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Contact 6 investigates international shipping scam

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SAUKVILLE (WITI) -- An international shipping scam targets a local business owner, costing him thousands and changing the way he does business forever.

Greg Angeli runs a small appliance-parts shipping business and has gotten some strange orders lately.

"I will be needing ten unit of the item for now," Angeli says as he reads comments from a recent order.  "I'll hope to get more next week.  Kindly get back to me with the total amount."

Besides the broken English, he's getting orders with different billing and shipping addresses.  And just recently realized the scam is significant.

"About a month later, got a notification that it was a charge-back," Angeli says, "that the person who's name was on the billing had no knowledge of ever ordering anything like that."

Scammers are using other people's billing and shipping addresses to order and re-package parts from Angeli's warehouse.  Angeli assumes the orders are legitimate so he spends the money to pack and ship the parts.  But when the real account-holders realize what's happened, they cancel the order - sticking Angeli with the bill for his labor.

So far, Angeli has lost nearly $4,000 to this trick - one that shows no signs of stopping.

"If you were the victim of an identity theft," says Saukville Police Officer Emily Neese, "it's going to take about 18 months to recoup your losses and get things in order again."

Officer Neese works to stop scams in Saukville and says a scam starts with you.

"A scam can happen to any body, anywhere," she says.  "It's just a matter of who's going to fall for it."

Angeli says he won't be falling for this trick any longer - and besides talking to police and the FBI, he says this experience has changed the way he'll do business forever.

"Anytime we get an order now where the shipping and the billing are different," Angeli says, "we don't ship it until we get a little more information.  We want to talk to the person whose name is on the credit card."

If you're contacted by someone you don't know and they start asking you to accept and ship products, report it right away to police - the longer you wait, the longer that person has to erase his trail of evidence.

And if you ever find unauthorized charges on your credit card, call your credit card company - in most cases, they can help you get the money back and stop the scam.

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