Automotive businesses across Australia continue to receive emails from scammers who claim to be hearing impaired, requesting repair work and the towing of a vehicle to get the repairs done.
After making initial contact to request the repair work, the scammer will offer to pay money via a stolen credit card. Once ‘hooked’ into the scam, the scammer will ask the business to take an amount as a deposit to secure services and to also cover the cost of the on-payment to the towing or shipping company, for example, a $500 deposit and $1800 for the towing or shipping company.
The repair business will then be asked to on-pay the fictitious towing or shipping company by an electronic payment system, which is virtually untraceable.
The scammer will always come up with an excuse as to why they cannot pay in person, such as they are in hospital and receiving ‘treatment’ or are out of the city.
If the automotive business accepts the money, they will likely receive fake emails from the fake towing or shipping company making the transaction seem legitimate before they on-pay the money.
A MTA member was sent the below scam email, copied verbatim (poor grammar and all) and is a good example of the initial email you can expect from a scammer trying this method:
I just relocated to SA from NSW and i need my Holden Belina 2008 model brakes replaced, i will also need some general service on it. Kindly get back to me if you can fix my car and also confirm if you accept credit card payments.
My name is Carol, I would appreciate if you understand that i am hearing impaired, i can't talk on phone 'could have called in', this is the best way we can communicate. My vehicle is a 6 cylinder Holden berlina 2008 vE v6 automatic commodore, Vin number is 6G1EL85729L307646, I had already diagnosed the problems of the car with a mechanic in NSW and was advised that i would need all brakes (front & rear) replaced, Please i would need you to get back to me with at least an estimate cost of doing this which would include front brake job(new pads, new rotors & Labour), rear brake job(new pads,new rotors, labor & internal adjust handbrake) and general servicing. I have just relocated from NSW to SA and i need my car down here, the car has been at a tow agents garage in NSW for the past few weeks.
Let me know if you can handle the repairs. I have made adequate arrangement with the tow agent that will be transporting my car from their garage to your workshop for the repairs. I will be making payment with my credit card, so let me know what type of credit card you accept for payment?
Lastly, I will need you to confirm your shop address for the tow agent to locate your workshop and also i was looking at the car towed to your workshop on Friday the 7th of February, how about that?
I await your response so we can proceed with booking
A reminder for members:
- When accepting a credit card payment, check with the card issuer for authorisation to avoid accepting stolen credit card details
- Be cautious when dealing with overseas or interstate orders and independently verify who you are dealing with before sending money or goods. If doubtful, do not proceed with the order. Be sceptical if normal banking processes are not available.
- Never pay money via wire transfer to help a customer access the goods or services you are selling.
You can also report a scam to the ACCC by clicking here.
If you have fallen victim to a scam or received one like this, click here to contact our Industry Engagement Specialist, Nathan Groves, so that he can let the broader MTA membership know of your experience.