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Business Owners Beware of Scammers!

Hey all, I want to get this story out to make sure that all us business owners know what is happening. I know it is a little long but keep with it.

Yesterday, I had two interests in a couple of my items. They were sent through my Facebook business messenger. Since I had placed the items on my Facebook business profile to advertise my new crochet Sea Otters, this interest came across as legit, especially since I have sold items this way before.

The conversation starts with a seemingly innocent request to order an item: asking how much (in this case $25), do we ship (another $12), and what the total will be ($37). They even provided a legit address on where to send the items. Honestly, it was a pretty natural conversation.
Their next question was how they should pay for the items. Since we take multiple forms of payment for the ease of our customers, I listed options of payment (E.G. CashApp, Venmo, PayPal, Square invoice etc.). The would-be customer then selected their form of payment, in this case PayPal. Again, not a problem, I have taken payment through PayPal several times.
For those that may not know, payment through PayPal is done through an email or using a QR code. I make it a practice to send the QR code out to my customers for easy payments.
1. it prevents the possibility of sending the money to the wrong email.
2. I simply adore QR codes. It is the nerd in me.
So with my nerd hat on, I sent the QR code for payment.
Now, some customers just don't like to use QR codes, so when the request for an email was issued, again I thought nothing of it, and sent them the email they can use to pay for the adorable crochet items. The would-be customer then informs me that payment has been sent.
I go to my PayPal and find that the payment has not been deposited.
Here is where the warning bells for anyone experiencing this, should go off. It should be a code red situation with flashing lights, a Bee-Doo sound, and a big red warning sign.

With the realization I may be dealing with a scammer, I simply stated that the payment has not yet cleared. (Let's face it, it could have still been legit with a burp in the system. Before I accuse anyone of scamming, I want to be absolutely sure.) I then explain that we will wait 3-5 business days for the payment to clear. If it doesn't clear in that time, we can revisit which payment option they would like to take.
The would-be customer than stated, "Can you check your email."
Why not, let's humor this possible scammer. Sure enough there was an email stating the the $37 funds have been held due to the fact that my PayPal account is not a business account. In order to receive the $37, I must request that the customer send me $200 to upgrade my account to a business account. Then I must refund the $200 to receive my $37. Obviously a Scam. PayPal, in fact all payment options, would never do this.
At this point however, I want to see how far this scammer would go. I play the fool.
I explain that once the payment clears I will send the items to the address attached to their PayPal account and to just give it some time.
The scammer then panics a little thinking they are losing their fish on the line. He then stated that he received an email explaining that he must send me another $200 to activate my business account. Because this is a lot of money, I must promise to refund the amount. He then asked me, "Do you promise?"
I said, of course I would refund the amount and how excited I am that they are willing to help me activate my PayPal business account. I thought I may have went on a bit thick, but sure enough, I get another email stating that the $200 had been sent to my account and that in order to release all the funds I must
1. request the customers information,
2. send the customer $200
3. take a screen shot of the refund and reply to this email with proof of the refund
4. I will get $237 dollars back into my account.
Yeah, I was not going to do this. BUT, just to have a little fun since I was a little bored, I continued to play the fool with the hope that maybe, just maybe, I could score a little cash.
I explained that since no payments have cleared, I can't send $200 because this could be a possible scam. Now that I have a business account thanks to their help, how about they send me $20. Once it clears and I can be sure this isn't a scam, I will then send them $220. This will tell me she is legit.
The scammer at this punt told me they were out of funds, that the money they sent was for a hospital bill, and that the toy purchased was for "her" son who is in the hospital. If she didn't get it back, her son was to be discharged. I was then asked, do I want the death of her son on my hands.
This Scammer puts it on thick.
I explained that I would give 24 hours for her to find the funds and send me a payment. That I can't send the 200 back without a cleared payment dude to safety concerns.
This back and forth about her child happened for about half an hour. That's when the scammer decided to take another approach. Time to bring in the faith. I started getting bombarded with Bible verses about how it is a sin to steal and rob and that she would never do so because she is a Christian.
Since I am a Christian, another half hour happened about Bible verses, God, and how to get forgiveness for our sins.
I believe at this point, it was time for the scammers final tactic. I was threatened with imprisonment and losing my job. I was flooded with emails stating that certain 3 letter companies know where I live and that I will be arrested for being a "Nutritious Fraudster" (I sound delicious). That I was stealing 200 dollars and, in fact, I was the scammer.
At this point, it had been 3-4 hours of convos. and color me impressed, they stayed in character for much of it. However, it was now 8am and my tired self decided to end our entertaining story. I told them I knew they were a scammer, that i knew the emails were fake, that I was forwarding these messages and emails to the proper authorities, and that they should not be scamming people.
I got called the scammer and blocked.
The second interest was a similar convo, with almost the same script, except this time I sent them fake receipts for the $200. I was complimented for my editing skills, cursed at, and blocked.

So here is the heads up

As business owners, it is important to be aware of these types of scams. While this one seems easy enough to recognize, there are many more that appear legit.
Stay Safe and Vigilant
Signed the Nutritious Fraudster\

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