It used to be that you just got their spam emails trying to extort money out of you. You know the kind where they say they are the toppled king of a far away kingdom in a far way land. Sometimes they are government officials who some how got their hands on millions of dollars and they just need a couple of thousand from you so they can release the funds. They will give you are huge return they promise! Then there is the romance scam where they trip lonely people to send them money because they are in trouble. People fall for it everyday but unfortunately these scammers just keep on coming. Now they are targeting promotional USBs.
So it was no surprise when we started getting scammers trying to get goods out of us. Unfortunately they even succeeded once when one of our more mentally challenge staff actually fell for the scam and shipped nearly ten thousand dollars worth of promotional USB to some pathetic scammers. Some how this person fell for these dodgy pigs who swindled the company out of thousands. Unfortunately it was not only us that got conned. There were other companies falling for this promotional USB scam.
How The Scam Works
This is how the scam works. The scammers send an email to promotional companies impersonating a university. In the promotional products industry the universities are considered a prize catch. They have lots of money and they buy lots of promotional products. So anyway the scammers first send an email enquiring about the cost of USB with the university logo. They also ask whether you accept their terms of payment which is 30 days. Now usually you would not agree to such terms but people do with universities because they know they will pay up (if they are legitimate).
The supplier will agree to the terms and send a quote. A couple of days later they will get confirmation for the order to go ahead and send a purchase order. Companies like purchase orders because they are a form of contract (if they are legitimate). The sale person is thrilled because they got a huge order and place it in production. A couple of weeks later the goods are ready and shipped to the “customers” nominated address, which is not the universities address. The scammers get the goods. The supplier gets shafted.
But Why Printed Goods?
First why would the scammers want to printed goods? Well that’s because these USB flash drives (promotional USB) are being shipped somewhere to Africa where they will be sold at the markets. The fact that they have university logos on them won’t diminish their value as people will think they are better quality having come from a university. That said sometimes the scammers will ask from unprinted goods as the scammers did with us when they ordered an additional seven thousand unbranded memory cards. They would have gotten away with it again had the bosses (the smartest people in any organisation) not picked up that they were full of it. Which is why they are targeting promotional USBs.
That is also when they discovered the previous illegitimate order and freaked out (the sales person didn’t seen to effected). So anyway bottom line is the scammers get stuff for free. They ship them to their home country. They sell the goods and make a profit. The main reason they are able to get away with it is that they know from sending out dozens of emails they will come across a few idiots that will fall for it. That is the great promotional USB scam. Beware!