For those of you who are new to these scams, the sender is looking for a bakery to take a bogus credit card over the phone and charge more than the amount of the cake (e.g. for *shipping*).
He tells you he has a preferred shipper he likes to use but they only take cash. You charge the entire amount on a card that initially goes through. Then he asks you to wire the *shipping* via Western Union or some other non refundable method.
By the time the bank (or card issuer) figures out the transaction is bogus, the transaction amount is charged back to (recovered from) your bank account. You are then out the entire charged sum, including the money you wired to the third party shipper, who is no longer at whatever contact number or address you might have had. If you actually made the cake, you are out that, too.
Always beware transactions that are entirely electronic, especially those willing to pay large amounts in advance for cakes ordered on short notice. AND ESPECIALLY when they ask you to process payments for third parties. Most legitimate requests for large, expensive cakes are local, and the inquiry is made in person or on the phone.
You should collect as much information as you can and report it to your local police, or the internet fraud sector of the FBI, but these individuals are rarely caught. We found it hilarious that this guy's name rhymed with scammer and spammer.
From: Anthony Spanner <email@example.com>
Subject: Cake Order
Date: August 24, 2014 6:51:13 AM CDT
To: Anthony Spanner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
My name is Adrian Thomas, I'd like to make an inquiry about wedding cakes FOUR-TIERED WHITE CAKE WITH FRESH ROSES (4 tier cake, butter cream icing hand pipped design & red roses to finish this elegant cake Traditional vanilla sponge, with jam and butter cream) prior to an upcoming event next week. Can you handle these arrangements for a wedding ceremony coming up next week? & also do you accept credit cards for form pre-payment. I have attached the sample of the cake on this email. Thank you, Adrian
Here are the major red flags that should have grabbed your attention:
1) The grammar is off - either because English is not this person's first language, or they cut and pasted from several sources. Or both.
2) The term "sponge" is British for cake, and almost never used in the U.S.
3) We've made hundreds of wedding cakes, and never had one this large ordered a mere week prior to the event without a major explanation.
4) Most wedding cakes are ordered by the bride or her family. This person never says he (or she) is getting married. The first reference is an "event next week" then "a wedding ceremony." It is a little thing, but you don't make a cake for a ceremony, you make it for the reception.
5) The email specifies a butter cream cake, but the photo is of a fondant covered cake.
6) The email specifies a hand piped design, but there is no piping on the cake in the photo.
7) The sender never mentions the exact date or location of the wedding.
Sometimes we play along for a while, to see how the scam will play out. More often, the email goes straight to the trash bin.