We channeled a bit of Marge Gunderson this week at Modern Metal. We were VERY close to getting scammed, but Nichole our Operations Manager thankfully stopped it before it got too far. Here’s what happened, which I’m sharing in the hope that it will increase awareness and prevent any of you from falling down this rabbit hole.
As a side note, we have actually been scammed in the past, and it was an awful experience. I still have 500 pieces of odd sized custom grilles that no one ever needed in my garage, as well as the lingering psychological trauma that caused me. Since then, we have educated ourselves with heightened awareness and a sharp eye, but even so this recent one successfully passed through our initial screenings.
We got a request via our sales representative, who often forwards requests to us so that we can directly contact client and help them with any questions. This client, Mr. Ricky Wilson, was interested in our floor vents for standard size duct openings of 12” x 4” and 12” x 6”. He wanted pricing, and lead times, and spoke our lingo. We provided the pricing, and within 24 hours said he’d like to order a quantity of 60 pieces. My team was really excited about the news, as this is exactly why we designed our standard line, to be affordable quick and easy (lead time was 2 weeks by the way!), and this type of commercial order is in line with other orders submitted by our sales representative.
Nichole proceeded with the formal paperwork which includes an invoice for deposit and our terms and conditions, all sent via DocuSign to the customer. Mr. Wilson asked if he could arrange to use his own freighting company, and we agreed. It was Nichole’s dive into the shipping details that revealed the fraud. The shipping company looked close to a real shipping company but a quick search of google revealed that just a couple little details were off and were not legitimate.
- Email discrepancy: Emails initially came from Ricky Wilson. We wrote our return emails to Ricky Wilson but responses all came from another person, Tony Campas.
- Ship to dddresss suspicious: Ship to address was in Guam, which is not in our sales person’s territory and we rarely ship out of country.
- Shipping Company was bogus: Shipping company was named as 360 Logistics LLC (real company). They used the real Head of Logistics, Kevin xxxx but the last name was altered. We were provided with name of Kevin xyz. Company’s contact email for shipping company didn’t match the name of the shipping company provided.
We report all fraudulent attempts to the FBI. We are onto them but it’s exhausting, and an enormous waste of our time, energy and resources. I could understand if we sold something that was easily resellable, but I don’t think our custom made floor vents, as beautiful as they are, are such a hot ticket on the streets! Stay vigilant everyone, and Ricky Wilson, you picked the wrong company to mess with.