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Avoid The Scams

 

As a business owner, it’s your job to protect your business in every way–especially toward scams.

Scams come in many different forms, such as phone calls, emails, and even through “snail mail.” Here are a couple of things you should know to protect yourself against scams.

Phone Calls

In a lot of cases, scammers are very sneaky and really make you think they are real. They can say they are from a reputable company like Google or Yahoo, and most of the time they know some information about you and your business, like your full name. So, it’s easy to mistake scammers for the real thing. Here are some ways to weed out those scammers:

  1. Request a signed copy of any promotional materials you allegedly agreed to be faxed to you.
  2. Request a copy of any recording of any phone conversation where you might have agreed to anything.
  3. Request an email with links or further documentation where you would have agreed to anything.

Emails

Scam emails are easier to weed out–especially since your own email provider will have a scam filter. Yet, a couple of these sometimes make it to your main inbox. Here is how to determine if it is a scam:

  1. Broken English- Many of these scams originate outside of the U.S., and the messages can be very choppy. Sometimes, it looks like a fill-in-the-blanks type of text that was copied from a template.
  2. Shipper Agent- This is a tell-tale sign that it is a scam. Why are they paying an outside shipper instead of having you deliver them yourself?

Snail Mail

While paper mail scams may be less common, they do still occur. If you have a website, chances are you have received a solicitation to list your website on search engines. These scams confuse business owners because they come in the form of an invoice. Here are some ways to determine if it is a scam:

  1. Read the fine print. Such scams, like from Web Listings Inc., say in small print that this is not a bill but a solicitation.
  2. Don’t send money to a company you don’t recognize. If you are unsure about the “bill,” give the company a call. Sometimes you will find, like with Web Listings Inc., they don’t have a phone number listed.
  3. Fear of losing visibility on search engines can drive people to pay without questions. Search engines have no problem finding websites new and old, so there is no need to pull out your checkbook without doing some research first.

Information is your best protection against scammers. So stay informed and question everything before you agree to send a check.

Scam Alert: Domain Name Registration Scam

Scam AlertBe aware of this new scam! We have gotten several phone calls in the last two days from florists who received a fake invoice for a domain name renewal through the mail. (Update: Florists area also receiving phone calls requesting payments.)

Florists with FSN websites, as well as those without need to pay close attention to any bill they receive, especially concerning their web domain or hosting. If it looks different or you notice anything unusual, contact your service provider and ask if it is a legitimate bill before paying.

If you have an FSN website, please note that your domain hosting is always FREE, and we take care of the renewals for you. (Click here for more information about FSN Websites)

One florist faxed us a copy of one of these fake bills. They have gone out of their way to make sure it looks real, including business information, fake account number and more. However, if you read closely you will see it says, “This is a solicitation for the order of goods or services, or both, and not a bill, invoice or statement of account due. You are under no obligation to make any payments on account of this offer unless you accept this offer.”

[Read more…]

SCAM ALERT – Email Scam

Just got word from Tim and Sandra Hooper at MaryJane’s Flowers that their email has been hacked and an email saying they need money because they were mugged in England is being sent.

I’m Sorry I didn’t inform you about my trip to the England for a program, I am presently in England, something extremely awful happened to me, I was mugged at gun point on my way to the Hotel by some Hoodlums and they made away with my Bag and other valuables. Presently my things are been held down by the hotel management due to my inability to pay the hotel bills which I currently owe, they even had to restrict my access to the hotel facilitates until outstanding bills are cleared and I don’t have a dime on me again, I had to walk down to the city library in order to send you this email. I have spoken to the embassy here but they are not responding effectively to the matter.

This is shameful, I need you to help me with a loan of $2,600USD to pay my hotels bills and get my self home. I will reiumburse you soon as I get back Home, with all the interest. I will appreciate whatever you can assist me with. Let me know Immediately.

If you receive this email, please contact your florist – where they will be diligently working in their shop.

More scam alerts from the Flower Shop Network blog.

Please, if anyone else comes across this, or any other floral industry scams, let us know so we can warn others by emailing social@flowershopnetwork.com.

Florist Scammers At It Again

Scam AlertI didn’t have to go far to hear this scam was back; they actually sent it to MY email thinking I was a florist! I wanted to warn all florists to stay alert this spring and be aware of scammers who want to take advantage of your business.

You often hear this scam being done through hearing impaired phone service (ttd relay), but also can come via e-mail or any other messaging method. Here is the e-mail scam I received this morning:

Hello This Ben Bruce i will like to order for 8 big bouquets flowers for my UNCLE wedding and i want the price range of $200 per one Approximately 26″ W x 41″ H and the color should be in bright summer color, it will be pick up by a private courier on the 4th of April and want them arranged in vases so can i have the total cost that now so that i can pay with my card now and so can i have yr store address so i can forward it to the shipper agent and i will like you to do me a favor due to my physical disability…

Thanks
Ben

How do I know this is a scam?

1. The broken English. Many of these scams originate outside of the US and the message will be very choppy. The way they’ve typed UNCLE is like they are filling in the blank of some scamming copy template. While not all choppy messages are scams, they should be more carefully examined.

2. The shipper agent. This is the tell tale sign that it is a scam. Why are they paying an outside shipper instead of having you deliver them yourself? This is just too fishy.

If you are unsure if an email or other request is a scam, ask lots of questions! You might even reply back to this guy and explain your own delivery rates. More than likely, you’ll never hear from him again.

More scam alerts from the Flower Shop Network blog.

Please, if anyone else comes across this, or any other floral industry scams, let us know so we can warn others by emailing social@flowershopnetwork.com.

