That order that is too good to be true? It is too good to be true most likely. Take a deep breath and delete it.
Via the comments we got this request at the ink kitchen yesterday:
Am interested in purchasing some blank t shirts and below is the specs and quantities needed.order:
Size:Adult small size
100% or 50/50% Cottona
Size: Medium size
100% or 50/50% Cotton
What would be the total cost plus tax and shipping to ( Pa )advice the method of payment do you accept via-email or phone?
Sounds like we could make a nice profit just turning the blank shirts, right? Unless you have the best spam filter in the world or live in a cave, you have to be getting such requests on a weekly if not daily basis, I sure do. Printers, embroiderers, promo companies, and shirt distributors are all targeted. Folks I have spoken to at even big companies have been duped at times. Honestly, when someone is spending all of their time trying to cheat people and you are spending a tiny amount of energy defending yourself, the cheats win a few.
How to avoid this?
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. These things always are for some large amount of shirts and money is no object. Nobody calls you out of the blue to print one million shirts, maybe 950,000 or 1.1 million, but not a million. You are a printer and they want blanks, who orders large quantities of blanks from a printer?
- If you think you are going to beat them at this, keep in mind that these things are often done by criminal gangs and defrauded people have actually been also killed. Just delete, don’t engage and if you did start to engage you might want to contact law enforcement.
- Look for spelling errors and weird details. Our request yesterday has both. Nobody orders small of one kind of shirt and medium of another. People confuse “advice” and “advise”, but that is another clue about this being fake.
- Who starts doing business with you and doesn’t give all their contact info? Answer: scammers, not legit businesses.
- If they do give contact info, double check it via search engine, and look at the location on google earth. I checked on a supposed business making pool table lights that in fact was the address of a rundown house in a residential neighborhood.
- Do NOT trust that you will be saved by having a bank check, western union check, or credit card. Checks are stolen, credit cards stolen, and credit card charges disputed and you will be screwed. If you are not sure about a transaction don’t do it is my main advice, but if you do want some extra level of certainty, only a bank transfer is safe.
- One of the biggest scams is that you are paid by some sort of check or credit card and for urgency you have to wire them back some amount of money. If “customers” insist on you wiring money back, that should smell like a rat to you.
- You have to protect yourself. Money wiring services have been fined for actually knowingly allowing fraudsters to use their services, so they are not going to help you. The police don’t seem to do much about it. You have to protect yourself, so please do!
And what is that graphic at the start of the article? That is a beautiful hand carved commodore computer. A scambaiter got some scammer to carve a computer out of wood and send it to him, thereby wasting the scammer’s time, costing them money, and making a pretty damn good joke of it all. “Scambaiting” is internet vigilante action which gets back at scammers. Some of it has all the troubling aspects of any vigilante type of justice, but some of it quite effectively foils scammer and gets some pretty funny payback as well. If you are interest to read more about scamming scammers, there is a very interesting article in The Atlantic Monthly “How to Trick an Online Scammer Into Carving a Computer Out of Wood: Ingenious acts of cyber-vengeance”.
Don’t wire money to people you don’t know. Don’t go for offers that are too good to be true. Hit delete and move on.