MACKAY businesses have been targeted by a scam that almost fooled two men.
Using stolen credit cards, the scammer tried to reel in at least two local businessmen in an attempt to extract money from the cards.
Both businessmen communicated online with the scammer about building projects but soon recognised the emails for what they were - dodgy. The bait was the money offered.
Peter Houghton, who owns City Gates and Fencing, received a series of emails from a man named 'Kelvin', who claimed to have just moved into a Glenella house and wanted a pool fence built.
He would pay by credit card.
Because he was "hearing impaired" the man stated that correspondence had to be done through email. He asked Mr Houghton to go to the house and give quotes when the removalists would arrive with his furniture.
However, because Kelvin would be in hospital to undergo "double cochlear implant surgery", Mr Houghton was asked could he do "a favour" and charge $2500 on the supplied credit card account number and then pay the van driver $2000 and take $500 for himself.
"If you will agree to carry on with the job I can email you my card details and also the removalist western union (sic) details for their payment," the email said. "I hope you understand me well by putting my condition into consideration. Thanks."
However, by then Mr Houghton and his wife were sceptical and dropped the matter, particularly after being told that businessman Chris Holt, of Spanline Mackay, had also received a similar thread of emails.
Mr Houghton checked with Scamwatch, which confirmed it was a scam.
Mr Holt said his business had received an email from a man called "Christain", saying he had just acquired a house in South Mackay and wanted a patio built.
Christain had said he would not send a phone number because he was hearing-impaired
Mr Holt said he noted the bad grammar in the emails but first thought it may be caused by Christain's claimed hearing issue.
He was instructed to charge $4000 from two Mastercards, the numbers of which he was supplied with (the same scenario as Mr Houghton's), and send the removalist's account $3000 and keep $1000 to begin the patio work.
"I was niggled a little bit. We don't have eftpos and we link up directly with our bank's online credit facility. The first one came back as a reported stolen card."
Now curious, Mr Holt investigated further and tracked down another businessman on the Sunshine Coast who was being targeted at the same time and warned him.
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