Don’t be SCAMMED this is importantPhil Biundo
Don’t be SCAMMED this is important
Have you ever received an email like this:
“Dear Traders, Beware of [company name]. When you buy from them and send them
money, you’ll never get your products and then suddenly can’t contact them anymore.
Then they won’t answer your emails or take your calls. Soon, you lose all your money.
Please share this information with your customers.”
“It has been brought to our attention that there may be individuals operating in the
marketplace impersonating [company name] in order to perpetuate fraud.”
You’d be surprised how often I get these emails.
This next one is especially tricky because it could be legit, depending on your business.
“The customer is willing to place a big order but needs sample units first and is not
willing to pay for the samples upfront. This is going to be an issue because the sample
units are going to be quite expensive.”
Whatever your business and wherever you live, scam artists are out there, waiting to take
advantage and siphon away your hard-earned revenue. They regularly change their alleged
business names, aliases and even their scamming methods to avoid getting caught. But I’ve
learned a few tricks in my years about spotting scam artists and I want to provide you with the
knowledge and confidence you’ll need to remain scam-free. Below are some tools, tips and
resources to help you curtail any future losses.
Here are a few more common scams:
- You pay someone and then don’t receive anything.
- You buy AC adapters or batteries that turn out to be counterfeit.
- A product’s condition turns out to be misrepresented. For instance, you were promised
- Grade A or B, but what you got was junk.
- The deal you signed up for turns out to be significantly not-as-described. You try to
remedy it with the seller but they stop answering your phone calls and responding to
Scammers often purchase a domain name similar to yours. They might even take your exact
same name but use a .net, .org, or .us, instead of .com.
A scam site might link its reviews to your site to make it seem legit. Then when customers
Google your company, your reviews will come up. The customer feels comfortable even if the
deals seem too good to be true, so they start placing orders on the fraudulent site. The scam
site takes the order, but nothing ships out. Soon you start getting calls for order statuses you
Read more details of the scam here.
This next scam is the most popular one. You order all “Grade A,” “New,” or “Refurbished”
products, but when they show up at your dock, they’re all wrong, or it’s all junk.
I won’t say you should have gone out and inspected the products yourself, because I‘ve hand-tested each
product in an order, then had the boxes swapped during shipping.
I probably missed a few but if you come across any other scams, let me know so we can protect
other traders. You might not have come across these issues yourself, but it could be worth your
while to have some contacts and tools at your disposal when scoping out new customers and
vendors. I also have more tricks in my E-book to help you circumvent cheating and get
inspections performed on the cheap.
The evolving scam
Scam deals typically start with a phone call or email. Look closely at the email and the
associated domains to get a sense of how serious the request is. Keep in mind, scam artists are
going to be slippery. They love to use tricky domain names and fake social media accounts.
They’ll even build websites to try to convince you they’re legit.
When you talk on the phone with a possible scammer, it’s a good idea to jot down the number
they called from. Reverse phone lookups and simple Google searches can help fill in missing
information to verify a company.
When determining if a buyer is safe or a scam, consider if their reviews are real or fake.
Scamadviser.com is a good tool for assessing the risk of third-party websites. This tool saves
you time authenticating domains. Scamadviser uses an algorithm to authenticate reviews, as
well as determine if a website is legit or a front for phishing, and if a seller is peddling fake
Two important things to consider here are
1) was the domain name registered recently?
2) how long until the domain name expires?
Scammers are not going to register a domain name years in advance. Scam domains are usually registered recently.
Next, look closer at the email. Does it have a signature, address, phone number, fax? Try to
verify some of those details on your own. If they have Skype, WhatsApp or social media
contacts, check them out and connect with them. Do those accounts look legit? When did the
user last write a post? Use Google Maps to verify addresses, and zoom in using Street View to
check out the building.
Another verification hack I’ve found useful is calling neighboring businesses and asking about a
business I’m suspicious of. How long have they been there? What type of unit are they in? Ask
if trucks roll in and out of the location. You’d be surprised how much info people give out to
Counterfeit products are another big problem in our industry — everything from batteries to AC
adapters. Some of you probably know this a big problem and don’t care because counterfeiting
means cheap products. But counterfeit products can cause an end-user’s computer to fail, catch
fire or worse, explode. Needless to say, this can lead to very high return rates for you and your
Detecting counterfeit products or fakes can be difficult. RAM modules, hard drives, power
adapters and batteries can be verified with the manufacturer, though it’s a time-consuming
process. And checking with a manufacturer is really only feasible if you have a very specific
need and must be 100% sure an item is legit.
So here’s a quick hack to find out if your adapter or battery is legit.
Get out a scale and weigh the original and the potential fake. The fake will
always weigh less than the original. Here’s a video showing the obvious difference in weight.
So you’re ready to pay and you’re feeling good about the deal. Now comes time to pay. I know
what you’re going to say: wire transfer only. But I want to tell you that if the funds were obtained
and transferred illegally, they can be reversed by your bank or the originating bank for up to one
Wire transfers seem to be the favorite method for scammers these days. Good companies take
credit cards and charge fees to do so. If a seller insists on wire-only, further investigation on
your part is needed.
There is too much material to go over in one blog post, but I go over ACH payments, Paypal
and credit card payments scams in detail in my E-book (which I highly recommend reading
because there is a lot to learn about ACH and the capabilities of reversals and chargebacks).
Who can help me?
