Heartland Being Hit by Telephone Scam
It appears the marketing scam that has been reported along the East coast
and now into the southwest has also hit the country's midsection, though
as has been reported by other shops, the script and modus operandi are
Tim Janssen with Janssen Mirror & Glass in Shawnee, Kan., reported
to glassBYTEs.com that his company has been contacted multiple times over
the last three weeks by persons requesting to order glass for cross country
or international shipping, usually 30-50 pieces 30-inches by 30-inches
"We were suspicious almost immediately. It just didn't sound right.
I figured they had [to have] a glass shop locally that they could buy
from," Janssen said.
What set Janssen's experience apart from those that have reported the
calls to glassBYTEs.com is the final destination of the glass; he has
received requests for glass to be shipped domestically.
"The first two calls wanted us to ship [the glass] domestically -to
Minnesota and the other wanted us to ship it out West," he told glassBYTEs.com
in a telephone interview from his office.
The first couple of calls of this sort made to Janssen Mirror & Glass
were made through the TTY relay devices, but the company has also received
direct calls. Janssen told glassBYTEs.com that the last time he spoke
with a gentleman on this kind of call, when he pressed for more information,
he was told "it didn't matter where [the caller] was, he needed the
glass immediately." Once the callers established that the shop accepts
credit cards, the persons requesting the glass then started contacting
the shop via email.
As with the other reported scams of this nature, Janssen told glassBYTEs.com
that the person initiating the contact provided a credit card number and,
already suspicious, Janssen discovered to have been stolen and the account
frozen when he called the bank holding the card.
Janssen also told glassBYTEs.com that when he made contact with the person
who provided him the credit card number and explained that the credit
card had been declined, the person immediately provided him with another
credit card number. Janssen said he repeated the process of contacting
the bank and was told the second number, too, was also stolen and the
account frozen for "suspicious charges."
A quick check with other glass shops in the area and Janssen found that
he was far from the only one receiving the calls; at least five or six
others had been contacted by the same group and though Janssen called
his local police department to report the scam, he was told there was
little the local police could do to help, especially if those instigating
the scam were, in fact, overseas.
Meanwhile, the same group has not given up targeting glass shops in New
England. Donna Guiel of Guiel Auto Glass in East Hartford, Conn., reported
to glassBYTEs.com that her shop has started receiving the calls again.
Guiel was one of the first to contact the news organization with information
about the scam, and she said that this time the callers are requesting
laminated glass. To try to get a feel for the call and see if it was legitimate,
Guiel said she asked the caller-who was using a TTY relay machine-how
many pieces of glass were being ordered and said the person told her only
one lite of glass was needed However, when it came to placing an order,
the caller wanted 50 lites of glass.
Guiel told glassBYTEs.com that she was never asked for a price quote on
the glass but they requested her fax number and she provided them with
an email address.
"I asked how this would be picked up...I never did get an answer
to this question. They wanted my fax #, I gave them my e-mail address
and advised them that I would need to verify the integrity of this order
due to an ongoing scam in the industry. Next thing I know they are talking
t-shirts. It was not long before the caller hung up," Guiel said.