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!
Scam: E-Mails with fake wedding orders
Reported by Lollypops & Roses in Salem, Ore.
From: Paul Walton [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, December 26, 2014 1:11 PM
Subject: Wedding Arrangement
Hi, how are you doing and how was your day, My name is Paul Walton... I will like to place an Order for brother wedding coming soon, also will like to know if you do accept all major types of credit card, thanks.
Reported by Guy's Flowers and More in Tamaqua, Pa.
--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Anthony Smith <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, Mar 12, 2014 at 9:43 AM
Subject: 6 big Bouquets Flowers for my Son Wedding
This is Anthony Smith. I am Hearing Impaired so i cant use Phone now,Only text Massage.
I will like to order for 6 big Bouquets Flowers for my Son Wedding and i want the price range of $250 per one Approximately 26"W x 41" H and the colors should be in Red,Orange,Yellow in Roses Flower in Clear Glass Vases..The bouquets flowers will be Use in Wedding Receptions Table Center.I Give you information you need,So get back to me with the Total Cost
It will be pick up by a private shipper on the 21th of MARCH by 2clock, so can i have the total cost now so that i can forward my Credit Card to you as Payment.Get back to me with the Total cost so that i can forward my Credit to you as Payment,
Get back to me Via
Text: 646 493 4616
Reported by West End Florist and Garden Center in Evanston, Ill.
From: adianna ortiz
Subject: Flower Order !!!
Date: Thursday, May 27, 2010, 10:28 AM
Hello, This is Adianna Ortiz I will like to order for 8 big bouquets flowers for my brother Wedding party and i want the price range of $200 per one Approximately 26" W x 41" H and the color should be in bright summer color can you handle that for me,it will be pick up by a private shipper on the 5th of June by 12 noon so can i have the total cost that now so that i can pay with my card now and what type of credit card do you accept and can i have the total cost for the order and let me know if you can handle this order. Best Regards, Ortiz
Reported by Furst Florist and Greenhouses in Dayton Ohio
From: Kurt Alrdridge
Sent: Thu, May 20, 2010 1:22 pm
Subject: Wedding flower supply
My name is Dr. Kurt Aldridge presently on island vacation with my wife
in Middle East Asia. I want you to supply Wedding flowers for my
daughter's wedding holding on 6th August 2010 in your city. I want to
reserve for good romantic flowers for the button holes, bridal
bouquets, table arrangements, church flowers, candles and tea lights
and any other flowers that will be good for the wedding.
kindly get back to me with your rates and prices of the flowers and
delivering within your city, The wedding planner is preparing for the
wedding venue in your city and i am supposed to reserve for the
flowers that will be use on the day. I will inform you with the
delivery location before the pick up date when the venue is secured.
I am going to make the payment through credit card, because i am
currently on island vacation and unable to make the payment through
any other means.I want you to include all the sur charges for the
credit card in my bill because i am going to take responsibility for
kindly get back to me if you accept credit card, i am making an
arrangement with the wedding planner to secure a place where the
flowers will be delivered. I am sorry that am unable to purchase this
flowers online due bad internet network connection we are having on
Thanks and awaiting your kind reply,
Dr. Kurt Aldridge
Scam: Hearing impaired phone order
Reported by Karin's Florist in Vienna, Va.
July 16, 2010
We got a call yesterday from a TTY operator (relay service for the deaf). A person was making a large order and wanted to get cash back with the purchase. His purchase was for 4 $300 arrangements that would be picked up, but when they were picked up, we were supposed to give the arrangements and an additional $800 cash to person picking up.
Our salesperson and the operator noted this as a probable scam and we requested that when the orders were picked up that the credit card used must be presented. He also advised that we are not able to give any cash back. The caller then hung up.
Reported by Rish Flower Shop in West Columbia, S.C.
December 4, 2009
A call from a relay operator (think deaf TTY services as an example) who stated that she had a person on the computer that wanted to place an order. She stated the “rules” were that I could not speak until she said: “Go Ahead.” I could not interrupt or ask her a direct question but when I finished speaking, I had to say “Go Ahead.” All questions had to be directed to the person on the other end of the conversation – not to the operator.
Mr. Tom wanted 6 large arrangements @ $200 each for his brother’s wedding to be picked up on November 27th by private carrier.
The order was discussed and total price was calculated to be $1284.00, including tax
This is where the rub comes in…Mr. Tom had not yet paid for the private carrier so he wanted me to charge him an additional $700 for shipping. I was to send $700 via Western Union to this “private carrier.” [The problem with this is that once I send the $700 to the carrier, the credit card order is cancelled and the so-called carrier is nowhere to be found to issue a refund.] I refused this request by saying that it is against company policy and at that point, he terminated the call.
