Our First Experience with an Internet Scam

In December, we experienced our first Internet scam. We received a large order, via an email message, from a woman claiming to be "Lillian Garelick". In her email, Ms. Garelick posed as a Japanese business woman with a small shop in Tokyo. She requested a quote for 35 cases of BBQ sauce and 14 cases of Teriyaki sauce, asking us to contact her own courier service for a shipping quote. According to Ms. Garelick, DHL and UPS could not be used because of prior "problems shipping to her location in Japan".

As she requested, we contacted her courier using a customer number she provided, giving all the shipment information she asked us to provide. The courier obliged us with a shipping quote, and we forwarded the information, along with a cost of the products, to "Ms. Garelick". She responded by providing two credit card numbers with instructions to charge only $900/day per card until the "balance was charged in full". The first two card numbers failed authorization by our credit card processing company.

When we let the prospective customer know, she provided two more credit card numbers, which also failed, setting off alarms for us. We began to research this person and the company. We asked her for her shop name (not originally provided) and a street address for her shop. We also asked for the same information for her "courier". She gave her company name as "Storm & Sons, Ltd" and the courier's name as, "Shipping Link Courier".

The scam was pretty elaborate, as evidenced by the fact that the person was able to provide not only street addresses, but real street addresses. The business in Japan appeared to be in Sony's building, which we determined by using Google Map's Street View. The courier's headquarters appeared to be in London, and we could see a large warehouse with many freight trucks parked around it, using Google's Satellite View. Fortunately, we have an acquaintance who works in Tokyo, Japan, who determined for us that there was shop by the name, "Storm and Sons, Ltd" in the Sony building. For the "courier's headquarters" in London, we performed a Google search for the street address, and actually turned up an electric services company at the given location.

Another suspicious aspect was that "Ms.Garelick" asked us to process the shipping charges on her credit cards, and then wire the funds for the shipping to a location in Louisiana even though the courier was supposedly in London, England. At this point, the issuing credit card company had contacted us, letting us know that one of the cards we had tried to process was stolen. We immediately contacted the Washington Attorney General's office and filed a complaint. At the credit card company's advice, we contacted our credit card processing company. Except for the surplus inventory we produced, we fortunately escaped with only $150 in credit card cancellation fees.

We hope that you can understand now our reasons for discontinuing accepting credit card payments by phone. If you'd like to present your credit card in person, please stop by our booth at one of our upcoming events.


Ordering by Phone

We are no longer able to accept credit card payments by phone.  We accept credit cards only in-person.  For all Internet orders, we use only PayPal. We apologize for this inconvenience and hope that you'll understand why we have to protect our small business in this way.