*NEWS*IT’s IN THE MAIL…BUT WHAT IS IT?

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*NEWS*IT’s IN THE MAIL…BUT WHAT IS IT?

 user 2007-02-28 at 11:22:00 am Views: 60
  • #17372

    It’s in the mail, but what is it?
    It’s
    the old graymarket toner scam, with a twist. Local businesses are
    getting bamboozled by fraudulent companies out to make a quick buck.
    It’s a scam, and unwitting employees of small businesses are the
    target. The victims are small business owners who end up with bills
    they have no idea whether to pay.Then the threats start. Collections, a
    word no one with a credit report wants to hear muttered, is thrown
    around like a sword falling from the sky.Here’s how it happens. An
    employee picks up the phone. On the other end is a pushy so-and-so
    asking for the owner. The owner isn’t in? The caller just needs to
    confirm the address in order to ship office supplies said owner
    ordered. If the employee utters the digits, the callers have their
    confirmation and the products and bills are on the way, bills that are
    usually two to three times the amount of what the product can be
    purchased for at a legitimate office supplies retailer.Nancy Gonzales
    knows this scam too well. She has been at the receiving end of it more
    times than she wants to tally, and it took her a while to catch on.
    Nancy does the books for her and her husband Gus’ businesses El
    Jacalito and The Hacienda restaurants. So far they have been charged
    for a Yellow Pages advertisement that never appeared, staplers and the
    most recent, the one she caught on to, paper and ribbon for the credit
    card machine.The callers are sneaky, Nancy says. Often they will call
    first to find out the manager’s or owners’ names. Then they will call
    back days later to fish around to find out what credit card machine the
    business uses. If different people answer the phone each time, bingo,
    the company has the set up it needs.The companies set up their phone
    lines so that incoming calls are blocked. And they represent themselves
    as office supply companies the businesses normally deal with, but that
    is not the company named on the invoice.“If you don’t see it, you don’t
    review it, you will just pay it,” Nancy says. But now Nancy is on to
    them. She did her research, and what she found out is that if she
    receives items she did not order, she does not need to pay. And she
    cannot legally be sent to collections.Dani McGee, owner of Dani McGee’s
    Mountain Fitness Center, dealt with a similar situation. A 16-year-old
    employee answered the phone when a telemarketer called and asked if she
    was authorized to make purchases. The employee said yes, even though
    she wasn’t authorized. McGee ended up with a charge on her Verizon
    phone bill for Web services and advertising she did not authorize.“They
    were a legitimate company, but their practices were not,” McGee says.
    She got the charges reversed, but not without a fight.The Federal Trade
    Commission is on victims’ sides. The agency knows about the scams and
    can help businesses, churches, fraternal and charitable organizations
    from losing money to phony office supply firms. The FTC has
    suggestions.To file a complaint with the FTC or receive free
    information about consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free
    877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357). The FTC tracks the information in the
    Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of
    civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the United States and
    abroad.

    Ordering ink cartridges can be suspect
    Our
    government appears to be omnipresent in its concern for our safety.
    Today I ordered three printer ink cartridges from a nationally-known
    computer firm. After taking my information, the representative said, “I
    must now ask you several questions.”… “Will this ink be used by you?”
    and “Will it be used at this address?” and finally, “What will this ink
    be used for?” Unaware of other than one use for a computer printer ink
    cartridge, I attempted a ridiculous joke, asking if he thought I was
    designing a bomb. He replied solemnly that ink contains potential bomb
    making chemicals and for that he was required to pose his
    questions.With visions of Jack Bauer at my door, or maybe even
    extraordinary rendition, I hastened to assure him of the purity of my
    intentions and begged him not to call the CIA or FBI. He assured me
    that he wouldn’t, but I surmised that all purchasers of ink cartridges
    who answered these questions are honor bound not to use them to make
    bombs. I now will sleep more soundly knowing that my government is ever
    thinking of new ways to protect me, even some that seem a little, well,
    curious.