Watch out balloon popping FRAUDSTERS are about!

Watch out balloon popping FRAUDSTERS are about!

Money box balloon surprise MelbourneRecently our business became the target of fraud! Luckily for us the fraudster in question was no Charles Ponzi and after picking up on a few tell-tale signs we have managed to avoid handing over our hard earned money to the alleged criminal.

Our suspicions were confirmed when we were contacted by Victoria Police who informed us that they have apprehended an individual who has managed to dupe our not so lucky fellow small business owners in the South East Melbourne area and were investigating a number of transactions made with stolen credit cards. The businesses targeted were mainly florists in the Melbourne area who provide the option to insert a cash into a gift box. As far as we are aware we were the only 🎈 🎯.

The "Modus Operandi"

The fraudster ordered our money tree surprise box and then contacted us with a trust building story about his travels from Sydney to surprise his nephew. During the conversation the fraudsters requested to deposit $2000 into the surprise box but unlike most customers who transfer the funds to avoid the GST and transition fees he insisted on paying with a credit card. Initially we found this suspicious but advised him that we will accept $2000 plus GST and merchant fees. He immediately agreed. A red flag went up as we sometimes lose customers over a shipping fee to the next suburb, yet this individual was prepared to drop $$$ in fees. He claimed to not have internet banking in the age where every second courier is a self styled Wolf of Crypto and almost anything can be bought with the tap of a smart phone/watch. At this point we became even more suspicious and decided to test out, in a subtle way, how well he knew his nephew and how good his memory was. We asked the "generous uncle" to clarify the personalised message he made when ordering the money tree surprise box to his nephew and he stumbled in his answer and started beating around the bush! We then went further and asked to confirm the spelling of his nephews name, which seemed to be a rare one, and the fraudster was not able to do so! The ⏰⏰⏰ bells were clearly ringing by this point and we decided to cancel the order and refund the money to the 💳 from which payment was made. We asked this suspicious character to call us before doing so. 

The Call

During the call we have asked the alleged crim to provide a copy of his driver's licence to process the refund and he apparently left it in NSW from where he drove over 800km. We figured that that the story about NSW etc was starting to crumble as most driver's or air travellers would have an ID document on hand. 

The fraudster had the tenacity to coerce us to transfer the refund to him or hand over the cash anyway as it will take too long for him to receive a refund from his bank if we cancel the credit card transaction and he urgently needed to make a present to his unknown nephew and apparently used his last $2000 to do so in this transaction. After advising the alleged crim that we will process the refund to the 💳 used to place the order we have not heard from him again. 

According to the Police, many small businesses eager to make a sale fell for this silver tongued character and there is a raft of small business victims across south east Melbourne who have been duped of thousands of dollars. 

To prevent your business from falling victim to frauds like this check out the useful links we found after researching this issue from NAB, VISA and Xero. Your vigilance is your best defence to Gregor MacGregor wannabes trying to sell you land in Poyais or otherwise take your honest $$$. 

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