Attention business owners! This scam has been going around for quite a while, targeting multiple types of businesses in the service industry. Recently massage therapists and Estheticians have also started receiving these types of messages.
I finally got one! I was excited. I didn't respond for a couple of days because I wasn't sure how I was going to handle it. I had most of the day off, so I decided to waste as much of this guy's time as I possibly could. The more time he spends on me, the less time he'll have trying to scam someone that doesn't know the end game. And, honestly, because I find it incredibly entertaining.
Enjoy! For the record, I do not recommend doing this yourself. Playing around with scammers is risky. Never, ever, ever do business with someone you don't know and trust. I also would never be this rude to a legitimate client!
At this point, if I actually ran this credit card, the transaction would go through. I would send the extra money to him. Then, in a few days, the sale would be reversed because the actual owner of the credit card would have reported fraudulent charges and canceled their card, and I would be responsible for the loss of the extra $650 I transferred to him, as well as any overdraft fees from the bank.
Knowing not to actually run this card, I called Visa and waited on hold for about ten minutes. The Visa representative who finally answered did not seem to understand the situation right away and finally told me to contact Chase Bank, who issued the card. She gave me an 800 number to call, which asked me to participate in a survey to see if I was eligible for a $25 gift card. I was not. It told me to hang up. I did.
I wasn't done, though. I found a different 800 number for Chase directly from their website and sat through their phone directory before I finally got to a human. Again, the confusion from the representative was high. She finally understood what was happening and transferred me to a different rep. He was very insistent that he could not discuss the account without a primary account holder. I said I didn't want any information, I was trying to give information.
I explained the scam, gave the phone number, account number, and (fake) email address. He said thank you about 5 times and said the information would go directly to their security team.
I told him I still had the guy believing I was going to run this card, and asked him if he wanted me to tell the scammer that the card was declined and ask for another number. He sounded surprised and said it wouldn't be necessary. I'm tempted to do it anyway.
Moral of the story? If it seems too good to be true, it is. If the person contacting you asks for information they should already know, like your address, name, or the cost of your services, it's a scam. If they want you to do any sort of money transfer for them, it's a scam.
I feel like I've gained some positive karma points today. I'm also very much looking forward to the next scammer that thinks they can trick me. Bring it on!
Spread the word!
I ended up getting two more credit card numbers from this guy and attempted to report them stolen to their banks. Nobody at either bank seemed to care about the details of the scam, just took the numbers and marked them as stolen. They didn't want any more information, didn't care that this was a rampant problem in the service industry. Thanks, banks.