PlanetJune Craft Blog

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a warning for craft businesses

I received an e-mail from a potential customer yesterday:

I writes you because I would like to make the fuzzy bears because my daughter finds him(it) very beautiful. I wanted to buy you the model but regrettably I have not paypal. you would have another method of payment to give me. I can for example if you give me your banking coordinates to be made a transfer.

I replied back with my alternate payment options (cash, cheque, money order), and received this in response:

Thank you for your answer. To be able to make the payment on-line, I need your IBAN address, or your N of account as well as the coordinates of your bank.

Giving this person the benefit of the doubt (sounds like English isn’t their first language), I replied back again to reiterate that they may also send me payment by mail. I then received another reply:

I understands that it you frightened we never know what can arrive. But I promises you that my attentions are not bad. I ask you for that because I have a paypal nor credit card and the only means for me to pay your model which I wish enormously remain the on-line payment from my bank to your bank. I shall send you the proof of payment by email. I can so tried to make the payment if you give me only the IBAN.

Now, there is a chance that this person is genuine, but by this point I strongly suspect that this is a personalized phishing scam! This is a far cry from the standard random spam e-mails claiming the sender will give you a million dollars for helping them to move money into the country – someone has gone to some trouble to e-mail me directly, even using details of one of my patterns (fuzzy bear) to sound more genuine.

I just wanted to warn other people who sell online to beware this kind of scam. Never, ever, give out your bank account details!

17 Comments »

  1. Debbie said

    Good for you for not giving in to this person. There are so many mean people out there and unfortunately, I think this is one of them. 🙁

    Thanks for the warning.

  2. Cocoa said

    Creepy! You are so right about not giving out your information like that. There is no reason that a genuine buyer could not use your alternate methods of payment.

  3. Mia said

    I recently got 2 orders with pretty much the same wording, I cracked up when I read them thinking “are you serious?” and then responded with I can only accept paypal…needless to say, one of them signed up for paypal and I didn’t ever hear anything back from the other one.

    Thanks for the heads up June!

  4. stephanie said

    I’m so glad you caught on to the idea that this is a scam. I work in the financial industry and you would be surprised by how many people this sort of thing happens to. Fraudsters are getting more sophisticated and smart, and we must remain smarter than they are. Good job on catching this and not losing who knows how much money!!

  5. Wow! It is a shame that people do this. It makes it so hard to trust anyone these days.

    Thanks for the info!

  6. Kylie said

    Yes I think they might of seemed a bit too pushie, glade u didnt give any info out!

  7. futuregirl said

    All someone needs to withdraw money from your account is your bank account number and your bank’s routing number. Of course, they are supposed to have your written authorization for the withdrawal, but it they are scammers, they aren’t too worried about having to comply with laws.

    Thanks for educating people about this! 🙂

  8. Donna said

    wow.. sneaky people out there. Glade you didn’t fall for it!

  9. Marmadaisy said

    I don’t know about in the US, but in the UK this information is printed on any cheque you send out anyway.

  10. Jillian said

    Thanks for getting the word out. NEVER give any random person your bank account information. That is just common sense, haha.

    to marmadaisy, yes, the numbers are on our checks in the US as well, but most people keep their checks out of sight and in a safe place. I always have that fear of people stealing my information at the credit card companies, etc, (because the numbers are on the bill payment slips) but if that happened they would more than likely get caught, and fired. That is why you are supposed to shred all important information before you throw it in the trash. In addition to that, keep a close eye on all of your accounts to make sure there are no fraudulant charges. If you find any, report them immediately, as well as take measures to stop the crook.

  11. val said

    you are so right in not giving in. On the off chance they were genuine, they would’ve been able to work it out. Just not worth the risk……….good for you

  12. Jen said

    In Europe, paying for things using one’s IBAN (International Bank Account Number) is how things are done. In North America, we call it “wiring money”.

    Essentially, the emailer wanted to deposit money in your account via a wire transfer.

  13. Jen said

    I meant to add that accepting a wire transfer in the US generally costs a fairly hefty transaction fee. The last one I received (to help a friend in Germany do business with an American vendor) cost me twenty bucks.

  14. Brandi said

    No matter what, if it isn’t a standard way of doing business for you, then don’t make such concessions, as that is where fraud finds a way to occur. Whether or not this person was legitimate, it is best to be safe than sorry.

    There are many payment systems out there that allow someone to transfer money to you without using your direct banking information, even if the transactions is between countries, so I highly recommend the approach you took, June.

    I accept multiple forms of payment and giving out my banking information is not one of them. Even if the account info is deposit-only, I just don’t recommend it.

  15. Andrea said

    It’s an odd way to do business, but most companies print out their invoices with their banking info right on it – the IBAN, BIC/SWIFT code, bank name and address, etc. It may sound a bit odd, but I live in Austria (I’m Canadian) and I deal with this type of banking each day. The IBAN is the International Bank Account Number. In Europe we have the IBAN and BIC/SWIFT but in the USA you have your account number and ABA. Most Europeans do not realize that IBAN codes are only in Europe (and not all European countries either!).

  16. mhairi said

    While I don’t sell online I do buy through eBay. I have a separate bank account for this, so you transfer into this from your regular account, transfer the money to the seller and then it is empty (and I welcome anyone to try to transfer a zero balance for profit:))
    You could do the same as a seller, most banks don’t charge for internal transfer between personal accounts.

    • June said

      Thanks for your feedback, Mhairi. Unfortunately it wouldn’t help as a seller, as it’s PayPal who are cancelling the transaction, not the buyer. PayPal can always reverse a transaction and charge the amount to your credit card if you’ve already withdrawn the funds from your PayPal account. But I’m happy to hear you’ve implemented your own buyer protection policy!

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