Beware the scammers
The following comments were posted on www.tirebusiness.com in response to stories in the Jan. 31 issue about scammers targeting tire dealerships and in reply to the TB online poll question:
``Have you ever fallen victim to a credit card scam at your dealership?''
In December 2004 I got a phone call from an AT&T operator who said I was receiving an Internet call. They seemed to be typing my answers to someone who wanted to purchase a large quantity of 16- and 17-inch tires. They would not say who they were or where they were calling from, only that they were calling about my advertising and wanted to buy tires.
That seemed funny to me as the only advertising I do is a box of caps and some handout items at Christmas.
They were wasting a lot of my time and I felt that there was something not right with this. I told them my phone number and that I would only talk to them in person. I hung up and never got to make that big sale.
Merv Jack, Owner
Jack's Tire Repair, Victor, Iowa
Regarding your credit card scam poll, I think it's amazing that only about 11 percent of those who responded indicated having safeguards in place and keeping aware of scam techniques.
I know that's not a 100-percent guarantee you won't be victimized, but it sure puts the odds in your favor. Maybe I have had attempts to be targeted, but knowing when to say ``No'' allows the tools the credit card companies have in place to work for you.
Whether it's in business, the stock market or in casinos, isn't successful gambling all about increasing the odds in your favor?
Mark Schumpelt, President
Mark's American Car Care Center, Austin, Texas
Just yesterday we received a call from someone asking for 10 truck tires, not caring what the price was that we gave him.
The caller then gave us a credit card number over the phone and said he would have a FedEx truck pick them up soon. The credit card was approved, but I was very skeptical because I had just read the articles in Tire Business about such scams. I called the police, and they found out the credit card belonged to an older gentleman who had no idea it was being used.
We have not heard back from the caller since we did not give the FedEx driver any tires. Thanks for the pertinent information-and I will definitely pay attention to your articles in the future! You saved us a large sum of dollars!
Terry Bergey, Manager
Bergey's Commercial Tire, Hatfield, Pa.
This incident happened with a check, but it is a similar scam. A couple of years ago we had a guy buy four alloy wheels and high performance tires and write a check, which we got an approval on from our check guaranty service.
Almost as soon as he left, he put a stop payment on it for no reason except to steal from us. When we called our local police, they wouldn't get involved because they said it was a ``dispute'' and the guy was from out of state (we are in New Hampshire but on the Massachusetts border). The police from the town in Massachusetts also wouldn't get involved, and the check guaranty service wouldn't cover us because it was a ``dispute.''
I don't know how to avoid this problem, but it cost us at least $800. Regarding credit cards, we also check the signature on credit cards and require written authorization for someone-other than the person whose name is on the credit card-to charge on it. That's because some spouses say the other one was not authorized to charge on their card and dispute the charges. Most of the time, it's just to avoid paying the bill.
Larry Lesieur, Secretary
Maynard and Lesieur Inc., Nashua, N.H.
I have been the victim of credit card fraud. Usually someone charges something on their card and then claims that it wasn't them. Now I always ask for ID, but sometimes it's not good enough.
Recently I almost got caught again when someone from Africa called me on the hearing impaired service phone line. It's a free service so I guess they used it to get over. This group was from Lagos, Nigeria. They wanted to buy stereos for cars that they claim were for customers. I bought into it and sent $2,170 worth of car stereos. I later got a call from another guy for the very same thing but twice as much.
I got suspicious and called UPS and told them to reroute the previous order of stereos, which I caught in time. I also credited back the card for the full $2,170. Those hearing impaired calls took like a half an hour, so every time they kept calling back I told the operator that I did not have time.
A.C. Polanco, President/owner
M & M Tire Repair Sales, Brooklyn, N.Y.