Scam? What's your guess?

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Arks's picture
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A couple of hours after a reservation came in last weekend, this message exchange began with the guest. His use of English soon made me suspect it was not a usual situation.

  • Hi guys, my name is Christopher Jones (name he gave was similar Anglo Saxon name). My reservation number is 9029199. Please call me.

I sent a text message asking what he needs.

  • Hi, the reason of my text message is to confirm my reservation no only that is to advise you guys that you will be receiving a package under my name and I'm asking to please hold on to it. Were you able to confirm my reservation please.

Yes I have your reservation. But the street address of my inn is not a mailing address. There's no staff there to receive packages, but you can mail it to me at [my office address in another part of town].

  • Ok thank. A package is on the way to that office address. I would like a phone number to call the people at that address, Arks, because I was never expecting my package to be deliver so soon. Sorry for the trouble

It's not necessary to talk to the office. I'll handle that and deliver your package to your suite when it arrives.

  • Thanks Arks, you save my life here
  • Arks I just confirmed with ups and they will deliver the package to room [my office street number] as for your information. And I will totally compensate you just for the trouble.

It's no trouble. No compensensation necessary. Thanks.

  • Hi, Arks UPS just called me that they are on the way. Just letting you know. Thanks.
  • H Arks I see that UPS try to deliver my package but for some reason it was deny may I know the reason why pleaseI'll be there tomorrow but may I know why is that.

I will check. I'm sure it was not refused, but maybe UPS came when the staff was out to lunch. I will let you know. [I checked with the office. UPS made deliveries, but nothing for this person.]

  • Arks I just got a call from UPS stating that they will deliver the package today, I advised him of your room [my office street number] and once you receive the package please notify me if it's possible please

Will do.

[At this point UPS texts me that they were trying to deliver to my inn but there was no one there. That's when I realized the person sent them to my office street number at my inn, thinking that was a room number at the inn. Total confusion. I got the UPS driver straight on that. The package finally arrived at my office the next day.]

[Day of guest's reservation...]

  • Arks I am heading your way at this very instant right now I'm about 3 to 4 hours but what I'm do right now it is Arks I'm going to send FedEx to pick up the package for me they're going  to go to one of my kids I'm just Please Release the package them with my consent

[At this point I was so suspicious I stopped responding to him, and I set the package outside in case it was a bomb or something!]

  • Arks I need a little bit of help from you and I want you to hold onto the package and until I get there or what I'm going to do right now it is I'm going to call FedEx and I'm going to have them pick up the package that package is actually for one of my kids I don't want them to know that I bought it online for them it's going to be a really bummer for them., so like I said I'm going to send FedEx to there to pick up the package within about a couple of minutes they're going to your room [my office street address]
  • sorry Arks can I have your correct address so I can send them directly to you. I want the package to be pick up and sent to my kids as soon as possible I am super behind on his birthday.

[I didn't answer. But I had given him the correct address earlier in the thread. I guess he finally found it.]

  • Hi Arks I just sent FedEx your way to pick up the pack.

FedEx did arrive about 30 minutes later and took the package. The receipt they left said the package was from Christopher Jones (the name on the reservation) and was being shipped to Christopher Martinez in Philadelphia, PA. As expected, the guy never showed up for the reservation so I'll be expecting a charge back eventually. I'm assuming it was a stolen card number.

I have no idea what his scam was intended to be, but it was all very suspicious.

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PhineasSwann's picture
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Can I suggest you forward all of this information, including your suspicion that the cardholder was in on it, to the U.S. Secret Service. Their division on credit card fraud might be interested into looking into it. The DEA obviously would be a good group to contact, but absent any certainty that drugs were involved there's not much for them to do. 

 

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Arks's picture
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Got the chargeback letter today. I didn't dispute it, of course. Nothing to be done.

The reservation and payment came through Feb. 8 for arrival Feb. 12 and departure Feb. 13.

The dispute was filed Feb. 13. Pretty quick. I suspect the cardholder was in on it all, with plans to dispute it as soon as their package was received at the other end.

It was a Deutsche Bank VISA, which adds in to the strangeness of the whole thing.

At least that particular bunch probably won't bother me again!

Generic's picture
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Did they charge you the $25 chargeback fee?

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Arks's picture
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Generic wrote:

Did they charge you the $25 chargeback fee?

Not that I can see. My bank account shows the $157.57 chargeback on Feb. 14, but no other charges to my account that day, and no amount in the $25 range on any days around that. I'm surprised they missed an opportunity to twist the knife in me a little more!

Morticia's picture
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Well, it's good to know it's not worth keeping the reservation if something like this happens.

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Lee2014's picture
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  Keep us all informed.  Very interesting story.

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PhineasSwann's picture
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We have a lot of guests ask to have packages sent ahead of them or delivered to them before arrival. Most are Canadian trying to avoid the high tariffs they pay for goods shipped to Canada. 

We don't mind holding them for future guests, but if someone had been that hyper about it my alarm bells would have been tripping. 

Morticia's picture
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We had 27 packages delivered. It was a tad much given the person never mentioned they were coming and 5 of them arrived before we had made any contact with the guest other than receiving a reservation.

Also attempting to save on the tax, shipping, and other fees. Carried it all home in a suitcase the size of a VW bug.

PhineasSwann's picture
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Morticia wrote:

We had 27 packages delivered. It was a tad much given the person never mentioned they were coming and 5 of them arrived before we had made any contact with the guest other than receiving a reservation.

Also attempting to save on the tax, shipping, and other fees. Carried it all home in a suitcase the size of a VW bug.

