A number of Australian jewellers have been targeted by an overseas scam, with at least one retailer falling foul.
A jewellery buying swindle that appears to be based in Singapore is targeting Australian jewellery retailers.
The scam starts with an introductory email that states, in part, “I'm from SINGAPORE, and I would like to purchase some products from your company but before we doing business, I need your answers for my questions below.”
The email then asks if the retailer accepts credit card payments and can ship overseas via FedEx. One retailer who fell foul of this seemingly honest transaction nearly found himself $18,000 out of pocket after shipping jewellery to Singapore.
After discovering the credit card used for the purchase was stolen, the retailer contacted the Singapore police before it was delivered.
The retailer, who wishes to remain anonymous, explained, “We were targeted by two women from Singapore and a male from Indonesia and they wanted to pay by credit card and I tried to get them to pay by PayPal but they kept insisting that it was all above board and genuine. I sent it by Australian Post [because they didn't want to use Brinks] and it was being sent to an airport address,” he said.
Realising that there was a problem, the retailer managed to circumvent delivery. “Luckily the piece of jewellery was delivered back to us from Singapore three weeks later,” he said.
The JAA issued an “Email Alert” last week and a number of members have since advised that they have been targeted too.
JAA CEO Ian Hadassin said, “If you think about it, why would someone in Singapore or Indonesia really need to be buying jewellery from Australia. That should be your first alarm bell, given that it isn’t as if these Asian countries are short on local jewellery retailers.”
Hadassin said even the wording of the email should raise concerns. “The emails asks; ‘Do you have any discounted prices if I want to buy one or more?’ The products being selected are not inexpensive items and therefore why would a consumer be buying more than one?
“While it is tempting in these tough times to accept what appears to be a great order, if you subsequently do not receive payment then it's no great order,” Hadassin commented.
Having received the Email Alert last week, another member contacted the JAA saying, “I just received an email from one of these scammers and have attached the email sent to me recently, which I was very suspicious of, and have not replied to.”
The email was signed by “Robert Cheung”.
Retailers who believe they are being contacted via scammers should contact the JAA, or Jeweller.