Originally posted 3-21: Updated (see below)
…and didn’t even know it.
I was reconciling the online charges today and found a couple of big charges to an Internet florist, which was notable because I didn’t buy any flowers from that florist. Oh, I did a couple of years ago, but that’s it.
First, I called my bank, and they recommended calling the company first.
Second, I called the company, and found very nice and supportive folks on the phone. Their customer relations person told me that the caller got my card, name and address correct (terrific). They also told me the three cities the flowers went to, none of which I know anyone in. So, my money has been refunded, and they have a flag on my card of some sort to prevent its use.
Then, after thinking about 30 seconds, I called the bank back, and after laying it out they immediately stopped my card number, and I’ll get another some time this month, probably. They were nice, too.
And now, I’ve filed a fraud report with a credit reporting service, so they’re watching for new account requests.
Oh, I got two calls from the flower company with “I have the flower recipient on the other line, and they want to know who sent the flowers”, with two very disappointed operators when I told them the story, nicely. One of them called back and gave me some information on who they thought sent them the flowers, with a name so rare there’s only one that pops up in the US. Weird. We’ll see.
I hate thieves. I hope I can help find this one.
Update: So, the person who called back was appalled she’d gotten fraudulent (if nice) flowers, contacted me, and forwarded me several emails for an Internet suitor. Again the same extremely unique name, and markedly poor English grammar and punctuation. Oh, and he’s bragging about sending flowers on my card, not knowing she’s aware, and guess what:
how as your day been? cool i guess! the flowers are just a sign of our love i want you to keep and cheerish it well. just the way you would do to me…………….xxxxxxxxx you need to do me a little favour.my mum in nigeria is very sick and would be operated upon.i need you to do some money order for me i would give you the full details soon but you will get parcel containing the order in 2days time.
(the x’s are not hugs; they’re where I’ve taken out their names, in case you’re drinking). (And stop drinking so early).
Hmm. This seemed like a pretty good facsimile of a money laundering operation at best, or full-on bank fraud at worst. Some Googling brought about the Wikipedia answer, a Romance scam:
A romance scam essentially occurs when strangers pretend romantic intentions, gain the affection of victims, and then use that good will to gain access to their victims’ money/bank account or by getting them to commit financial fraud on their behalf. Most of these scams seem to originate from, and are prevalent in West Africa (especially Nigeria) although they are becoming increasingly common in Russia and Eastern Europe. Another emerging region is Thailand and The Philippines or any other country where ‘mail order brides‘ are available.
I screw up it gets funny. I sent an email back to the flower girl outlining my suspicions, with a link to the Wiki article, etc. Well, it was supposed to be sent to the flower girl. I sent it to the scammer, by mistake, along with the flower girl.
I’m a doofus.
But I’m not trying to scam anyone.