Free ‘gift delivery’ cost couple $4,000
Ted Hubert

There is a scam going around that seems to be a nice gesture on the surface and many have fallen victim to it.

A telephone call alerts you that a delivery man will visit you within an hour with a nice gift and the call is to verify that an adult will be home.

This happened to a couple, Bill and Mary, and on schedule a uniformed deliveryman drove into the driveway. He carried a beautiful arrangement of flower and a bottle of wine.

Pleasantries were exchanged and Mary asked “Who sent these gifts?” The deliveryman said that a card would follow with that information. (The card never arrived)

Then Mary was told about the $3.50 charge for delivering an alcoholic beverage.

She offered cash which was quickly refused for two reasons.

Cash would not establish the record needed for the transaction nor would it verify that an adult received the goods.

The use of a credit card or debit card would prove that the gifts were not just left on a doorstep where it could be stolen or taken by a minor.

Refusing cash also provided greater “protection” for the deliverymen from robberies.

The company policies seemed logical and by this time Bill, overhearing the conversations joined with wallet in hand.

The deliveryman asked Bill to swipe the card and enter the PIN and then his security information. The deliveryman left and Bill and Mary took the gift inside, wondering all the while, who sent these nice gifts to them. It was not their anniversaries nor a birthday.

It was not around any special time of year like Valentine’s Day or Christmas. It remained a mystery to them.

The following Monday they had another surprise.

Over the weekend $4,000 had been withdrawn from their bank account. It seems that a “dummy” card was made from the information entered into the deliveryman’s machine.

Using the ATM machines at four locations was all that it took to make these unauthorized withdrawals with the dummy card.

Bill and Mary notified their bank which closed the account and opened a new account and issued a new card.

They went to the local police department and filed an offense report.

While at the police station Bill and Mary learned that others had been visited by the man dressed in uniform and driving a truck with a sign on the truck door that read “Express Couriers.”

Beware of gifts being delivered without a card telling you about the sender.

Beware of charges connected to item you did not order and know absolutely nothing about.

You should not expect victims to forgive these criminals for taking money from people through trickery, lies and deceit.

Milam County TRIAD keeps you informed so this scam will not make you its next victim.

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2014-02-20 digital edition

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