A Scam Story

A Scam Story

A Scam Story

A scam story, I wouldn’t believe it if it didn’t happen to me.

As you may know Wise Crescent Inc. builds managed mobile ready websites for small businesses.  Well, one day while I was on the road I received a short email message and the elaborate adventure began.
 
The adventure began with the very short message:

“Hello, Please can you offer a website design for my business? I'm Hellen. and do you accept card payment?”

Okay the language was a little broken and the message a little odd, but I always respond to potential new customers.

I responded to Hellen with, “… yes we can provide a website design and yes we accept credit card payments… “, and along with some other details about our packages and timeline questions.

Later the same day Hellen wrote back with a fairly detailed email with her request, a few sample sites and the budget they were looking to work with.  The detail was in-line with what I receive from potential customers about building their website but this one was a little ahead of the game as we hadn’t settled on the price yet.

Hellen was planning to open a spa in Markham Ontario and needed a website to show off her services and building. No products were being sold online and they would provide all the graphics. Perfect, this fits my client profiles nicely, so I was getting excited about the opportunity.

I provided some details about our packages and we settled on the pricing and all things were moving forward.  I provided Hellen with the Paypal links to make the credit card payment online and within a short time Hellen responded with, “Paypal wasn’t going to work as her card was hacked through Paypal previously and she wouldn’t use it.”

Hellen suggested “that I use Intuit to accept the payment”, however, I didn’t have an Intuit account but I offered a solution to use my SQUARE account for accepting payments.  There was a little snag on my part with this solution though as the account wasn’t completely configured yet.

Hellen suggested that I just use Intuit and I said I would take a look, which I did, but it wasn’t going to work.  I told Hellen that it would only take a few days to have SQUARE confirmed and we could move forward.  Hellen agreed to wait…

My SQUARE account was finally confirmed and I contacted Hellen with the pricing and asked if she wanted a yearly program which has a discount or our monthly plan option.  Hellen chose the yearly plan and had a special request.

Here is Hellen’s full message:

“Thank you so much getting the square, i select the yearly payment, and please i need a favor from you, The favor is that, I'm yet to balance up the consultant fees to the consultant. The consultant did not have access to credit card facilities. You will help me to add the fee together with your fee on my credit card, they have to receive $2500 so please let me know the total cost for everything including the credit card charges too.
Thanks a lot.”

ALARM BELLS RINGING NOW VERY LOUDLY!

The deal is dead to me at this point but I wanted to discover more about Hellen…
Part of my reply to Helen:

“…I would suggest that you e-transfer the $2500 to your consultant directly from your bank account.  This is an easy option and very secure.
For the e-payment, I will need your address and phone number to add to the records.  Once I get your phone number, I will call you shortly to get the website build going….”

I thought this would be the end of the response but I was surprised, Hellen was going to keep trying.

Hellen’s Response:

“Hello Jason,
Can you please do this for me, like i told you, I am presently in hospital for a chemotherapy treatment,
Can you please do this for me, ??
Its a favor? ok?”

Very sad for “Hellen” at this point as obviously he/she has some serious issues and it is not cancer.

I didn’t respond, but Hellen still wasn’t done.

The same day, Hellen responded again:

“And the money will have to clear in your bank before you send the extra charge to my consultant, 
ok”

Again, I didn’t respond and again a week later another 2 messages from Hellen about how she hasn’t heard anything from me.

The Scam

I thought, okay what was Hellen trying to accomplish and how was she doing it.  I guessed that she must have a stolen credit card and would have it charged.  The credit card would be charged and I would have received the funds.  I would suspect at some point the charge would have been pulled back as it came from a stolen card, however, in the meantime Hellen would have the consulting fee “$2500” which I would have paid to her/him.

Paypal must have caught this scam previously to send Hellen looking for other credit card accepting services, so beware! Also, I guess this is a good endorsement for Paypal security!

The Bad Person

Hellen from PaulHellen101@gmail.com  paulandhellenspa.com


So, be careful out there and as always if it sounds too good or a little fishy, it most likely is and you should walk away.  You can also confirm most scams online with a quick search which includes some details from your communication. In this case a search didn't work but this is one of the more elaborate scammers.

 

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