International Door & Operator Industry

JUL-AUG 2013

Garage door industry magazine for garage door dealers, garage door manufacturers, garage door distributors, garage door installers, loading docks, garage door operators and openers, gates, and tools for the door industry.

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LegaL&LegisLation By Brian J. Schoolman Safran Law Offces I n May of this year, IDA past president, Jim Lett received two different e-mails purporting to be placing orders for bulk quantities of construction supplies. One e-mail sought to order 40 pieces of tempered glass of varying thicknesses. The other was to order fve garage doors. Both e-mails indicated payment would be by credit card. Fortunately, Jim didn't try to fll either order, because if he had, he probably would have found himself out hundreds or thousands of dollars of product. The e-mails in question are the latest iteration of a long-running credit card scam. Typically someone will e-mail a company asking to purchase large quantities or amounts of products by credit card. Often they will ask that the products be shipped using a shipping company, and sometimes even that they be shipped to a foreign country. The credit cards used for these transactions are almost always stolen. As a result, the selling company either ends up having the transaction reversed or frozen, but after having already sold and/or shipped the materials. This type of activity in the door and access systems industry as well as others has been reported on at least as far back as 2006. Reports of numerous door dealers having been defrauded by scammers have been made. These scams claimed to be orders on behalf of churches or charities trying to purchase garage doors in places like Hawaii, Alaska, and even Ghana. However, in many instances, the telephone number actually links to a phone service for the deaf, where the "caller" on the other side keys in remarks into a computer, and those remarks get relayed by the operator to the dealer over the phone. This method has the appearance of there being a real customer on the other side of the call, but actually permits a layer of anonymity for working the fraud. There were several other problems with the requests of that version of the scam. For one, the shipping company would refuse to accept credit card payment, so the dealer was asked to charge hundreds of dollars extra, and then wire that same amount in cash. The credit card would run, because it was a real, but stolen card. But ultimately, the cards would be reported as stolen, and the transactions would be challenged. The dealers who took out the cash and sent it forward would be out those hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and the police would be unable or unwilling to do much to solve the crimes. A year later, a similar wave of e-mails started hitting dealers. One such scammer claimed to be purchasing doors for missionaries in West Africa. Again, the person claimed to be hearing impaired, which necessitated communicating through e-mail. The dealer refused to consummate the transaction without getting more information, including a phone number and a specifc delivery address, and the scammer abandoned his efforts. In the past few years, the scams have continued, even if the mechanics have evolved. Some e-mailers simply Continued on page 13 10 International Door & Operator Industryâ„¢

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