Enjoy Your Life! Build Your Business! Have Your Way!
I have been doing business online for so long, and I have long since stopped paying attention to emails that are obvious scams.
But I realize that there are a lot of people here who are new to the world of online business, and I wanted to post a quick reminder to be very wary when you are contacted by someone who thinks your products are lovely and wants you to ship a big order internationally.
Of course it's exciting to receive a request like this, but the truth is that most of them are scams. Often, I receive emails from IBN members asking me what I think of a particular opportunity where someone has absolutely raved about how great their products look,and guess what? I get the same inquiry about the same exact email (word-for-word) from more than one member.
You should make it a habit to delete almost all of these types of messages. Here's an example of one that came through a member's website contact form recently. (Click to enlarge.)
This is actually quite mild compared to what I normally see, which includes request for money transfers into foreign accounts, the use of stolen credit cards, and requirements that you deliver products before they tell you the information you need to know to do even the most basic form of business with them.
Your business requires the best of you, and you are too busy for this stuff. Delete it an move on.
Have a great day!
Other thoughts... the scams I get often say something to the effect "Iknow international shipping can be a problem but not to worry, I have a shipper that will pick up your product and deliver for me. Write me back with your website and we'll order." Dead give away if they will arrange their shipper to pick up, and if they don't even know who we are. Other spams running wild this month..we are getting "letters from the IRS' demanding more knowledge, and lots of emails claiming to be from the Better Business Bureau saying there has been a complaint and wanting details. When an email has a link in it, if you hover your mouth on the link your status bar will show the REAL url you are about to click on. In these cases the URL had nothing to do with either the IRS or the BBB... some collection of letters in a foreign domain, often China, Russia, etc. (Even knowing all this I find myself catching my breath when I see the BBB letters! ;)
I've been pausing at the BBB letters too! So far, deleted them all without clicking. Glad to know you're getting them because it's more of an indication that it's a scam. Detest those people! Ugh!
I've gotten a few of those! They are often very poorly written with bad grammar, which is a dead give-away. I wouldn't do business with people who are that sloppy in their communication skills anyway! : )
Another hint to a scam is that the person sending the email has no idea of your company policy, nor your products, despite your detailed blog posts or policy information on your website.
Hovering your mouse over links like Marge said will reveal whether the url matches or not. I trash most emails that enquire about international wholesale. I have a wholesale page on my website that is quite clear on how to contact me about wholesale. But... if I am curious, I copy a selection of the text from the email, and paste it into the google box. If it's a scam mail, you'll find that someone has posted the alert out there in cyberland. Don't be hasty... cut and paste-y!
Reach out. Make friends. Let's lift each other!
I love these scams (insert sarcasm here). I am too busy to go through emails like this so I am happy to send to the trash bin.
I get those too. Right now I'm getting one almost daily under the same sender name, trying to sell me the domain, neoscreations.com before it goes up for auction. He wants me to click a link that is supposed to take me to fill out a form saying I'm interested in purchasing it. Uh....no thank you!
The reason I am fairly certain its a scam is because so far, I've recieved about a dozen of these emails from "Alex" and in his signature lines, he has shown at least half a dozen different office addresses, in various states and towns and different phone numbers.
I do know that the domain referred to expired under the previous owner but I also know who currently has it locked up.
It takes all kinds, I guess. Just wanted to alert y'all to the ones like this too.
If you use g-mail you can set up a filter to immediately trash e-mails from a specified address - especially helpful if you get multiple messages from the same spammer.
Also, spammers often use "robots" to "crawl" websites to obtain e-mail addresses and then send out mass e-mails. One way to prevent this is to provide customers with your e-mail address as an image rather than html text. The only downside to this is that visitors can't copy and paste your e-mail.
This is just knowledge that's rubbed off from my computer geek husband. I'll ask him for specific advice and post it later if he has any. We're currently in webstore prelaunch phase so this helps us to be prepared for what's coming...
Thanks for the tips! I'll be interested in what your husband says i you get a chance to ask him.
Hi dM, I'm glad you found the tips helpful - I had Billy review them and he said that everything I wrote was accurate. When I told him that the above example you posted was from a contact form, he was asking whether the form has a captcha verification (where you have to type in the letters seen in the image) or other type of verification. If not, it could be a robot actually filling out the form. Otherwise, it might be that these people are hand-choosing their victims and if so it maybe harder to avoid them entirely, since it's nice to have a contact form.
This google article talks about captchas and gives code for a free one: http://www.google.com/recaptcha/captcha
Here's some general spam advice that Billy gave me to pass on:
- There is no "one size fits all" solution to spam!
- Avoid putting mailto links on websites (e.g. mailto:email@example.com)
- Don’t list your e-mail address in large Internet directories, forums, job-posting Web sites, or
even your own Web site unless it is disguised with an image or at least HTML entities.
- Block images in your inbox, because they can be used in harmful ways
- Add your e-mail address on your site with a different format than the usual one. You can do
something like the following example: example [at] gmail [dot] com OR example [at sign
here] gmail [dot here ] com
- Do not make your address public and do not join mailing lists
I hope that wasn't too much info at once! Some of the above might seem like overkill (he's a little paranoid about web security in my opinion, but I guess that's not always a bad thing.)