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 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.
Just when you thought you’d heard it all….
A Credit/debit card scam I hadn’t heard of before
Be sure to read about this new scam:
This is one I had never heard about, and I think it is worthy of forwarding. Give this wide distribution….it is pretty tricky. Just when you thought you’d heard it all. This scam is actually very clever. Be very careful out there ! This one could easily slip by most anyone – beware of people bearing gifts. The following is a recounting of the incident from the victim:
Wednesday a week ago, I had a phone call from someone saying that he was from some outfit called: “Express Couriers,” (The name could have been anything) he asked if I was going to be home because there was a package delivery for me that required a signature . The caller said that the delivery would arrive at my home in roughly an hour, and sure enough, about an hour later, a uniformed delivery man turned up with a beautiful basket of flowers and wine. I was very surprised since it did not involve any special occasion or holiday, and I certainly didn’t expect anything like it. Intrigued about who had sent me such a gift, I inquired as to who the sender was. The deliveryman’s reply was, he was only delivering the gift package, but allegedly a card was being sent separately… (the card has never arrived!) There was also a consignment note with the gift.
He then went on to explain that because the gift contained alcohol, there was a $3.50 “delivery/ verification charge,” providing proof that he had actually delivered the package to an adult of legal drinking age, and not just left it on the doorstep where it could be stolen or taken by anyone, especially a minor.
This sounded logical and I offered to pay him cash. He then said that the delivery company required payment to be by credit or debit card only, so that everything is properly accounted for, and this would keep help in keeping a legal record of the transaction. He added couriers not needing to carry a bunch of cash, would make them less likely targets for robbery.
My husband, who by this time was standing beside me, pulled his wallet out of his pocket with the credit/debit card, and ‘John,’ the “delivery man,” asked my husband to swipe his card on a small mobile card machine. It had a small screen and keypad wher e Frank was also asked to enter the card’s PIN and security number. A receipt was printed out and given to us as our copy of the transaction. He then said everything was in order, and wished us good day.
To our horrible surprise, between Thursday and the following Monday, $4,000 had been charged/withdrawn from our credit/debit account at various ATM machines.
It appeared that somehow the “mobile credit card machine,” which the deliveryman carried now had all the info necessary to create a “dummy” card with all our card details after my husband swiped our card and entered the requested PIN and security number.
Upon finding out about the illegal transactions on our card, we immediately notified the bank which issued us a new card, and our credit/debit account was closed.
We also personally went to the Police , where it was confirmed that it is definitely a scam because several households had been similarly hit.
WARNING: Be wary of accepting any “surprise gift or package,” which you neither expected nor personally ordered, especially if it involves any kind of payment as a condition of receiving the gift or package. Also, never accept anything if you do not personally know or there is no proper identification of who the sender is.
Above all, the only time you should give out any personal credit/debit card information is when you yourself initiated the purchase or transaction !
Pass this on to your dear and near ones, as it may just prevent someone else from being swindled.