It is my understanding that this same scam has been attempted at least five times in my city and I’ve heard anecdotes that it has happened in the Augusta, GA area.
It is my belief that the relay operator is legitimate and I was able to access the relay company via the internet. It appears to simply be a relay company.
Now, two weeks later, I received another relay operator call, this time from an AT&T relay operator.
This time, as soon as the operator stated that the order was for 6 large arrangements @ $200 each for his brother’s wedding, I informed the operator that this was a scam and she terminated the call. So they are still trying to get someone to bite or perhaps they have been wildly successful.
Reported by Kashmir Gardens in Cashmere, WA
October 29, 2009 (updated Nov. 11, 2009)
Multiple flower shops in central Washington have been targets of a caller from an AT&T Special Needs operator from a man who wanted to place an order for six $200 arrangements for his brother’s wedding on November 6th. He had specific arrangement dimensions and wanted the flowers to be bright summery colors. After stating that the $1200 order would have to be paid in full before the shop would place the order for the flowers, the customer asked if they could pay $700 through Western Union to the shipper and pay the balance to the shop on a credit card.
Sherrie was tipped off that this was a scam and did not accept the order. She tried to call the customer back using the number that was on her caller ID 800-855-0000, which did not go through. After speaking with an AT&T operator, the operator was also unable to connect to the phone number.
Sherrie called to warn another local florist, Apple Blossom Floral in East Wenatchee, WA who said they had received a call earlier with the same requests through the same special needs service. Calls also have been received by florists in South Dakota and Texas.
Update 11/10/09: As of 5:00 EST today we have received calls from Texas, Illinois and South Dakota of the same scam.
Multiple Fraudulent Web Orders from Same "Customer"
Reported by Thomas Massingham, Garrison Hill Florists, Dover, N.H.
June 18, 2009
"We've received three fraudulent orders via our website over the past 10 days. All go to the same recipient at a local address. Each is for an average priced wire service product.
"The cards are different but all are romantic and signed "Daniel". Each order was to be charged to a different customer and different credit card number. Two of the three credit cards were declined. One was approved. The telephone numbers and addresses provided are accurate for the customer names provided, but none of the credit card numbers belong to those individuals.
"Of the three orders, two showed the same customer email address. The email addresses are ficticious.
"Another local florist has had at least one similar order. "
Scam: E-Mail Asks Florist to Bill $850 Shipping
Reported by Bellevue Florist in Nashville, Tenn.
June 16, 2009
I wanted to pass along an email I received yesterday AND a warning to other shops nationwide. It started with an inquiry about some flowers but I was instantly aware that it was a scam when I read his second email.
Although it seems rather obvious as a fraudulent order, I am afraid that a newcomer in this business will only see the potential for making a profit and not see it for what it is...a scam. In these tough economic times I want to be sure that fellow florists don't get cheated. My first thought was to contact SAF as the quickest way to warn others about these types of scams.
Here's the e-mail Heather refers to above:
Thanks for the swift reply to my order request and your concern as well, i want you to know that am very grateful, Below is what i want.
*Azalea Attraction Garden Basket (Qty 10)
*Red Roses and White Orchids (Qty 10)
And i want you to have it ready for pick up time 11 o clock A.M 20th of June 2009. and the shipper will be coming to pick them up for delivery to my customer and i don't want you to be worried about the safety delivery of the Flowers Regarding the shipping, I have a shipping agent who will be taking good care of the delivery consignments. The Shipping company will come for the pickup arrangement of the Flowers at your location for the pick up for the date and time. as I have said, you don’t have anything to worry about the shipping of the Flowers it will be well secured and in a good condition on arriving the Customer location, the shipper will be coming with there van for the pick up and it will be ship under the fragile shipping insurance scheme, a friend of mine has used them before for a shipping consignment of this such and they are well secured, reliable and dependable. So I want you to calculate for me what will be the total cost of the flowers included the tax if needed and also I want you to add $850 for the cost of the pick up and the shipping, so once I have your reply for the total I will remit my credit card for you to charge for the total cost. so that you can have the order book right away.
And once you have the order in progress, I will provide you the shipper information, and how you will get the shipping fee to the shipper as to confirm the pickup arrangement of the pick up. I will offer you an extra $100 for taking care of my order properly and for any less stress you will go through for completing the transaction for me due to my absence. So do calculate altogether the total cost of the Flowers plus tax with the $850 for shipping charges, including the $100 am offering you.And get back to me with the total for all, so once i have the total cost i will remit my credit card for you to charge. And you should let me know the type of CC you accept Visa or Master or Amex?
I will be waiting to have your reply for the total cost.
Thanks and God bless.