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Ecommerce Forum

Fake letter to send product they ordered!

 2:01 pm on Jul 21, 2009 (gmt 0)


I received a typed letter from Michigan from a person that claims they ordered a product from my site and mailed me a "money order" that they know has been cashed.

The letter then goes on to say how I could be losing a very good customer who buys 30-40 orders a year, and if he doesn't receive his product he will go on all these websites & complain about my website. It also says to not attempt to call or email him, but only ship the product to the address listed in the letter to avoid my website from being listed on these complaint websites.

First off, the letter doesn't have a return address listed on the envelope and I checked my database and there is no order from this guy on my website. Also, I specifically state on my site that we do not accept "money orders".

It's crazy to see people go through such great lengths just to get free stuff...very disappointing!




 2:44 pm on Jul 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

May not be the only letter that has been sent out though, and once they've identified a few suckers...


 2:55 pm on Jul 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

File 13.
A real customer would have called you raising cane...


 3:48 pm on Jul 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

if he doesn't receive his product he will go on all these websites & complain about my website.
Forward the letter to the local police of the "customer." It sounds like an extortion attempt to me. And if he does actually start posting messages about you, you can ad libel to the mix.

 4:30 pm on Jul 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am in total agreement with LifeinAsia on this. This is a scam.

If you are in another state than Michigan, forward it with your concerns to the FBI. The letter in itself could be a crime if it crossed state lines.

Be proactive. Don't wait to see if something happens.


 6:44 pm on Jul 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thank you for the replies...

It's just so annoying that people will go to these extremes for free stuff. Did this person really think I was going to mail him a product just because of this stupid letter.


 7:27 pm on Jul 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Please don't stoop to giving this guy free stuff to prevent complaints. Hard to believe, but from what I have read on this board there are people here who would consider this.

This person has probably had some success with such threats in the past, or has been given freebies by well intentioned or scared merchants and is upping it to the next level.


 7:46 pm on Jul 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Smells like a scam, certainly report it to someone. If you then find a bad report about you, ask that site to remove the comment while it's being investigated by the authorities. If they refuse, get a lawyer to write to them threatening to sue them as an accessory.

Not too sure about that last bit, I've maybe seen too many America shows over here in the UK :O)


 10:58 pm on Jul 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just had a fraud attempt, earlier this week, I had not yet encountered. The call came from an IP relay service-for-the-deaf (i.e. https://www.sprintip.com/index.jsp for those that are not familiar). First one ever, in 10+ years of e-tailing. OK, not entirely out of the question that a legitimate customer might try to make a purchase this way (I am not deaf nor do I have great knowledge of or interaction with the deaf community, so I have very little experience in this realm). Still, it raised a red flag -- why wouldn't a deaf person with a computer just complete their order on the website? Well, I was going along with it just to see where it lead me, figuring as long as I didn't ship anything or take payment, no worries. One thing lead to another...and I got an email with 7! credit card numbers to "try". If I would have been sent just one card number (I could understand a deaf person not wanting an unknown, third party to relay their credit card details to me) I might have been taken by the scam. Unfortunately for any potential deaf customer I may have in the future, I will not likely accept their order via this service; they'll have to use the website and forego the custmer service line.

Do we think these attempts are a sign of desperation on the scammers part because fraud detection is improving? Or is this just an attempt at crafting new tricks? Or am I just late to the game on this one?


 11:51 pm on Jul 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

I would make note of the scam, alert the proper authorities, and be sure to hold onto any future emails/letters from this "customer".

It makes you wonder who else they've tried this on and how long they've been able to get away with it?


 7:07 am on Jul 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

My sister is deaf and she's recieved a number of scam attempts via email from a "deaf organization" (as have a number of her friends). Unfortunately, she has little concept of scams and provided WAY too much information before asking me what she should do. Luckily no money was lost -- but she now has information floating around in the scam-universe.

My feeling is that scammers are extending their tendrils to include the deaf community. It's a whole new market for them. I won't say much more so as not to give scammers any new ideas.

Without getting into details, this is going to cause havoc in the deaf community if it continues. Hopefully the community will come together with a workable plan to combat this...

Scamming the general public is unacceptable, but scamming the "disabled" is reprehensible.


 7:15 am on Jul 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Imagine if Abbie Hoffman had lived into the ecommerce age -- "Steal This Book" would have been 10 times thicker.


 8:44 pm on Jul 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Don't respond to these crooks. If you do, you will only get more fraud. Far as them writing bad stuff about your site, they are too busy with thier scams.


 8:54 pm on Jul 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Scamming the general public is unacceptable, but scamming the "disabled" is reprehensible

Agreed. To make matters worse, it has made me skeptical of anyone claiming to be deaf in order to use such services to mask their voice or location.


 9:05 pm on Jul 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

You can always contact your local Message Relay Center (a free service used to connect a hearing person using a phone to a deaf person using a TTY and vice versa) and ask what security measures they may employ to track the TTY caller (if any).

Unfortunately, I have a feeling it won't be much. Call display is probably as far as they take it. Most MRCs seem to be run by the telephone company, so they may have tracing ability, but would be unlikely to use it.

If you're able to get some good (real) referrals by mouth (er... hand) in the deaf community, chances are other deaf customers will show up since the community is so tight-knit. It can be a very difficult niche to break into, but I think if you get accepted, you'll definitely get some sales.

In the end, treat this "deaf" person as you would anyone else. If it scams like a duck...


 12:39 am on Jul 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Imagine if Abbie Hoffman had lived into the ecommerce age -- "Steal This Book" would have been 10 times thicker.

Try "Steal This Computer Book 4.0: What They Won't Tell You About the Internet" - by Wallace Wang

Interesting read, with plenty of information on scams that float around the net


 1:14 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

You have to figure that this scam works some of the time or they would not bother sending the letter in the first place.

I wonder if this scam used to happen to the pre-internet catalog companies and they just moved it to the internet.

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