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Small Business SCAMS

Posted on November 28 2015

I believe that most people are really good people, willing to help in any situation. I think it is our nature to trust people until they give you a good reason not to. Unfortunately, there are some people that just want to take advantage of your good will or in a small business, the excitement of potential new business. There are groups of people that work together to SCAM small businesses, like one that contacted us via a message on our website during Thanksgiving week. The email was from a "BENJAMIN QUINN" supposedly from The Netherlands wanting to purchase a reasonably large amount of our products for his shop. He asked if we could ship internationally and then requested that we send him an invoice for the items EXCLUDING shipping. He said that he would pay the online invoice with his credit card.

Fortunately, it is the policy of Summer Shade Soap Company to verify that ANY new wholesale account is an actual business. I responded to Benjamin with asking for his business license, etc. and of course, had no reply. I believe his scam was to pay for the product with a stolen credit card and then arrange for a fake delivery, through inland express shipping. Benjamin would pay for the products and then tell us to pay upfront for the shipping expenses and then he would supposedly reimburse us for shipping. I did some online research about scams like this and many small businesses have fallen prey to these SCAMS and for some businesses it forced them to close. One instance was a company that was paid for the products but they did pay upfront for $6,000.00 in shipping that was never reimbursed. Small businesses many times are operating on a very small budget and for this company, they were not able to take this kind of financial loss and had to close their doors.

It is very sad that some people strive to profit by taking advantage of others but it happens everyday. We receive emails like the one from Benjamin Quinn every few months. The allure of selling products internationally is sometimes to much for some small businesses to resist, but PLEASE be WARNED and check out ALL businesses before committing to doing business with them. Red flags to look for, these SCAMS do not ask questions like; 1) How much do our products wholesale and resale for, 2) What are some of our best sellers, 3) What are our credit policies, etc.  ALL legitimate businesses will be happy and expect to send you their business credentials (ie. copies of business license and resale certificates). Our personal policy is that we handle the shipping for at least the first 3 orders, then once we are sure that we are working with a real business, we can negotiate issues like credit and shipping. All of our new wholesale orders MUST be paid upfront, including shipping and the payment has to clear our account before any inventory leaves our building.

SCAMS like this are common occurrences in both our business and personal lives. Be smart and safe this holiday season. NEVER give anyone your credit card information, personal banking information or social security numbers over the phone. NO REAL COMPANY will EVER call to request this information over the phone. Check out all inquires over the phone or online. Ask questions and get verification of their credentials. Just use common sense and protect yourself.

Peace,

Janet

9 comments

  • Sabine: October 26, 2016

    So glad I found this article! I too was the target of this scammer. This time his name is Benjamin Egbert. Email: derokstores@gmail.com
    I did not fulfill the order, but could sense it was fishy. I had to do quite a bit of work to estimate weight and volume of shipment, but this was great practice, as we are a young company shipping domestically only so far. I knew in my heart of hearts that he would ask me to pay for shipment (and I had specifically stated that all payments must go through Paypal and freight forwarder cost would NOT be handled by my company) … Of course he asked if I could pay freight forwarder directly. So is the freight forwarder part of the scam? Should I alert anyone else of this? Please advise…

  • Sylvia Brade: August 22, 2016

    Hi folks, we’re a small candle company in Ontario, Canada and got the same message as described by you from “Benjamin Nicolaas” . So first, we want to say thank you for posting this! You saved us from potentially a significant financial loss and headache. We are so appreciative that you shared your story!! So, we want to add our experience. Benjamin was interested in placing a significant order with us (I’ll post his original email below. ), but our spidey senses started to go when he was giving us a little run around with the shipping- and his emails became more urgent and in all caps. That’s when we googled, and found your experience. Thank you again so much for posting. We’re only a couple years into our business, so this share has been a big eye-opener and we hope we can help keep this thread current, so others avoid being scammed too! Our response to him upon reading your experience is directly below, and his original email to us below that. THANK YOU AGAIN!!! The Fired Up Girls, Sylvie and Robin

