Flower and Wine Credit Card Scam-Truth!

Flower and Wine Credit Card Scam-Truth!

Summary of eRumor:

This is a forwarded email that warns of a gift of flowers and wine that are delivered by a fake courier.  The email alleged of a scam after a request for a credit card to pay for a delivery verification charge of $3.50, which resulted in $4000 in charges to the stolen credit card number.  Some versions of the eRumor say that the fake delivery man identified himself with a company called “Express Couriers.”

The Truth:

The scam is real, but it is old and we have not found any evidence of this taking place in the U.S.

Back in 2008, there was such a scam in Australia according to a November 23, 2008 article in Sydney Morning Herald.   The article said, David John Hennessey was caught by police and “charged with stealing more than $30,000 by posing as a delivery man bearing wine and flowers.”

The Modus operandi of Hennessey was exactly the same as the eRumor.  The Herald reported, “Before the victims received the package they were told they needed to swipe their credit cards to pay a delivery fee of $3.50. Police allege that in all cases those involved swiped their credit card into a hand-held machine and were given a receipt for their payment.”  Hennessey was held without bail and had 10 counts charged against him of “obtaining benefit by deception and one count of having stolen goods in his possession.”

It is not known if there have been any copy cat incidents in the U.S.  On February 6, 2013 the Ann Arbor News published an article that warned  of a Sheriff’s Office alert of “a person delivering a gift of flowers and wine may ask the recipient to use a credit or debit card to pay a $3.50 delivery charge. ‘Paying’ with the card allows the scammer to steal the victim’s account information and then use it to get money at ATMs.”

The Ann Arbor news said that the spokesperson for the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office called the alert a “heads up” and said his department had not received any reports of any local attempts.

Posted 3/4/14