Printing Scams Make Their Rounds on Web —Michelson
The estimators-turned-detectives also directed me to some Web posts where similar examples of this type of scam aimed at printers were detailed. Perhaps even more insidious, I found a link to another site, detailing the African Puppy Scam, where dog lovers seeking new puppies recounted various horror stories. They had fallen victim to supposed U.S. missionaries who indicated that they had just relocated to Africa. And, because these missionaries were so busy helping the less fortunate, they could no longer care for the beloved puppies they had brought overseas with them. Thus, the puppies were available for free (only to good homes, of course) if the new owners just paid the shipping charges up front via Western Union. In one post, a poor guy even revealed how some of the money earmarked to help pay for his wife's upcoming organ transplant had been swindled away in his attempt to surprise her before the operation with a new puppy. Various e-mail scams—including well-known ones that have made the rounds, such as the Nigerian government official or royalty seeking help to access their fortunes tied up in a bank account—have been traced to Internet cafes throughout Africa.
Perhaps one printer summed it up best in an Internet post to a fellow owner who nearly fell victim to a printing scam: "Keep your eyes open, and remember that if it smells like sh*t, looks like sh*t...it will taste like sh*t, too." Do you know of anyone (yourself included) who's been duped by similar fraud? We'd love to hear about it to pass along, so the same misfortune doesn't happen to somebody else. Rest assured; all names will be changed to protect the innocent, and to not add injury to insult.
In these tough times, with printers struggling to fill idle press time, and thus more likely to bid on and produce a job that comes in over the Web from an unknown party, it's disheartening to hear of e-mail scammers targeting our industry. After all, it's hard enough to please finicky graphic artists let alone worry about falling prey to scam artists. PI