If they treat you rudely, just call border patrol after they leave and let them know your guests are on their way!  wink

Morticia's picture
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PhineasSwann wrote:

Morticia wrote:

We had 27 packages delivered. It was a tad much given the person never mentioned they were coming and 5 of them arrived before we had made any contact with the guest other than receiving a reservation.

Also attempting to save on the tax, shipping, and other fees. Carried it all home in a suitcase the size of a VW bug.

If they treat you rudely, just call border patrol after they leave and let them know your guests are on their way!  wink

This person was one of the sweetest guests ever. Hugged me every morning and said everything was wonderful. (I am NOT a hugger, so that's an indication of how nice she was that I didn't run and hide.)

Oh the convoluted packing we've seen go on here to avoid the taxes at the border. Wearing 3 sweaters, 2 shirts, etc? Crazy.

Generic's picture
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Must have been years ago, the limits changed. Then again, our limit is $750 pp after 48 hours... and I never bring more than $100 worth back... usually stuff is so much more expensive on the other side. It's more the fact that there is a bigger selection.

Morticia's picture
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Generic wrote:

Must have been years ago, the limits changed. Then again, our limit is $750 pp after 48 hours... and I never bring more than $100 worth back... usually stuff is so much more expensive on the other side. It's more the fact that there is a bigger selection.

Early days, when the limit was much lower for 2 days.

Generic's picture
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Yeah, honestly, we hardly bring anything back anymore. The prices are higher. Our biggest purchases are groceries, because there are so many things we don't have (oyster crackers!) or flavours we can't get.

Generic's picture
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Goods ordered via a stolen CC. I would have told him that you can't release the package once in your possession except to that person on the waybill themselves.

I would have called the company that shipped it and asked them to process the CC as a Code 10. And I would have processed the CC as a Code 10 as well.

Arks's picture
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Generic wrote:

Goods ordered via a stolen CC. I would have told him that you can't release the package once in your possession except to that person on the waybill themselves.

I would have called the company that shipped it and asked them to process the CC as a Code 10. And I would have processed the CC as a Code 10 as well.

At this point only speculating that it's a stolen CC. Payment was made in real time when reservation was made through ResKey/Auth.net 

I would definitely not hold that box! If it IS drugs, as Silverspoon suggests, men with shotguns might come in the night to take it back! No thanks. Glad to pass the box on to FedEx and be done with it. If the card is eventually a charge back, no big deal. I was completely empty that night anyway so no loss and an interesting lesson!

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Arks wrote:

Generic wrote:

Goods ordered via a stolen CC. I would have told him that you can't release the package once in your possession except to that person on the waybill themselves.

I would have called the company that shipped it and asked them to process the CC as a Code 10. And I would have processed the CC as a Code 10 as well.

At this point only speculating that it's a stolen CC. Payment was made in real time when reservation was made through ResKey/Auth.net 

I would definitely not hold that box! If it IS drugs, as Silverspoon suggests, men with shotguns might come in the night to take it back! No thanks. Glad to pass the box on to FedEx and be done with it. If the card is eventually a charge back, no big deal. I was completely empty that night anyway so no loss and an interesting lesson!


Arks, Generic is most likely correct on this one.  This type of scam has been going on for years.  Most likely a product purchased by a stolen CC, not drugs. The best thing for you to have done is to refuse delivery.  If you or your staff signed for the package, it tracks it to YOU.   Keep your text conversation and keep the slip from FedEx to the place it was shipped.  If you have the information of who originally shipped the package, I would contact them.  

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Copperhead wrote:

Arks, Generic is most likely correct on this one.  This type of scam has been going on for years.  Most likely a product purchased by a stolen CC, not drugs. The best thing for you to have done is to refuse delivery.  If you or your staff signed for the package, it tracks it to YOU.   Keep your text conversation and keep the slip from FedEx to the place it was shipped.  If you have the information of who originally shipped the package, I would contact them.  

I seriously considered taking the package to the police station and telling the guy to have FedEx pick it up from them. But it was just easier to hand it over to the FedEx guy and be done with it. I'm not interested in doing detective work on it. I'm just glad it's gone and over with! It was very weird.

Morticia's picture
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Arks wrote:

Copperhead wrote:

Arks, Generic is most likely correct on this one.  This type of scam has been going on for years.  Most likely a product purchased by a stolen CC, not drugs. The best thing for you to have done is to refuse delivery.  If you or your staff signed for the package, it tracks it to YOU.   Keep your text conversation and keep the slip from FedEx to the place it was shipped.  If you have the information of who originally shipped the package, I would contact them.  

I seriously considered taking the package to the police station and telling the guy to have FedEx pick it up from them. But it was just easier to hand it over to the FedEx guy and be done with it. I'm not interested in doing detective work on it. I'm just glad it's gone and over with! It was very weird.

Be aware of this when it happens again.

'Sorry, no one is available to receive packages, here is the number of the local Mailboxes, Etc.'

Most of the time it's a real guest, but your guy was waaaay too hyper.

 

Arks's picture
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Yes, very fishy. I just wonder what was going on. I know the room payment will be taken back from me. Just a matter of waiting for somebody's CC statement to arrive with an unknown charge from my inn. Sigh.

PhineasSwann's picture
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Shame it wasn't sent via the mail so you could pass all this on to a postal inspector. 

Since it was privatized delivery services, someone got away with something nefarious. I don't know how hard UPS and FedEx work to discover people using their system for delivery of ill-gained goods, but I suspect not too hard. 

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Drugs.  I’d bet on it.  Let us know how it turns out.

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Arks's picture
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Silverspoon wrote:

Drugs.  I’d bet on it.  Let us know how it turns out.

You can't imagine how curious I was to open that package! At this point I'm just hoping the charges stick!

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