Ah, the familiar email warning you of a new scam or something else to be afraid of for women walking in dark parking lots. Usually, I delete these forwarded messages without even reading them, but this one caught my eye because of the subject line: "New Scam involving Point of Sale technology." It's actually a pretty clever sceheme: unsuspecting marks get a surprise delivery of flowers or another gift and are told they must give over their credit card to be scanned on a mobile scanner because the gift contains alcohol. The (false) justification is that a $3.50 charge verifies the recipient's legal age and confirms that the gift containing alcohol was not delivered to a minor. Later, the $3.50 charge becomes a huge drain on the unsuspecting victim's bank account.
Being a natural cynic, I wouldn't fall for this scheme and thought it sounded a little ridiculous. However, apparently it's a real scam; I verified it with Snopes.com. Here is the email I received. Beware!
Just received this email from a friend. It could soon be migrating around the country.New scam - be careful Just in case
This scam is very clever and apparently new; I think easy to fall for.
Wednesday a week ago, I had a phone call from someone who said that he was from some outfit called: "Express Couriers" asking if I was going to be home because there was a package for me, and 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 would send me such a gift, I inquired as to who the sender is. 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 charge" as proof that he had actually
delivered the package to an adult, and not just left it on the doorstep where it could be stolen or taken by anyone. This sounded logical and I offered to pay him cash. He then said that the company required the payment to be by credit or debit card only
so that everything is properly accounted for.
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 the card on the small mobile card machine which had a small screen and keypad where Frank was also asked to enter the card's PIN and security number. A receipt was printed out and given to us.
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 the 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 orpackage.
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, it may just prevent someone else from being swindled.