WHOLESALE SCAM

Posted on Posted in Investigations
August 5th, 2016
By Private Detective Fernando Alvarez
DIARIO LAS AMERICAS
.
Scam fits on every age and in every industry; it’s like the flu, which never ends because it always mutates. The era of the internet has not only brought new scams and frauds but also allowed local scams to become global, something like the globalization of fraud. The Internet makes the offer of the scammers more attractive while giving them better coverage to protect their identity. It does not mean that we should stop buying on the Internet but we must verify that both sellers and products are real.
.
The call came from one of the partners of a company from a distant country. “Good morning detective, our company is preparing the purchase of 1,000 tablets from a dealer in your country. We need you to send an investigator to inspect the shipment, count the tablets, turn on some randomly to check that they really work, check that the model number matches the one that we requested and also we want you to supervise the load to the airport. This is all we want. Can you help us?
.
“Of course,” I replied, “this kind of research is usually done in wholesale trade transactions, and of course our work will be discreet.” Then, I passed the budget and the client promise to send me all the information and payment for the service. But several days went by and I did not hear from this client anymore. Almost 10 days later, the man called me back and said “Detective, this has been horrible, my other two partners decided not to hire you because they thought it was not important to verify the products, the seller, nor the shipment. Yesterday, we received the shipment. Only 458 tablets arrived, many of them work but others are broken or not working at all, we received models that did not match the purchase order. We were charged $40,000 for products that are not worth more than $9,000. We are desperate because we already had these tablets sold to retailers in our country and now the seller’s phones are disconnected and we have no other way to make contact with them. We want to sue this company to recover our money. This scam can ruin our business. Can you help us?
.
“Yes sir, that is one of my specialties, although I prefer to investigate to avoid fraud,” I replied, we fixed the agreement and we started with the investigation based on the data that appeared in the purchase invoice and the shipment manifesto, the end the only thing my clients had. Identifying the seller at first was not easy, but we succeeded. To start with this supposed seller, Esteban [name has been changed] did not even have a business license, much less export license. Neither had an office or warehouse, the address of the invoice is the address of another wholesale company, not associated with Esteban. The subject had a history of minor fraud and several debts. His real experience in this business was to sell “refurbished” electronic equipment, i.e. used and repaired devices for retail. The people we interviewed knew him well because he bought all the equipment damaged, repaired or that had lost much value due to the entry of new technologies to the market. In other words his specialty was the sale of technological junk. However, in fact, it promoted the sale of new equipment to a value lower than that offered by the average of the distributors; Tempting offer for unwary buyers. We located his residence and also his few properties, some in the name of his wife. His center of operations was his house and his old truck.
.
The investigative report that I presented to my clients was a wakeup call, because they thought they were in negotiations with a solid distribution company and not with a common scammer. Client stated that if they could not recover from this loss, they would dissolve their company and each partner would take its own way. Starting a civil and criminal lawsuit against Esteban would cost them a few thousand dollars more and these three partners no longer wanted to spend more money. Indeed, shortly afterwards the company dissolved, only one of the partners continued in the wholesale technology business and since then he has contracted my services every time he make a major purchase. As for Esteban I have not heard anything yet, most likely he continues in the same junk and scam business every time he find an unwary buyer.
.
For your own safety, always check before making wholesale purchases, avoid buying blindly. Private investigators can be your best solution when it comes to verifying a person, a company, a major purchase, or as in this case avoiding a scam. Due diligence investigations can save you a lot of money, avoid dislikes, stress and even the dissolution of your own business.
.
Beware of fraud, but if you need help, call us at 866-224-1245.