BBB Helps Save Local Accredited Business $9,000

October 16, 2017
Better Business Bureau works day in and day out to promote ethics in the marketplace. Recently, these efforts paid off for a Dayton BBB Accredited Business targeted by a scammer. The company recieved an e-mail from an individual ordering cabinets out of the blue and provided a credit card number to pay for them. The local company was instructed to charge $9,000 on the credit card and send the requested cabinets to Puerto Rico via the shipping company, International Steamboat. The local company charged the credit card, had second thoughts and contacted the Better Business Bureau for help.
The request raised red flags to the local company and BBB team as Puerto Rico is currently reeling from the aftermath of the hurricane, leading the BBB to open an investigation. The local business owner said a gentleman by the name of Stephen Adams contacted him from a phone number with a New York area code. The credit card provided by Stephen to order the cabinets was not in his name and was registered to a Virginia address, but tied to a New York phone number. Further research on the name on the credit card found that it belonged to a senior citizen who had his identity stolen. Mastercard had contacted the customer earlier about fraudulent charges and the credit card was closed.
The cabinets were to be delivered to a third gentleman with an address in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. The shipping company to be used for delivery was International Steam Boat or SteamShip Int. Co. The domain registration for the International Steam Boat Web site was created in August of 2017 and the developer listed the country as Nigeria and the State of Texas.
Staff immediately advised the local company to work with his bank to reverse the transaction and not send the cabinets. BBB offers the following advice to protect yourself from scams like this:
  • Know who you’re dealing with and be wary of unexpected orders with advance payment by credit card or check included.
  • Don’t accept payment for more than the selling price. Scammers often advise you to keep what they allegedly owe you and return the rest. Unfortunately, victims find the checks and credit cards are bogus and are out the money and any merchandise forwarded to the scammer
  • Suggest an alternative way for the buyer to pay, like an escrow service or online payment service. There may be a charge for an escrow service. If the buyer insists on using a particular escrow or online payment service you’ve never heard of, check it out. Visit its website, and read its terms of agreement and privacy policy. Call the customer service line. If there isn’t one — or if you call and can’t get answers about the service’s reliability — don’t use the service.
  • Ask for a check drawn on a local bank or a bank with a local branch if you accept payment by check. That way, you can make a personal visit to make sure the check is valid. If that’s not possible, call the bank where the check was purchased and ask if it is valid. Get the bank’s phone number from directory assistance or an Internet site that you know and trust, not from the check or from the person who gave you the check.
  • End the transaction immediately if the buyer insists you wire back funds. Legitimate buyers don’t pressure you to send money by wire transfer services. In addition, you have little recourse if there’s a problem with a wire transaction.
John North, BBB serving Dayton/Miami Valley president and CEO, shares, “Stories like this one are why we do what we do at your Better Business Bureau. We are here to protect businesses and consumers and put scammers out of business. Anytime you question an offer, take time to check it out. BBB can always help. Just call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301 or visit our Web site at And, you can always report scams at BBB Scam Tracker, By reporting it here, you help us investigate and warn others.”
About Your BBB Serving Dayton and the Miami Valley 
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people and businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2014, turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.7 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at BBB serving Dayton and the Miami Valley is one of 109 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico. BBB serving Dayton and the Miami Valley serves seven and half Ohio counties, including Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, Shelby and northern Warren counties. Your Dayton-based BBB is unique in that it provides business solutions and consumer services in specialized areas to other BBBs, businesses and consumers. It remains focused on the Miami Valley, but through these key products and services, it is an international organization.