Email Check Scams Targeting Woodworkers

Fishy-sounding email requests for quotes are sometimes the opening step in an "overpayment" phony-check scam. July 13, 2010

I received an e-mail from someone who wants a quote on three bookcases. The dimensions are in centimeters. The number he gives is a local cell phone number. No luck in reaching him - just a bunch of beeps. I thought someone on this forum received the same e-mail awhile back but I can't remember what it was all about. What do you think? Something just doesn't feel right but I can't put my finger on it.

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor U:
Send me your bank account number and I will deposit metric amounts of money in it. Nothing wrong with that, right?

From contributor H:
First off, everything I do is metric and getting something dimensioned wouldn't be out of line. Doctors and medical people all work in metric and can understand it and do give me dimensions. That said, if I received an e-mail I'd respond without a price or details until they had come into the shop. If you thought they were just shopping you could low ball it and be too busy to do the job. I tell customers that without exact details and specifications it could cost half or twice as much.

From contributor G:
It is an overpayment scram. No matter what you bid it at they will take it, then send you a check for a $1000.00 or more over the amount. You will then be told to WU the overage to their shipper. Two weeks later your bank calls and tell you the check is no good. If you check the headers on the email I would bet it shows it came from somewhere in Africa.

From the original questioner:
I kind of figured it was a scam. Although the number was a local cell phone number it was from an international carrier. Nine times out of ten if western union money transfer is in the mix it usually is a bunch of nonsense. Unfortunately many people fall for these scams.

From contributor G:
You can get a local number for a number of places. That will forward the call to where you are at. The person dialing will not know it is been forward.

From contributor M:
Iíve been getting the one from one reverend or another asking for pricing on granite for his new orphanage! Always the same size pieces, but different reverends. I have turned them in to any one I can find, but I continue to get them. I actually played with them one day just to see how much information I could get to turn them in, ending up just telling them they were going to go to hell for their efforts. You should have seen the filthy language the reverend used in his reply to me.

From contributor P:
Was this the email?

Greetings to whom it may concern. My Name is Mr. Larry Gibson and well Ii am sending you an e-mail regarding a special order on bookcases and below are the dimensions of the bookcase i am interested in:
Traditional Bookcase
Wood type -Red Maple or oak
Width: 58 5/8 " Width: 149 cm
Depth: 15 3/8 " Depth: 3s excluding cm
Height: 58 5/8 Height: 149 cm
Quantities (3)
I will really appreciated if you can get back to me with the Total Cost of all of the three bookcases plus tax and handling excluding shipping and also I will like to know the types of Credit Cards that you do accept as Payment. My Contact Phone number you can reach me on is +1(812)-610-4557
Mr.Larry Gibson

From the original questioner:
Yep. That was the e-mail word for word. You would think Larry would at least change his name every now and then.

From contributor B:
I got the exact same one. His last name is spelled different in his email address from how he spells it in the email. I am still laughing. I get these all the time. My favorite is from the "missionary" doing "mission" work for homeless children that need bookcases in oak or maple. Always go with your gut. Delete it.

From contributor K:
It took me all of ten seconds to Google the email and come up with twenty variations of the scam.

From contributor P:

Can anyone show me how this scam works?

From contributor G:
Reread my post #4. They send you a fake check or use a stolen CC. They add X$ to the amount you quote them and tell you to WU it to their shipper. It can take three weeks or more before the bank finds out the check is bad. WU payments can be picked up anywhere in the world. They may tell you that it is going to John Doe in NY, but they can pick it up in Africa.

Then the next step is, they (under a different name) email you to help you get your money back. But you need to send them $200 - $300 in fees first, by WU. If all this works for them, they will then try to get you to be a mule for them.