Is This A Scam?

Business By Kitagrl Updated 8 Oct 2009 , 11:13pm by Jackie

Kitagrl Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:05pm
post #1 of 76

I had a legit sounding order for a last minute wedding cake (November 7). Quoted her a price and she wrote back again sounding fairly legit but the red flags were that she put the credit card info in the email, and that she is currently in Ethiopia (on foreign service) making arrangements for a Philly wedding. She gave a contact address in Virginia, supposedly her name...and also a contact number who is supposedly the bride.

How can I make sure that I am not nasty if this is genuine...but my gut tells me its probably a scam or a stolen identity?

She wants it for 100 people and I quoted her $600 and she said fine and sent the above info....

75 replies
MnSnow Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:13pm
post #2 of 76

Hmmmm feels like a scam to me too

Maybe have them submit payment through paypal. Scammers don't do paypal

__Jamie__ Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:16pm
post #3 of 76

Western Union, cash in hand instantly.

nonnyscakes Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:16pm
post #4 of 76

Did they ask you to ship it? The scam usually goes with an "extra" charge on their CC to pay for shipping and a $100 bonus for your assistance. You ship the cake, pay the "courier", the CC ends up being stolen and you are out cake, shipping and money for courier. They take "courier" money and run.

__Jamie__ Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:17pm
post #5 of 76

Pretttttty sure it's a scam though. I would insist on speaking with her over the phone, via Skype so you can look at her and everything.

Kitagrl Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:17pm
post #6 of 76

So I should just say "I'm sorry I can't accept payment that way, you'll have to pay me through Paypal"?

What if the credit card is stolen? She can technically do a chargeback, I'm not sure how people launder money or what they do on stolen identities but this has a weird feel to it. Nobody buys wedding cake that fast. Well most people don't.....

My gut says just not to reply.

__Jamie__ Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:18pm
post #7 of 76

Listen to yer gut...icon_biggrin.gif

Kitagrl Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:19pm
post #8 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by lees_luv

Did they ask you to ship it? The scam usually goes with an "extra" charge on their CC to pay for shipping and a $100 bonus for your assistance. You ship the cake, pay the "courier", the CC ends up being stolen and you are out cake, shipping and money for courier. They take "courier" money and run.




Right, I've seen those. Here's her second email, minus some info:

Wow! Thanks for the quick response. Yes the "Mad Hatter Hat". The
reception is close to the downtown Philly, but I can get you the exact
address tomorrow. Please use the following card for the payment:

Shawna Garner
{address}

my AMEX is *************** code ***** and exp date 07/10

If you have any questions, please contact Cari at 571-*********. She
is the bride and would be able to help you out with any questions or
details. I am currently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Foreign Service).
I wanted to make the cake arrangements, but it is challenging with
dial-up internet and trying to download pictures.

Again, the date is Saturday November 7, 2009 approximately 100 people.
I appreciate the quick response.

Cheers,
Shawna



Note another thing, she did not say where she was from in her original email. I asked her if she was from Phila/NJ area and then she replied downtown Philly.

Texas_Rose Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:21pm
post #9 of 76

Maybe you could post the email, minus the credit card info of course. Most of those scam emails seem to use the same sort of grammar, that might be a clue.

__Jamie__ Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:22pm
post #10 of 76

Hmmmm....tricky one! Interesting.

Uniqueask Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:22pm
post #11 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by LURVELY

Listen to yer gut...icon_biggrin.gif




Ditto thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

Kitagrl Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:23pm
post #12 of 76

Whoa...I just noticed....she says she's in that whatever city, Ethiopia. Well the street name on her so-called Virginia address is that very same "city" name!!!! Hmmmm....

nonnyscakes Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:23pm
post #13 of 76

Did you notice that the address she gave you was "2030 Addis Ababa Pl., Dulles, VA 20189" and that she is in "Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Foreign Service)"? What is the likelyhood that there is an Addis Ababa Place in Dulles, Virginia and a city named Addis Ababa in Ethiopia?

There is no "2030 addis ababa place, dulles, Virginia" on Google Maps, but if you do a Google search it comes up hundreds of times with hundreds of different names associated.

I would go with your gut instinct and stear clear.

Kitagrl Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:25pm
post #14 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by lees_luv

Did you notice that the address she gave you was "2030 Addis Ababa Pl., Dulles, VA 20189" and that she is in "Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Foreign Service)"? What is the likelyhood that there is an Addis Ababa Place in Dulles, Virginia and a city named Addis Ababa in Ethiopia?




Yep...I'm looking up the address right now and you can find that address but it comes up on links I have no clue what exactly they are....

Kitagrl Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:26pm
post #15 of 76

There does seem to be addresses online that show the addresses match what country the diplomat is located...hmmm...

