The Business of Scamming

Scam artists continue to come up with new ways to scam honest people and businesses, making it difficult for law enforcement agencies and consumers to stay on top of all the ways to prevent becoming a victim.

Last week an Eden Prairie business learned that somebody had used their company name to create a domain similar to theirs, and then attempted to scam another business out of thousands of dollars in product by creating a fake account. The product ordered was to be shipped to an address in Oklahoma. Luckily the vendor suspected it was fraud and did not bill the Eden Prairie company. Instead they alerted them to the fraud attempt.

This is the third time this particular Eden Prairie business has been targeted. The first time occurred last fall when scammers attempted to purchase goods using the company’s account 13 times. Because the vendor thought the orders looked suspicious, none of them went through.

The second time the company was targeted occurred in early January 2017 and investigators do not believe it is related to the first case. This time the company electronically paid a bill for more than $13,000 to a legitimate vendor in Illinois for products they had ordered and received. The vendor continually stated they had not received the payment. Further investigation revealed that the scammers had directed the Eden Prairie company to send the payment to an account based in Nigeria using sophisticated technology.

All of these cases are difficult to pursue since they appear to originate outside of the United States. The EPPD strongly encourages all businesses to thoroughly vet the vendors they work with. Businesses should pay careful attention if a vendor’s email or payment information changes. This is most likely the work of a sophisticated crime ring that uses false emails, IP addresses, domains, telephone numbers, pre-paid debit cards and addresses to swindle businesses out of products and money.