An Old Scam With A New Name

Jim Luff
Posted on July 3, 2013

This week, I'd like to show you some examples of scams to solicit limo service to help us all learn how to spot them. There are plenty out there, so if you know of any, share to help us all be aware. . .

Every year, operators receive emails that look like they are going to drop a financial windfall right into your lap. The orders contain three to eight consecutive days of service, ask for no discount, and offer to pay you an immediate deposit for part of the order or all of it.

Veteran operators will remember Rev. Mark Cole, Frank Southgate, Leisure Travel and Paul Bryant as scammers! The classic "overcharge and refund trick with a bank routing number thrown in for good measure.”
Circa 2010, Rev. Cole Mark of the "Catholic Youth Forum":  The kind  reverend needed two stretch limousines for his choir from St. Teresa's Church. One entire week of service was needed. A simple Google search of Catholic Youth Forum and....oops, game's up! No such organization exists!  The purpose of these scams is to develop a financial relationship with you. A classic trick is to offer up the deposit based on the eight days. It gets cut down to three days and they need a refund sent by check. By the time the run date arrives, they have cashed your check and shortly after you'll have a charge-back on the original transaction.
Circa 2011, Tim Hoffman dazzled us with this letter (sic):

My name is Tim Hoffman, I'm witting this on behalf of my Greek friends (2 Couples). They will be coming into your country for their one week Vacation Holiday, This is their first visit to your city.
Arrival Date :21st February, 2011.
Departure Date :27th February, 2011.
Number Of Days : 7
Number Of Guests : 4
Type Of Vehicle : Limo, Van or Bus.
Kindly plan this tour program for the 2 couples. This includes sightseeing tours in your city and accommodation in any 3 star hotel (2 double rooms).
Do confirm availability and send me the total cost of your vehicle services (limo, van or bus) for 7 days, So that i can send you my Credit Card for immediate deposit. Waiting for your reply.

Well doesn't this look fabulous?
Here are your fraud signs:
Why is Tim writing on behalf of his friends? Why are they identified as Greek? Does it matter This generic letter uses the generic words of "your city" rather than naming a particular city. Wouldn't you want to confirm you had reached a service actually located in the destination city? You want me to plan a tour of my city without ever speaking to your friends?  Shouldn't I have a basic knowledge of their interests? Oh, and you actually think that simply because I operate a limo service that I am qualified to organize a tour? The offer to give you a credit card deposit is simply the main bait of the email. By the time you get to those words, you're already drooling about the money.
Fast Forward to July 2013 for the current version (sic):

My Name is Gibson Taylor,from Montreal in Quebec Canada.i want to book transportation for 20 delegates that will be coming to your country for a 10 days business tour in your locality.we will require a vehicle that can transport the guest within those period of our stay in your country. do you have availability for us?

#The transfers will be locally within your state, with an approximate distance of 200km per day. all routes will be from our accommodation facility to the conference location which will be within proximity,and then back to hotel after each day activities. the vehicle will be at our disposal for 8 hours each day.

Bellow is a brief outline for the booking;

# Booking Dates: from 26th of August to 10th of September 2013 (10 days)
# Time/duration of transfers:10am to 6pm each day (8 hours/day)
# Number of passengers: 20 passengers, all adults.
# Type of Vehicle required: either of these will be fine; a limousine, mini-coach/Buses, Vans or a comfortable number of sedans that can serve same purpose.

Kindly advise details on availabilities and the total cost for the 10 days booking of the transportation so we can reserve the booking with a part payment. hope you accept credit card payments? also advise types of credit cards you accept for payment. I await your response.

Gibson Taylor
[email protected]
Okay,class. Please identify things that make this 2012 version fishy. Don't be shy! We can learn together. Just post one single thing that you find to be tell-tale based on my lesson above. Who knows, you might teach this old dog a new one that I missed.

— Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor

Related Topics: Management, operations

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Comments ( 1 )
  • Linda Johnson

     | about 6 years ago

    Recently while going through past issues of LCT magazine, I came across this article. One of the key red flags is the grammar and punctuation This reeks of a Nigerian scam, when in doubt Google the name and or company. .

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