Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere to share the ups and downs of starting a craft business, with plenty of tips, mishaps and the odd glass of wine!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

One Pitfall of Running a Small Business - Scam Artists

This blog post isn't a happy one really, although thankfully in neither experience did I lose any money, but I wanted to share a couple of potential scams that have been tried on me in the last couple of months.

The first was a lady who contacted me from a shop abroad, wanting to buy a large quantity of my products for her shop.

I was suspicious from the start because she only chose items that appear on my gallery page:

Which I thought was a bit odd as there's so many different things in my shop, but the one thing that wasn't listed at the time was the 'Specs' case.

However initially I couldn't see where the scam was, so I cautiously went along with it, got very quietly excited and started panicking about how I was going to fulfill this mammoth order!

The scam appeared when the buyer announced that her shipping company, who already had some of her goods from another small business, needed paying by me because of a problem at their end accepting her credit card using their machine and she did not use PayPal, so wanted me to pay the shipping company £300 which she would reimburse me.

It's such a ridiculously small amount in some way, but obviously to a small company that is a large amount of money.

This situation in itself did not upset me overly as I knew it sounded too good to be true really and I was just glad to be able to move on.

However the second one really has upset me.

A lady called, ostensibly from a children's charity, asking if I'd like to place an ad in their magazine, which is published quarterly. As it was a local (or so I thought) charity, I said yes and the fee was £100 plus VAT, which again, although quite a large amount for my business, was something that I felt comfortable doing given that it was advertising and it was helping a local children's charity.

When it came down to it though, it turns out that this is not a real charity and although they would have sent me a copy of the first quarter's 'magazine' - it is not actually published and distributed anywhere else!

I found a number of forums where people had experienced this whole scenario from start to finish, dating back to Feb 2010, all for the same alleged charity.

Again, I was lucky in that I found out before I'd parted with any money, but I am absolutely disgusted. I am quite a trusting person by nature and I know sometimes I need to be more cynical, but a children's charity?!

I really don't want to have to be the sort of person who goes into every situation doubting the truth and validity of people who approach me, but at the same time, not only could it be potentially very costly, but also such a waste of my time, giving thoughts & putting groundwork into these situations.

Anyway. This is the first post of this type I've done, but I thought it was worthwhile as there are bound to be other people who have already or will be approached by these despicable individuals and it's not something I'd really given any thought to in terms of being a business owner.

I'm going to cheer myself up now with some Terry's Chocolate Orange and a Cuppa, whilst reading everyone else's Handmade Monday posts. Hopefully more cheery news from me in the next post!

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