trusted" shipper, is $5,000.
So the check they send you will be for $30,000. (product + shipping) They will then say, please pay our shipper immediately the $5,000 from these funds to pay their "Very Trusted" shipper.
This of course, must be wired via Western Union quickly to arrange for their shipper to pick up the product at your facility. The reason they need the shipping money, “immediately, is so that money is transferred before the check hits the bank and bounces, otherwise the scam would be busted. In theory however, a 30k check may actually clear, depending on the balance in the victim company’s checking account.
So, our innocent vendor deposits the check, (or runs the credit card) then quickly sends $5,000 to the "Very Trusted" shipper via Western Union in hopes they will soon come and get the product off his dock.
You will be heavily pressured not to wait for funds to clear if a check is sent.
Of course, if they paid by check, the check will most likely bounce. (or be contested when the checking accounts owner discovers the fraudulent charge) If they used a credit card, the charges will be disputed by the account owner upon discovery, and the charges will be charged back to you!
You will then get hit with the initial costs, plus bank fees, etc., meanwhile, the real money you sent from your bank account via Western Union to pay their "Very Trusted Shipper" is now gone.
Sadly, you will never recover the Western Union money you sent, because sending it is the same as sending cash. Unfortunately, you are also out whatever you spent in producing the fraudulent order.
The scam is now complete. You have a pile of merchandise sitting on your dock that will never be picked up, and the scammer has pocketed whatever you sent via Western Union for shipping costs.
(You can read the following Craigslist example, as a computer guy plays with a scammer, leading the scammer to become very insistent and even angry. Craigslist Computer Services Scam. It's the same scam in a different form.)
I've Been Ripped Off...What Should I Do Now? Who Do I Contact?
If you want to report an internet scam, or are a victim of an internet scam, we suggest you contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) to report the incident.
"The IC3 was established as a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) to serve as a means to receive Internet related criminal complaints, and to further research, develop, and refer the criminal complaints to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement and/or regulatory agencies for any investigation they deem to be appropriate." - About IC3
That will give you a place to begin, as local police are not likely to be of much help with scams that originate overseas.
How to Report Internet Crime & Fraud
Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that you are ever going to see any monies recovered from this scam. If you were a victim, the printed materials are simply trash or recycling at this point. However, before you destroy the materials, you may want to check with an attorney or the proper authorities if you are pursuing any type of legal action, since this may be considered evidence.
Actual E-mail Scam Below
Artwork & E-mail Received From Scammer
- A scammer filled out our online contact form with the information below. Through some Google Analytics research, we've determined that our scammer originated from Accra, Ghana.
name = Dave Weliam
Can you please quote me on printing 60,000 copies of Flyers with the following specs.
1. measures 8.5' x 11'
2. 80# Gloss Text
3. Full color
Please provide quote on 60,000 copies. I hope to hear from you
Below is the follow up e-mail from the scammer. (Notice the broken English) This follow-up e-mail was sent prior to our providing any quote for the above - the job was awarded without any costs discussed.
Well am glad to see your reply, attached is the file for printing let me know how soon can it be ready for pick-up at your location so that i can proceed? Thanks and hope to read from you soon.
Other E-mails of Typical First Contact Correspondence
Dear Sir/Madam, My name is Eric Lemert and am interested in purchasing Flyers which i want to donate to a Church .I am lookong for 40,000 pieces of the Flyers with the size 8.5"x11 in full paper and i want you to do the art work in the atachment with a Red ink and with a doubles sided on the Flyers and the colour should be white paper .I want you to print them on both side ..I want you to send me an e-mail and let me know if you can get them for me and also get me the total cost including Tax and i am going to handle the Shipping myself .Also let me know how you accept your payment before we proceed with the order .I also need your full name and phone number so that i can give you a call when necessary .
Do not hesitate to contact me back regarding this order .I will be wating for your soonest response .Thank you .. Best regards,Eric Lemert
Fax 510-373-6010*Unit 2, 154- 164 Renwick St Marrickville NSW 2204
Copy of typical freight pre-payment excuse
It was nice doing business with u and i do appreciate it.I just had an e-mail from UK that my wife was about to give birth to my baby , So i should be there. .Due to that i will not be able to schedule the pick up at my end. . I want you to do me a favour by contacting a shipping company which i recommended and find out the cost for shipment.The mechandise will be shipped to my church in Ghana and as soon as u heard back from them with the cost for shipping, you can e-mail me back asap so that i will make the payment altogether.
Here is the Shipping address below.
32 Trasaco Valley
Another Recent First Contact Scam Correspondence
Am George Miller and i would like to make an order of printing Flyers with the below specs.
1. measures 8.5' x 11'
2. 80# Gloss Text
4. Full colour
Please quote me on 70,000 copies and how soon is the lead time of production. Hope to read from you soon.Thank you.
George Ventures Co.
Media Reports on Internet Scams
If you receive suspicious e-mail quotation requests or any out of the ordinary requests that may involve you in parting with money, check them thoroughly before taking any action.
Make sure you staff are fully informed of possible scams. Remember, if in doubt - don't!
If you feel you are the target of such a printing scam you are asked to send the information to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Portions of this page are reproduced with permission from the Printing Industries Association of Australia
Copyrights are retained by the associated organization.
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