Dealers Beware: Scammers are Taking on the Film IndustryFebruary 18th, 2010 | Category: Featured Content
It’s a sad, but true fact, scammers will take on just about anyone, anywhere in any industry. Over the past few years many glass shops have learned to spot signs of these callers as companies all over the country have fallen victim to different phone scams. In fact, just last summer two glass shops in Louisiana lost more than $1,000 as a result of scammers, requesting credit card information via e-mail, claimed to be calling for a deaf mute (CLICK HERE for related article). Now, a similar situation has emerged within the film industry.
Terri Fair, general manager of Sagr Products in Gettysburg, Pa., says she received a call this week from someone claiming to be an AT&T operator calling for a deaf person. However, just hours prior to the call she learned of the scam through one of her dealers who had received three calls previously.
“[The caller] says she is speaking for a deaf person whose vehicle was in an accident and is at the body shop for repairs—repairs that include the re-tinting of windows that were shattered in the accident,” says Fair. “The caller indicates that payment has to be made to the body shop before the tinting can be scheduled then asks the tinter to pre-charge a personal credit card and have the money (check or cash) in the charged amount, ready for pick up to be delivered to the body shop, but the vehicle never shows up for tinting and a month later the charges are declined as they are using stolen credit cards.”
While this may be a new occurrence in the film industry, it’s something that many dealers are already seeing.
“Some are telling us they get one call a month and others say they get as many as five a day,” says Fair, explaining that when she received the call she was prepared.
“I answered her questions at first, to get her to trust me, and then I challenged her,” says Fair. “I asked her if she was really an AT&T operator and she said yes. So then I told her that the people she was working with on the other end were scammers and then she hung up on me.”
So what should film companies do if faced with a similar situation? Fair says the best bet is to always deal with the customer directly and never take the credit card information over the phone or wire money to anyone, anywhere.
“Deal directly with the vehicle owner and be on the defensive,” she advises.