Alicia – Jun 08, 2020
Victim Location 11946
Total money lost $16,000
Type of a scam COVID-19
I was contacted via email by Ben Hong a sales representative from this company. Now mind you my company does business with Chinesse manufacturers for LED lighting so it is not out of the ordinary to receive a proposal for someone selling products from China as we have also attended trade shows in Hong Kong so we do receive quite a bit of offers. I got in touch with Ben through email and then I suggested we connect through WhatsApp as it is easier to have a conversation there and again very common practice to use this or WeChat to communicate with Asian manufacturers. I reviewed their website and seemed quite real and detailed and their pricing was really attractive (Cheaper than others but not by an outrageous amount so it made sense), the biggest difference was that they offered their pricing with shipping included, however since their website clearly states they work with FedEx it appeared to me that perhaps they do a substantial amount of business with FedEx and thats why they can offer discounted pricing on shipping.
I first ordered some Covid19 antibodies testing kits and I saw pictures of the kits so I figured it was a small risk so I sent the $850 via Moneygram as this was the quickest way to get the product, I was quickly told product was on it’s way and was even provided a tracking number via cogate logistics so everything seemed to be going well. The first couple of days the package seemed to move and make some stops (not out of the ordinary since even DHL or FedEx sometimes seem to send your packages on a world tour before arriving). At the same time we had a client requesting to buy 80,000 medical grade masks to which I asked Ben and he said they had them and even showed me pictures of the inventory and the packaging which was quite impressive and even the test studies, I ordered that plus 10,000 civilian 3 ply disposable face masks, I was told that I could wire the funds for the 80,000 ($13,750 which was Wired to a Key Bank Account under the name of Pamela D Evans from Portland, Oregon who now is listed on their site as a US Rep.) and that I should use Western Union or Money Gram for the 10,000 (small amount about $1450) so that they can ship the entire order while they await for wire to hit their account as that can take a couple of days but if at least a partial payment was received that they will get the shipping approved inmediately. It really didn’t seem suspicious as most manufacturers now will not send product until payment is confirmed with their bank. I waited a few days and begun to ask for updates and at first Ben was responsive and even went to far as to tell me that goods were clearing customs in CA and that once they clear there I will have my FedEx tracking information and even got a text from a "customs agent" in CA reassuring me that my goods were on their way and that they just needed to get additional documentation from manufacturer and that Ben was on it. Several days went by and still getting the same story that I will be receiving my goods within 3 days, then Ben said if I don’t get my goods within 4 business days I will get refunded from insurance company (no idea who this company was supposed to be) and from there I have not heard a word from him or anyone else. I attempted to run a ACH debit from my other company to refund myself the money I was scammed (I did send several messages to Ben warning that if I did not get a response I would attempt to get my money back but no response), however my merchant decided it was not allowed and even terminated my merchant account as a result (they called 2 days later to confirm that the account I had wired money to had not sufficient funds for the amount I attempted the refund from).
So in short I have a pissed off client ( I have since reordered goods from another manufacturer and had a trusted freight forwarder pick up goods from facility and they should be arriving within a day or two so that we can fulfill the order from client), no more merchant account (which could really hurt my business), and no sign of my money or product.