Monday, September 28, 2009

Fishy business

There is a new scam going around. Con artists pretend to be deaf so they can use the Internet Relay Service. I'm not exactly sure why they do this unless it is to confuse the merchant a little bit and "Dyer" was very confusing to deal with.

Dyer called on Saturday night when we were very busy, and said she was getting married on Tuesday and needed 200 orders of tofu Pad Thai. It is not uncommon for people to order some food from many different restaurants so that did not seem very unusual but I was very busy and asked Dyer to please use her email to make the arrangements. That is when things got very confusing.

Thanks for the conversation via phone here is my order Okay fine,I have a wedding coming up on the 30th of Sep and I have some In-laws from my Hometown in Japan so I will like to order for Pad thai with Tofu for 200 peoples as well and this is a picked up order so it will be picked up by a Private shipper I can give you the card to charge through and I will have my private shipper pick that up at your shop at 3 pm on the aforementioned date.
I awaits your responds back with the total cost of all the order plus tax.

This was not really very confusing because Dyer obviously did not speak English as a first language, and I thought it was possible she was using online Japanese-English translation software. I sent her back a quote and got this reply:

Thanks for getting to me back Am so glad having your letter here with me and I like how you have selected the dishes for me and I will say The total price sounds good but before I can get you my credit card to pay for the grand total of the order,I would like for you to add $750 plus the total price of the order so that you can have all that charged on my credit card now and you will have the $750 sent to the private shipper agent in cash via western union Money Transfer as it is the fastest and safest way to receive Money and for them to be able to come for the pick up with their warmer truck so can you add it all and let me have the total price inclusive of the tax fee all together so that I can get you my credit card for you to have the total cost charged on it I will also like to know maybe you accept discovery credit card as payment.
I awaits your responds back.
OK, now it was starting to get kind of weird. $750 for shipping? Even if Dyer was getting married in outstate Minnesota I could not imagine the delivery costing that much. 200 orders of tofu Pad Thai is a lot of Pad Thai, but it would easily fit in the trunk of a car without having to stack any of the containers. I tried to get more information from Dyer and got this very strange email:

Thanks for getting to me back and sorry its takes me so long to reply back all i mean in the last mail was I like the price you putting down for me and am pled with it and I know U don't deliver thats why am setting my shipping my self with a private shipper and I would be glad if u can run the extra charges for me for the shipper to be able to come to pick the food and the total charges will be run on my credit card and as soon as my card is Thru with you the funds for the shipper will be wired them via western union money Transfer then they will get the funds cleared in western union near them so they would able to come to pick the foods up.
I awaits your responds back.
Like the stretch of highway between Chantaburi and Bangkok where all the fish sauce factories are, this was starting to smell very fishy to me. I asked Dyer for more information again.

Thanks for your e-mail How are you doing How was your day like and hope all is well with you there I agree all the cost of all the amount you want to put on my credit card and you will have the card run manually Here is the credit card information for you to run for the total cost of the shipper fee as well here is the card info below :

Name on Card : Dyer XXXX
Card Type : Discovery Card
Card Number : XXXXX
Card Exp : 01/2013

As soon as you run the credit card and it approved for the total cost of the towing and the storage charges with the shipper fee I will want you to go ahead and wire the 750$ to the Shipper via WESTERN UNION so they can be ready to pick the cars up from Texas and shipped them down to you also here is there info to send the money to below:

Name : XXXXX
Address : XXXXX
City : Rosharon
State : Texas
Zip Code : 77583

As soon as you wired the money you e-mail the MTCN NUMBER AND THE SENDER'S FULL NAME AND ADDRESS so i can forward to the shipper so they can get the money cleared off the way and get the food picked on the event day by 3pm.

I awaits your respond..

I read this, saw the Texas address and thought, "good, this is not Anna's problem. Dyer thinks we are the True Thai restaurant in El Paso!" 200 orders of tofu Pad Thai is a lot of business but I was getting very tired of dealing with the very confusing Dyer. I wrote her back and told her we were in Minnesota and I was sure she wanted to put her order in with the True Thai restaurant in El Paso.

Thanks for contacting me back Yes I Understand they are already in Minnesota so they will be moving the foods in days time to Texas.
There is fishy, and then there is the smell that comes from the garbage dumpster behind the fish sauce factory. This did not smell like any kind of fish I wanted any part of. Tofu Pad Thai does not travel well, at least not when you drive from Minneapolis to Texas!

I did not reply to Dyer again. Instead I called the Discover credit card people who found Dyer's story to be very interesting and similar to other stories they have been hearing. It was a valid credit card number, but the name did not match, the expiration date did not match, and the CVV number was wrong.

I do not think I just ruined a wedding reception in Rosharon, Texas. And even if they had tried this scam on the True Thai in El Paso, Rosharon is just south of Galveston which is 677 miles away from El Paso! I do not think the other True Thai restaurant's tofu Pad Thai would travel any better than ours.

But this was not a total loss. At least I got a blog post out of it!