Kitagrl Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:27pm
post #16 of 76

Ok I found a government employee at that address, I'm gonna email him and find out if he knows this chick. icon_smile.gif

just_for_fun Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:27pm
post #17 of 76

check if there is actually such a city/town and street. sounds fishy to me. no pics/designs? no flavor choices? like she doesnt really care, she just wants the $$.

Kitagrl Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:33pm
post #18 of 76

I did find the same address in Washington DC (which yes, is right on the border with VA) and found a contact email to someone who works with Ethiopia at that address named Kevin Smith. So I emailed him to ask if he knows the lady, because it would seem he should if she is working with that department. It was on a "gov" website so I think its going to be alright...hopefully he writes back soon, as I know even if she does work there he may not be able to divulge that information to a stranger, if it truly is a gov't worker.

So weird! She does not talk like a scammer...but the red flags are up! And I know if I just call the phone number, the person on the other end would be a scammer too. Why would a bride make her friend in Ethiopia arrange her cake for her?

nonnyscakes Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:34pm
post #19 of 76

Still sounds really weird to me. Just be careful and don't get burnt.

Kitagrl Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:35pm
post #20 of 76

I don't even think Paypal is safe from a true scammer so I'm really unsure if I should just drop this or write her back one last time.

The area code of her contact name is also Virginia....

rachelsmom01 Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:37pm
post #21 of 76

Why are you putting yourself through so much work and anxiety? (Although now we are all curious to find out how this unfolds.) Scammers don't sound like scammers ....that's how they get away with it!!!

Run don't walk from this one!!

ceshell Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:39pm
post #22 of 76

If the credit card is stolen, wouldn't you be able to determine that by calling the cc company? Might be worth a shot, if you want to keep pursuing this rather than just dropping it. You'd probably have to run the card thru first but then could call the company to verify that the transaction was legit. My cc company calls me when they suspect fraud on my account; in this case you would simply be a vendor calling to verify the veracity of the payment. Worth a shot maybe? The person at the gov't location couldn't tell you if the order was legit, even if he verifies the person's identity.

What are a vendor's normal resources for determining if a payment is valid? Is there some set of standard verification process that you can require from her in order to process her payment? Nothing insulting, just as standard as when they ask for ID at the store and match up signatures, names, etc. I don't get insulted that the store wants to make sure someone hasn't stolen my card!

I agree: don't do Paypal. You can be defrauded just as easily.

CakeMakar Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:44pm
post #23 of 76

I agree, call the credit card company. They'll be able to tell you if the information matches and usually will even call the correct cardholder to verify if need be. I've done it many times, and 10 times out of 10 I was right that it was a stolen card.

ETA: You don't need to run the transaction first.

nonnyscakes Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:45pm
post #24 of 76

You could require that she fax you a copy of her driver's license or passport?

Kitagrl Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:46pm
post #25 of 76

I guess I should, just in case she's for real....although she sounds like she is NOT.... if it were her real credit card, she wouldn't be giving it away so freely!!!

Kitagrl Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:55pm
post #26 of 76

I guess I should, just in case she's for real....although she sounds like she is NOT.... if it were her real credit card, she wouldn't be giving it away so freely!!!

Kitagrl Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:56pm
post #27 of 76

Ok I called American Express and they cannot verify anything unless the card has been charged.

Do I just write her and tell her to Paypal me or just ignore her? Her email does sound more "legit" than scammer ones, I've had scammer ones and I know how they sound...this one is so weird.

Melvira Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 8:04pm
post #28 of 76

Key Kit, sorry you are going through this. If there is any doubt in your mind, "Sorry, I'm booked on that date." That is how you save face without getting scammed. You still look like the consumate professional, but you completely side step the loss of money and product. Good luck girl, I'm pulling for you!

terrig007 Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 8:07pm
post #29 of 76

I live in the area of VA you're talking about. The only things I know of with a "Dulles" address is the airport and the surrounding hotels & air express businesses. The 571 area code is mine as well but I'm out in PWC. I was told by the phone people that all the 703 area codes were only going to be given to Fairfax county residents and businesses from that point (January 200icon_cool.gif.
It seems fishy to me. Sorry you're having to deal with this. Your cakes are lovely!

Kitagrl Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 8:07pm
post #30 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melvira

Key Kit, sorry you are going through this. If there is any doubt in your mind, "Sorry, I'm booked on that date." That is how you save face without getting scammed. You still look like the consumate professional, but you completely side step the loss of money and product. Good luck girl, I'm pulling for you!




Unfortunately she sent a perfectly valid email first, where I responded that I was able to fit her in and all the other info.

I guess technically I could say that I had another customer change her mind and therefore I'm booked....I dunno.

Thanks!

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