Beware - Scammers targeting Locksmiths

A person contacts you by email seeking your services.  It may be changing the locks on the house that they have just bought and they need to also pay the removalist for transport and storage of furniture, it may be purchasing a quantity of safes etc etc etc

In our case the guy said he bought a car at auction that had no keys and he wants you to provide keys and he wants to freight the vehicle to your workshop to do the job.  .

If you respond seeking some more details the scammer will advise that he is in hospital having an operation and is hearing impaired and cannot talk on the telephone and can only communicate by email and asks can he pay you using a credit card and whether you accept credit card payments.

There is usually some time urgency to hook you in and they play on your good nature to help a handicapped person.

Then the scammer introduces a problem that the person storing his property (or vehicle) wants payment before the item is released and they will not accept credit card payments and would you charge his credit card with the amount due to the other party to release the goods and send cash for the amount due by wire transfer via Western Union.

To transfer funds by Western Union you deposit the cash at the Western Union office or agent payable to a fictitious person and then you email to the scammer the details of the Western Union transfer which enables the scammer to get the cash anywhere in the world as they are in possession of the security details of the transfer that you gave them.  There is no formal ID checks to collect money from Western Union - only the security details of the transfer which the scammer receives from you.

There is no recourse when sending cash via Western Union rather than proper banks and you are unable to get the cash back when you find that the credit card amount that you processed which initially deposited money to your account to cover your transfer of the cash is actually reversed to your account – you have just lost $3,000. 

To fool you into believing all things are kosher, the scammers actually have details of real credit cards of unsuspecting persons – credit card no, expiry date and CCV security number. 

The credit card amount will initially be paid to you as the credit card is ‘valid’ but when the credit card holder realises that an unauthorised amount has been charged to their account they object and the charge is reversed back to you.

Pin numbers are not needed to actually charge credit cards now (despite all the recent publicity that they are required – pin numbers can only be used where the actual card is present.  For mail and other purchases you only need is a valid credit card number, expiry date and CCV security number).

The credit card numbers supplied to us we checked and were actual live credit cards which we could have charged the amounts to.  We have advised the relevant issuing banks and their fraud departments are proceeding to alert the real card holder.

They are very smart in that they give actual names and addresses (thanks to the internet and google).  You can ‘view’ the addresses they give you.  In our case the guy sent a copy of his Victorian drivers licence with his – this was not genuine – the drivers licence number was  987654321 ( a real give-a-way).

All this can be done from outside Australia as the email address is just a gmail address - so my comment that they are probably sailing in their expensive yacht in the caribbean getting a sun tan and using a satellite internet connection.

Police unable to do much as the scammer is certainly not in Australia.

This scam has actually caught out some locksmiths, most are too embarrassed to admit they were conned.