    Hi Benjamin!
    You had us going for a little bit, but you are going to have to up your game. We are not interested in further communication from you. Just a thought, maybe try making money in a legal way in the future.
    https://summer-shade-soap-company.myshopify.com/blogs/summershadesoap-atom/80450180-small-business-scams
    Best wishes,
    Sylvie and Robin
    (original email)
    Hello
    I want to place an order from you to our store in The Netherlands. I want to know if you c an ship here and accept MASTER OR VISA CREDIT CARD as a form of payment. Reply back asap.
    Thanks
    Benjamin Nicolaas

    The next one:
    Hello,
    Thanks for your reply back. Its a pleasure receiving your reply back. I’m so sorry for the delay in response to you. We have been traveling to shows like crazy these last few weeks and catching up. I want to order for the below items for my customer’s here, I want you to reply back with the total cost EXCLUSIVE shipping quote. We’re ready and can’t wait to receive these wonderful products if yours here.
    Your utmost reply back with the total quote will be highly appreciated.

    INTERNATIONAL ORDER INQUIRY
    bencobeautystore@hotmail.com

  • Tammy Adams: August 21, 2016

    Just received an email from a Benjamin Nicholaas in the Netherlands, wanting to buy our products for his store…the email is bencobeautystore. I was wondering if anyone had this name pop up.

  • Anne: August 19, 2016

    Oh my! I’m so glad I found this article! I got the same message and thought it was very fishy. Benjamin Quinn is now Benjamin Nicolaas from the Netherlands too and his new “shop” is now “Benco Beauty Store”. This is the first time in 5 years online this happens to me. Phew! Thanks Janet!

  • Janet: January 31, 2016

    Hey Everyone, I just wanted to add a few updates. I guess because it is the beginning of a New Year, the scammers are out in force. This week alone we have received several inquiries through our website contact form. They are from Cindy Megane, megane@europe.com, she states that she is from Belgium and the other ones I just deleted. All of these inquiries ask if we can ship internationally and accept credit card as a form of payment? Then states once we confirm that we can ship internationally and accept credit cards, “we can proceed further”. At one time, I responded to these emails asking for their business credentials to no avail. Now, when I receive one “of these” emails, I just reply “No!” and that is the end of it. Trust me, don’t waste a moment of your time and money with these scammers! You will regret and many have fallen prey and lost thousands of dollars. Don’t be one of those people!

  • Alex: December 21, 2015

    Hello Janet,
    Had exactly the same situation. Here’s an email that I received:
    Name: Benjamin Quinn
    Email: pnsbeautystore@hotmail.com
    Phone:
    Body: Hello
    I want to place an order from you to our store in The Netherlands. I want to know if you can ship here and accept MASTER OR VISA CREDIT CARD as a form of payment. Reply back asap.
    Thanks
    Benjamin Quinn
    Pick ‘N’ Smile Beauty Store

    Found your article on the first page, after Googling it.
    Thanks for saving my time :)

  • Janet: December 13, 2015

    I am glad that we have been able to help prevent some others from this scam and ones like it. The biggest piece of advice that I can give anyone that is questioning a potential order is to make it your company policy to require a copy of a business license or a copy of their resale certificate plus payment upfront, that clears your bank, before making any shipments! WE ALSO HAVE SET UP OUR OWN ACCOUNTS WITH UPS, FED EX, ETC. On initial orders, we require that the shipment goes through our account and that the shipping costs be paid before shipment is made. Once we have established a working business relationship (maybe 3 successful orders) we can then AND ONLY THEN negotiate new terms. We do have some wholesale customers that we do ship to “the receiver” to their UPS account BUT we have already been doing business with them for awhile! JUST BE CAREFUL. It is better to loose a little business by being cautious than losing your business!

  • Sweet Sophia LLC: December 11, 2015

    We also were solicited by Benjamin Quinn from “Pick ‘n’ Smile Beauty Store” in the Netherlands. What seemed like a wonderful opportunity, started to seem too good to be true. Before we got too far down the road with Mr. Quinn, we did a couple of quick searches and found everything we needed to know about international shipping scams.

  • Karen Hoffman: December 10, 2015

    Thank you so much for writing this. I just got a request from this same “person” requesting a large order. I told my husband it sounded fishy. He did some research and came across this posting. You have saved me from the trouble of dealing with this. I appreciate it.

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