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Spam scam strikes again

Tuesday, 27 July 2010
By Print 21 Online Article

Print companies are being warned against an upsurge in emails requesting quotations that turn out to be scams with the potential to cost them thousands of dollars.

According to Printing Industries national communication and technical services manager, Joe Kowalewski, there has been a resurgence of scam activity over the past few weeks, generating inquiries from member companies seeking advice on how to deal with or identify the malicious requests.

“Unfortunately this is a by-product of the digital communication age we live and work in and companies therefore need to be vigilant to ensure that they don’t allow themselves to be caught up wasting time and money responding to these scam quotation requests,” he said.

Kowalewski said the latest round of print quotation scams had become a little more sophisticated but still had the tell-tale signs that were an integral part of their operation.

“They will usually request a quotation to print either religious or child welfare focussed flyers, and more recently books. They may even haggle over the initial quotation or reduce the production run length to meet a so-called budget. On occasion companies receive a phone call to discuss the job to help create the illusion that the job is genuine,” he said.

“However, the tell-tale signs remain unchanged. The email accounts used are always the free, untraceable kind, usually Gmail, or Yahoo, for example, and the wording is often in poor English, again with a strong religious flavour. Supplied artwork may be text-based or a poor quality graphic.”

The business end of the scam kicks in when delivery is discussed and prepayment of freight by the printer is requested to the ‘client’s recommended Freight Company’ via a Western Union money transfer, usually to an African destination. Although credit card details may be provided to reclaim the money, they are predominantly fake or stolen – either way the printer loses out.

Kowalewski said companies should ensure that their sales and estimating staff were aware of the scam format and knew how to identify it.

“Our ScamWatch section on is a valuable took with which to do that as it has samples of the e-mails you may receive. We also list hundreds of the alias names used by the scammers so they can be readily identified,” he said.

“Our listing has been compiled from similar scam attacks on companies throughout Australia and overseas and has become a global resource not only for the printing industry, but for other targeted industries and for law enforcement agencies monitoring scam activities.”

Concerned printers can access ScamWatch here to check e-mail addresses currently being used by scammers. 


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