Ever have a business transaction with someone and be thinking the whole time “This just sounds too good to be true!”? Chances are at the end of the transaction you either said “No thanks” or you ended up getting burned. If you thought this post was about Direct Sales companies that are scams, you’re mistaken.
This post is about a scam that is being perpetrated on direct sales consultants. It’s happening right now and my wife Holley has had several people on her team who have been targeted along with many other consultants we know.
Please read this! This is a very real scam and my goal here is to prevent anyone reading this from becoming a victim of this scam.
Rundown of the Scam
The way this works is roughly as follows:
• You will be contacted directly by the scammer. They will seem like an interested customer (that you don’t know) who has gotten your number or email off your car, an advertisement, a catalog that has been circulated or anywhere else you might have left your contact information.
• They will want to place an order, usually a large order
• They will try to pay with a check (personal or even a “cashier’s check”). They’ll claim they don’t have a credit card or debit card.
• They will “mail” you the check once you’ve placed the order and give them the total.
• Sometimes they’ll ask you to ship the items to them directly, other times not.
• At some point you’ll receive a check that is not for the amount of the total, it will be more.
• They will contact you (sometimes even before you receive the check) and tell you “I made an error and sent you the wrong check! Oh no! Can you just deposit that check and send me the difference in cash?” They may ask you to do it quickly because they have other bills they need to pay or some other such excuse. Or they may even be so bold as to ask that you go ahead and send them the difference because they’re in a crunch.
• When you deposit the check, it will bounce. These checks, even the ones that appear to be cashier’s checks, are not valid. Either they are forgeries or come from accounts with no balance.
• The person may call repeatedly, be manipulative, or even forceful with you on the phone.
Here’s How You Lose:
• You will lose the “difference” money you send them
• You’ll get hit with bank fees for a bounced check.
• You may be investigated for bank fraud for trying to deposit a forged check
• You will be out the cost of the items in your order (and the items themselves if you shipped directly to the customer)
How Can You Avoid This Scam?
1. Don’t take orders over the phone or through email from people you don’t know. At least don’t place the order until payment is confirmed.
2. When dealing with people you don’t know, require payment with credit card, debit card, or cash up front.
3. Be vigilant and stick to your guns. Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something you feel isn’t right.
4. If you have fallen for this, or think you have, report it to your bank and/or police department for them to follow-up.
5. Talk to your friends in the business about it. It may be something happening in your local community right now.
Have you seen this scam? What ways have you seen direct sales consultants being scammed over the years?