Local Florist Warns Of Valentines Day Scams

Valentines Day Flowers

Spotted one of our great members on the local news warning of the threat of gatherer scams and had to share. (Video Above) Thanks so much to Chappell’s Florist in Burlington VT!

Protecting Yourself From Gatherers on Valentines Day

When it comes to sending flowers, it’s always best to send from a real local florist. Not only do you receive the freshest quality flowers, you are also helping your community thrive. Also, by using a local flower shop directly, you can rest assured you are getting everything you paid for.

As the video points out, searching for a local florist isn’t as easy as typing “City, ST Flowers” into Google. You might live in a town with only 1 flower shop, yet thousands of results are found. Many of these are deceptive middle-men who (1) take your order, (2) take their cut, and (3) pass on an order of lesser value for your local florist to fill. Ordering from a real local florist will ensure you receive the best flower arrangement at the full quality of your purchase.

Flower Shop Network Is Committed To Local

Flower Shop Network is an advocate of real local florists across the US and Canada. You can use the search box at the very top of our site to find a real local florist, we list all of their contact information, as well as links to their website. We do our very best to verify each florist listed on our website is a real florist in a real city, selling real flowers (you’d be surprised).

If you shop via our Shop Flowers, you will be transferred to a local florist’s website to complete your purchase. We have never and will never take a flower order (or any percentage of) away from a florist.

No matter how you find your florist this Valentines Day, just make sure they’re local. Check to see if their address is a real local address. Give them a call to see if they are really in your community. It only takes a few minutes and will ensure you’re Valentines Day flowers are just the way you wanted.

Video via www.fox44now.com

SCAM ALERT – New Telephone Scam

Scam AlertJust got word from the Texas Funeral Directors Association of a new scam going around that is perhaps the most sinister scam we’ve seen since telephone and e-mail scams began over 5 years ago.

A family is contacted by an individual claiming to work for the funeral home, and rudely informs them that they have a balance due on their loved one’s funeral. They are asked to pay immediately by credit or debit card. Our guess is that they get the funeral home information from the obituary and the phone number from the telephone or internet phone directories because the funeral home would not release this information.

Please warn your families, when you are making arrangements, not to be taken in by this scam. The family who reported this had paid in full, but someone who did have a balance might actually pay. Not only do they get taken, but the funeral home gets a bad reputation.

This has started in West Texas, but we know that once a scam takes hold, it can quickly travel across the nation. FSN Funeral Homes has tips on handling and protecting yourself from funeral scams.

SCAM ALERT: Fake Google Promo Scam

Our FSN reps have been getting calls from our florist friends about a phone scam that is targeting small businesses.

Florists are receiving phone calls with call ID’s listed as private or unknown. The caller says the local business has been using a promotional code or a special promotion from Google and it has expired. They claim the florist owes Google a specific amount of money (around $500 in one case) or Google will remove them from their ranking. In most cases, the scam artist knows specific information (including the owners name) about you and your business.

[update] Scammers are using Yahoo local and other search engines and directories for this scam, not just Google.

BE AWARE of this scam and protect yourself and your staff from giving any information to the scam artist.

Tips for if this happens to you

Request a signed copy of any promotional materials you allegedly agreed to be faxed to you.

Request a copy of any recording of any phone conversation where you might have agreed to this.

Request an email with links or further documentation where you would have agreed to this.

(After one florist requested proof, the scammer hung up.)

You can also contact your State Consumer Fraud Line.

See more florist scam alerts

Scam Alert: Free Website Ends Up Costing You $$$$$$

Most of the time, when Flower Shop Network announces a scam it involves a single phone call and a single order. Once you’ve written that bad order off as a learning experience, it is over and you can move on to bigger and better things. However, the scammers are taking a different approach this time and hitting florists at the very essence of their business on a multiple order level – their websites.

These scammers are actually order-gatherers (OGs) who are capitalizing on the hard work that companies like Flower Shop Network provide florists. These OGs are conning florists into switching their strongly performing e-commerce url in exchange for a “free” website. Free isn’t really free in this case, because the OG expects in return [Read more…]

New Spin On An Old Scam:Florist Beware

Just a warning, this scam is going around again and has a bit of a new twist. Florists should beware of any email or phone call wanting the florist to provide large orders that will be picked up by a private shipper. Below is the scam email florists are receiving.

[SCAM MESSAGE] Thank you,I need 7 bottles and I need to know the total cost for the 7
bottles without shipping cost.Kindly let me know if I can possible
have my private shipper do a pick up for the items at your store.Do
you accept major credit cards?
Thank you once again.

Beat the scammers this Christmas, check out Avoiding Fraudulent Orders This Holiday Season.

This post is brought to you by local Denver florists.
Not in Denver? Use Flower Shop Network’s handy directory of local florists to find a florist near you!

Fraudulent Orders: 8 Signs To Look For

Fraudulent orders are plaguing florists all across the nation. If you look for the following red flags, you can avoid most fraudulent orders.

  1. No name on the enclosure card.
  2. The additional information requests for the arrangement be left even if no one is home.
  3. Sender’s phone number is disconnected.
  4. Sender orders from websites in one town for delivery outside of your delivery area, requiring a florist to wire the order out.
  5. Consumer’s name and email do not match.
  6. Order includes all add-on products available.
  7. Card message is in broken English.
  8. Multiple orders from one sender to multiple locations and/or cities.

What to do?

If you suspect an order is fraudulent, ask for more information.  Verify the sender’s address.  Make sure the sender’s phone number and address are from the same area. If at any time you feel the order is fraudulent, you can refuse the order.