Scams Continue to Abound in Auto Glass Industry
August 20, 2009

Several industry representatives have recently reported possible scams to™/AGRR magazine in hopes of warning others to protect them from such efforts. One reader in Farmington, N.M., was contacted by a person who claimed to be deaf and called via IP operator, and then followed up with an e-mail requesting 60 pieces of table top glass for a "church ministry in Alaska."

"They wanted us to ship this material to a location they were not at, and bill the material on two different credit cards," says Corey Freeman, sales manager for Sun Glass in Farmington, N.M. "We told them they would have to arrange the shipping of the material, so they had another e-mail that came to us from their shipping company."

Freeman then received an e-mail from a company called Paml_2 Freight, asking to schedule the day and time for pick-up. In this e-mail, the freight company advised that the original customer would pay the glass shop for shipping via credit card, and the glass company would be required to pay the freight company via wire transfer to an account in the name of Salis Aminu in Ghana. Freeman says he believes both e-mails came from the same person. The Los Angeles address provided for the freight company could not be linked with a valid location, and no phone number was offered. Freeman ceased contact with the company at this point and tried to seek assistance in stopping such scams from occurring.

"The sad thing is, I talked to the FBI, and there is nothing we can do to stop him from doing it again," says Freeman.

Though Freeman was not able to stop the scam from occurring in the future, he did receive credit card information from the alleged customer, which he reported to the U.S. Secret Service.

"We would like others in the industry to be protected," adds Freeman.

Auto One president David Zoldowksi received a similar e-mail regarding a glass order from his company, which is based in Brighton, Mich. In this e-mail, a gentleman advises he is with the Presbyterian Church "and would like to order the 30-inch by 30-inch by ¼-inch thickness clear glass."

Though Zoldowski quickly recognized the e-mail as a potential scam, his company has several rules in place to prevent such issues. First, the company doesn't offer any quotes to anyone unwilling to provide a name, address and contact information. The company also requires that a billing address is provided when an order is taken; and, finally, the company only sells to customers in the United States and Canada.

"In this particular spin, the glass is common," says Zoldowski, "and why would they contact an out-of-state glass shop?"

In a less common scam, one New York state glass shop owner, who wished to remain unidentified, says he was contacted by an IP operator who claimed to be calling regarding a damaged vehicle needing glass work. The caller advised that the vehicle would need to be towed to his shop and was requesting that the shop pay $1,000 for the tow of the vehicle, and this would be refunded at the conclusion of the repairs, by credit card.

"My answer to this arrangement was the click of my phone being hung up," advised the shop owner.

Has your company been solicited by any potential scammers? Please e-mail

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