Mid November I received an email with an order to Finland!
"Hello, I want to order from you company to my store in Finland, And do you accept credit card as form of payment? i will be waiting to read back from you at your earliest convenience. Isabella.Email: email@example.com"
I was flattered, that a store in Finland wanted to sell my products. I wondered how they found me, but was open to the idea of having Savage Daughter Soap Company go International. They ordered around $500 worth of goods and after I gave them an estimate from Canada Post of around $100. They replied,
"Thanks for your reply back with the total quote of my order,I really appreciate you getting back to me.I have been experienced lots of difficulties when it comes to receiving shipment to my address here in Finland, We're located in a very remote area of the city, which cause us a lot of hindrance in receiving shipment in the past. I want you to contact my shipper which i use every time i purchase order worldwide via the below e-mail address about my order JSGFORWADERINC@GMAIL.COM"
I then contacted the shipper and gave them the dimensions and weight, with a return quote of:
Express Shipment (2 to 3 days) $705.42 CAD
Standard Shipment(3 to 5 days) $670.23 CAD
Which is more than the cost of wholesale goods! I asked Isabella if they would give the go ahead and she said to go with the more expensive express shipment, but the company only accepted Moneygram and that if we charged her credit card with the funds, could I go pay at the nearest Moneygram office.
"But, i just got a response from my shipping Agent that He cannot receive payment via credit or debit card from me at the moment due to some circumstance beyond their control. Please I want you to help me Charge $705.42 CAD to my shipping agent who is going to pick up my ordered items from you.
Please note that i should have given the shipping agent my credit card for him to deduct the shipping funds but He told me that he doesn't have the facilities to charge or debit credit card at the moment,so that's why i bring my vote of confidence in you and i don't want you to betray the vote of confidence i put in you. I want you to transfer the funds to him after you have make the charges and the money charged from my credit card has cleared your account, then you can now make the transfer to the agent via western union. I will have love to do this my self but there no Moneygram here around me."
My heart sank with the realization that this was a scam. I did find it a tad strange that she ended her emails in, "GOD BLESS YOU," but I thought it was common business practice in Finland. The Canadian version of ending an email with, "Cheers."
I began Googling and this fell under "shipping scams," with many red flags.
Use of Moneygram or wire transfer
Suggested use of their personal shipping company
High shipping cost across the country or abroad
Payment with credit card
This website covers more of the scam warnings, specifically for glass manufacturers. Most likely it was with a stolen credit card, and they have a front for a shipping company. Whether or not they would have actually received the organic soap & shampoo bars is a mystery. Christmas gifts for the crook's family, perhaps? Were they even based in Finland? I checked my Google Analytics and there were no hits from Finland, but from Russia, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Austria. (Is there such things as a Google Detective Agency? Private A.I. .... )
I emailed the client back asking for her website, (to 'advertise on my site'), and for the website of the shipping client. Nothing came up in a Google search when I put in either, or the address in Espoo, Finland. I tracked down JSG Forwader (which isn't spelt correctly but had the logo of this company in the UK, John Good Shipping). I emailed them to confirm the ID number of this client. No response from anyone (as of two weeks ago).
So, I wasted a bit of time getting the order together and looking into shipping internationally, (plus embarrassment of sharing the news to anyone who would listen, "FINLAND wants to carry my stuff. This could be a turning point!"). But no product wasted, stolen credit card charged, or dirty money wire transfers.
If anyone has similar stories please do share. I'm going to post to a scam website so other small businesses don't get tricked- lured in by Europe calling.
**Update ! Several other small business online shops have contacted me saying they received large orders from Isabella Dylan and I have filled out this form https://complaint.ic3.gov/default.aspx to file a complaint. Please do so as well so we can stop this! Just takes a few minutes.