As the old adage goes, if it sounds too good to be true...it probably is.
Scams and con games targeting small businesses use a broad array of seemingly plausible scenarios designed to lighten your wallet, steal your customers and worse. The best way to protect yourself is by staying informed. We've listed some common con games reported by SAF members below and will add to it as new reports come in. Read them. Remember them. Tell your friends. Tell SAF if you're targeted. Let's work together to stomp out scams!
FLORAL BUSINESS SCAM REPORT
Fake E-Mail Wedding Orders
From "Adrianna Ortiz"
May 27, 2010
Elizabeth Hoffman, owner of West End Florist and Garden Center in Evanston, Ill. received a new version of the wedding order scam. The giveaway was the list of some 60 florists in the "To" field of the e-mail.
Furst Florist and Greenhouses in Dayton Ohio received this e-mail, which follows a typical fraud pattern. The e-mail begins: "My name is Dr. Kurt Aldridge presently on island vacation with my wife
SAF has had multiple reports of this scam in recent weeks. The florist receives a call from an operator for the hearing impaired saying there is a deaf customer who wants to order wedding flowers....
An ailing widow wants to donate through your organization and even offers to give you a rebate for the service.
A member in Dover, N.H. reported receiving three fraudulent orders via his company's website over the past 10 days and says "another local florist has had at least one similar order." Read more >
A florist in Nashville received an e-mail order for 10 basket and 10 rose and orchid arrangements — to be picked up by the customer's shipper. The customer asked the florist to add $850 for shipping to her bill, which would be paid by credit card. Read more >
Gift Baskets for Ghana Scam
In an e-mail, "Rev. Brown" wants to place a large gift basket order (200 baskets) for his church in Ghana. At least one florist in Austin, Tex. ordered the flowers and made the arrangements before discovering it was a scam. Read more >
This one is pretty slick since they provide YOU with all the information, except the one piece they want. Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have it. Read more >
Several members of FlowerChat in different parts of the country have received similar e-mails from a wedding customer in England who wants to purchase flowers for a wedding in the florist's town. Read more >
A dream order turned into a nightmare after a con artist posing as a reverend used a stolen credit card to order hundreds of roses. Read more >
A company may be trying to scam retailers by offering government grant money -- if they're willing to pay up front. Read more >
Talk about it on SAF's "Stomp Out Scams" Forum.
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Federal Trade Commission