Depending on the type of scam and the legalities of your county, state or country, I would
contact a few agencies along with your local police. But first, I recommend consulting with your
attorney to see what your options are.
You must find a good attorney. If you need help finding an attorney anywhere in the globe,
download my E-book. I’ll show you where to find them and how to keep them accountable as
you track down buyers and sellers.
Here are some other tools and processes you should put in place to avoid becoming a victim
According to the Better Business Bureau’s investigative project Scam Studies, millions of people
fall victim to scams each year. Take some time to check out the content there, which is very
informative and should keep you updated on the latest scamming techniques. Also, check out
the BBB’s Scam Tracker, where you can see all its reports.
There are some methods to slow down a scam, but it will take hard work and it’s best to get
ahead of the problem. So here are two tips to help make your online presence a little more
- Register all variations of your domain name — .net .org, .us, with dashes and without.
- Trademark your domain name. That way you can get the domain’s registrar to take down
any infringing domains.
I’m sure I missed a scam or two but I’ll leave you with a starting point and some additional links
and search tools. Come back often because I’ll be updating this list and adding some content to
make sure you’re aware of future cons.
- MANTA Company Lookup
- Hoovers Company Search
- California Secretary Of State
- Delaware State Divisions of Corporations
- Florida Department Of Division of Corporations
- Georgia Corporations Division
- Iowa Secretary Of State
- Kansas Business Center
- Michigan Corporations Division Business Entity
- Nebraska Secretary Of State
- New Hampshire Corporation Division
- New Jersey
- New York Corporation and Business Entity Database
- Ohio Secretary Of State
- Oklahoma State Corporation Entities
- Pennslyvania Department Of State
- Rhode Island
- Texas Secretary Of State
- Canadian Govt Corporate Records Search.
- Duedil.com: UK/Ireland Company Background Search
- Companies House
- UK Company Check
- UK CD Rex
- Check Website and Email Domain Owners
- Guidestar.org – US non-profit look up tool
- Arizona Corporation Commission
- Glassdoor Company Reviews (UK)
- North Carolina Department Of The Secretary
- Maryland Department Of Assessments & Taxation
- Virginia State Corporation Commission
- Illinois Secretary Of State
- Minnesota Secretary Of State
- Utah Divisions Of Corporations
- European Commission VAT verification
- Danish Business Authority Database
- British Columbia Registry Services
- Nevada Secretary Of State
- Charitable Organizations within Quebec
- Hong Kong
- Washington State Corporation
- Ministry of Corporate Affairs India
- Microsoft Refurbisher Directory
- Dun & Bradstreet
- State of Colorado
- B2B Yellow Pages
- Merchant Circle
- UK Company List
- Tennessee Business Entity Search
- Hong Kong DIR
- Hong Kong Company List
- New Zealand Companies Office
- New Mexico Secretary of State
- Kentucky Secretary of State Online Resources
- Connecticut Secretary of the State
- FBR Pakistan
- ESC Corporate Services
- Washington DC Business Verification
- Belgium Business Database
- Maine Department of the Secretary of the State
- e-information of Hungary Companies
- System for Award Management
- Shenzhen Credit Org
- Oregon Business Directory
- California Board of Equalization
- Idaho State Business Directory
- Mississippi Secretary of State
- United Arab Emirates
- Government of Pakistan – Federal Board of Revenue
- Registraire des entreprises Quebec
- Find the Company | A Company Research Engine
- Kyckr EU Business Lookup
- Open Corporates
- Netherlands Business Directory
- NY State Tax Vendor Lookup
- UAE TRN Number Verification
- IRS – Exempt Organizations Check Tool
- Texas TaxPayer Search
- Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
- Ireland – Companies Registration Office
- Italian Business Register
- Vietnam Business Registration Portal
- Malaysia Registration Search
- Nigeria Corporate Affairs Commission
- Arkansas Secretary of State
- Germany – Unternehmensregister
- San Jose Business License Lookup
- Wyoming Secretary of State
- Kenya Revenue Authority
- Argentina – CUIT (Tax Lookup)
- e-Information on Hungarian Companies
- France – sirene.fr
- eBay Seller Profile
- Google +
- Newegg Seller Profile
- Panjiva – Global Trade Insights
- Other Company Directory Listing
Online Review Sites
- Reseller Ratings
- Better Business Bureau
- Google Reviews
- Yahoo Local
- eBay Feedback Profile
Environmental, Health, and Safety Compliance
- EPA – Enforcement & Compliance History Online
- US Dept. of Labor – OSHA enforcement inspections
- ISRI SREA Reasonable Care Compliance Program
- NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection
- CA.gov Envirostor
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
- e-Stewards Directory
There is a lot here and if you think I missed one leave a comment below and we can add it.
At Filmar.com I Buy Sell End of Life Corporate IT Assets is an expert on the secondary market
of IT products. Specialties include used and off-lease refurbished computer products, laptops,
computers, LED LCD TVs, digital cameras, electronics, unlocked phones, tablets and enterprise
These are my observations and my opinions but I would love to hear more about your frustrations
Looking through all the scams and the things people do to rip others off is incredible. Has anyone ever used or implemented an Escrow company when dealing over the internet to purchase goods? I feel that this could be a viable option as money is held by a third party until goods are received and verified by the purchaser. Just a thought 🙂
Galleon nice to meet you here. Yes, there are a lot of ways of getting a good deal done between a buyer and seller. Escrow is one of them. We have used that service many times. Thank you again.