To catch a thief
I would like to thank you for the Tire Business article (“Scammers,” Jan. 31 issue) about the tire store that was asked to ship $2,000 worth of tires and then found out that the buyer's credit card was no good.
A couple of days later I received a call from a woman who wanted me to ship out 400 NGK spark plugs to Nigeria. She gave me three credit card numbers that were no good, but I got enough info from her so that the local sheriff's department and the U.S. Secret Service in Georgia are close to catching her.
The authorities said it was part of what they call the “Nigeria Scam 319.”
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I work for Family Tires in Bellflower, Calif., a small family owned and operated tire business.
I wanted to contact you regarding an article that was faxed to us by one of our retail distributors regarding fraud, which was being committed on small mom-and-pop shops.
We found this article extremely ironic because we had just received a phone call that Wednesday evening by an operator stating he was part of a relay service.
The relay operator stated that he had a customer on the line who could only speak to us via relay. The relay said that a “reverend” was interested in a price for four brand-new tires.
Shortly after he was given a price, he said he was interested in purchasing a total of 20 brand new Goodyear RT/S tires, size 265/70R16.
The reverend then asked me if it would be possible to make payment via a Visa credit card. Now nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He asked if I had an e-mail address so that he could forward the shipping address to me.
He stated that he was going to have FedEx pick them up that Friday morning. I maintained contact with the reverend all throughout Thursday via e-mail. He even e-mailed me a copy of an ID from Colorado.
Come Friday morning we decided to contact both our bank and our credit card service provider in order to check for proof of funds transfer before FedEx arrived. To our surprise, we hadn't received anything. I sent the reverend an e-mail and informed him that there had been a problem with his credit card and asked if he could contact me as soon as possible.
When FedEx arrived, we de-clined to release the shipment and soon after that I received a phone call from another relay operator. I explained what was going on with the credit card and asked if he could pay using a different card. I explained that we couldn't release anything under this type of payment, and I asked if he could possibly either overnight a check or send an electronic wire via Western Union.
But when presented with these different methods, he insisted to still pay with his Visa card. Shortly after I hung up with him, there was a big controversy on how and why would the reverend pick us of all other tire dealerships. I personally wanted to assist him because I believed he was a real man of faith and virtue. My younger brother felt nervous about the whole idea. My father, on the other hand, felt torn between both thoughts.
It wasn't until recently that we figured out the how and the why. We could have been the next victims of this scam and sustained a substantial financial loss.
On behalf of Family Tires and myself, we would like to say “thanks” to your publication. By keeping us, the tire businesses of America, informed, we were able to save our genuine efforts, our time and a great deal of money.
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In regards to the Jan. 31 story and editorial on being wary of orders and credit card scams, I received a similar phone call asking me to ship 12 Goodyear RT/S P265/75R16 tires worth about $1,200 to an Illinois address.
I became very suspicious when I kept asking for an exact address to ship them. They could not give the address.
Plus, when I kept asking if they wanted any type of load rating, they didn't know what I meant. They claimed the other person ordering the tires was hearing impaired.
After reading this article I will now be very suspicious in the future about similar calls. You should run this article again!
Best Auto & Tire Center Inc.
Little Canada, Minn.
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I'm responding to your “Scammers” article. We had an employee of a customer of ours charge new tires to that account. He had worked for them for years.
After the company called about the invoice, that's when we found out he had been fired three months earlier. We learned an $800 lesson.
Perry Tire Co.
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The same type of scams as described in Tire Business was done to my company, but the caller claimed to be deaf and used a telephone operator as a translator.
The purchase was for $2,500, and the customer said he would send someone for the tires. I didn't think it was a good thing to take the credit card number over the phone but did anyway. Later that day I called Visa and they told me it was a credit card number from England, though the customer was from North Carolina.
I cancelled the order and voided the credit card transaction.
If this helps anyone, be wary of any credit card transactions over the phone. I currently don't take orders over the phone because of this.
MC Distributing Inc.
Tribute to ‘Coach'
It was with mixed emotions that I read your tribute to “The Coach,” Bill Dimalanta, in the Feb. 28 issue of Tire Business.
I was very pleased to read reporter Lisa Aichlmayr's nice article, and I was saddened at the thought of never being with the Coach again.
I first met Bill about 30 years ago when I was with Big O Tires Inc., at that time a small retail chain. We brought him in to help with training and were immediately wowed by his energy and many unusual ideas. Bill was a guy who never met a person he didn't like, and he left his mark on thousands of people over the years.
Any of your readers who did not know the Coach missed knowing a giant. Most important, he was truly a good guy.
I am proud to count myself as one of his friends and will never forget him or his lovely wife and partner Alice. I can see their faces as I write this, and I am sending them my love.
Tire Retread Information Bureau Pacific Grove, Calif.