It was a busy Tuesday afternoon at the end of June when my Business Development manager made me aware of a request for quotation from a company in Dubai via our electrical247.com website. It was for 1000 bulkheads delivered CFR to Dubai. My BDM sent over by e-mail a competitive price of £9600 and within a couple of hours received an e-mail order asking for a pro-forma invoice and our bank details, with the promise that payment would be made. Now a couple of things did not add up here to me, the first thing was this guy from the middle east never even attempted to barter which is unknown, and whilst he answered e-mails his phone just rang out.
Whilst my BDM was already sat in a Sombrero and Poncho dreaming of her Spanish holiday on the back of her commission I was a little more cautious. After calling the Bansley and Rotherham chamber for advice they gave me the name of Renate Halton who runs the South Yorkshire International Trade Forum (SYITF). Renate gave me some good pointers and stressed I call our bank to see if they knew of anything.
So I called our bankers RBS who basically said if they pay the money in and it clears it is unlikely to be a scam. We decided to devise a cunning plan and use our client account which rarely has money in and indeed had a zero balance as the bank details, so at least they could not empty the contents, which I am told is not possible anyway. My bank manager also said he would look out for the funds arriving. This morning he called me, a cheque for £75018.43 had arrived at our branch in Rotherham and on further investigation it was found to be drawn on a solicitor in Hertfordshires stolen chequebook. Our bank manager went on to explain he had delved further and it was a known scam and that we should expect an e-mail later saying that they had overpaid and could we pay the difference back into their account immediately. The e-mail duly arrived 2 hours later much to the dismay of our BDM, asking for the return of the ‘overpayment’ of £65,418.43.
Now don’t get me wrong here but what I would have done is barter down to say £9480, then sent a cheque for £9840 and say made a mistake transposing the figures can you return the £360. Much more chance of getting the money than writing a cheque for £75018.43 and saying you sent this by mistake for £9600 !!!!!!!!!!!
So if you get an e-mail from Ahmed at AH Mottaghi General Trading LLC in Dubai wanting to buy goods take a wide berth, I don’t know how you say it in Arabic Ahmed, but in Yorkshire its ‘You can’t kid a kidder’