Money Laundering
Home Scams Product Order Request Money Laundering Emails

Product Order Request Money Laundering Emails

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:

Emails sent to various businesses ask recipients to reply with details of the available products with a view to a future order.

Brief Analysis:

The emails are part of a money-laundering scam. If the recipient replies with the requested details, the scammer will subsequently place an order and request to pay via credit card. They will ask to pay substantially more than the agreed price and request that the recipient wire the extra money to a ‘shipping agent’ or another third party provider. The credit cards used in the transactions will be stolen. This scheme is a means of converting the proceeds of crime into untraceable cash.

Example:

Subject: QuotationDear Vendor,
Greetings,

We are interested in your product. Please can you detail me on your payment terms with delivery and how I can place an order with your company. Firstly maybe you can start with sending me your price list and catalog for our consideration. Do you sell other brands or can you do an OEM, any specification?

I look forward to your soon reply.

Best Regards,

Michelle [Name Removed]
Sales Department

 

Example:

Subject: PURCHASE INQUIRY..Dear Vendor,
Am sending you this email in regards to make inquiry for ( CHEESE PLANE ) from your company.i will be very glad if you get back to me with the available sizes/models or a link. And also i want to know if you do accept credit card for this purchase and Let me know if you accept pickup at your location.. Hope to hear from you.Are you the Sales Manager or the Owner?Awaiting for your prompt reply.Thank You
[Name Removed]

 

Example:

Subject: Order NeededHelloMy name is David and i send this inquiry to your company in regards to order some Plastic Containers and i will like to know the types and sizes of
Plastic Containers you have as well as the prices on them.
Immediate responds is require and advise on payment method you do accept.
With Kind Regards
David**************

 

Example:

Good day,Please Can you furnish me in full details about the standard of your
products.I will appreciate it more if you can give me with details
specification / price lists to avoid making a wrong choice of products.I am a Middle east (Qatar) Union Project Accredited commission Agent and i am
looking for manufacturers whose product is of good quality. I need
different kinds of Product and you can reach me for effective and
efficient business at my email address. (Address Removed)I am looking forward to read your response.

Thank you for your cooperation

Regards,

Mr.Mohamed [Name Removed]

 

Detailed Analysis:

Businesses that sell products online will have likely received emails asking for more information about the particular products they offer. The emails typically request pricing details and payment options.

Of course, some such messages may be genuine customer enquiries. However, many represent the opening gambit in money laundering scams.

If the vendor responds to such a scam email with the requested information, the scammers will then place an order using email and ask to pay via credit card. Often, the orders will be quite complex and convoluted and the scammers will insist that they deal directly with the vendor rather than conduct the transactions via the vendor’s online ordering system.

And, the scammer will ask to pay considerably more than the order total with the proviso that the vendor sends the extra money to a specified ‘shipping agent’ or courier service. The scammers will make some excuse as to why they cannot pay for shipping directly. They may warn that the order will be withdrawn if the vendor does not agree to accept the extra fee and wire it to the delivery agent. They will also insist that the shipping fee is wired via a money transfer system such as Western Union. 
However, the scammers are not remotely interested in buying any of the vendor’s products. Their real goal is to convert funds from stolen credit cards into untraceable cash. The supposed “shipping agents” are in fact the scammers themselves. Thus, the victim will be inadvertently accepting payment via a stolen credit card and then sending a portion of the payment back to the scammers as cash.

Meanwhile, the transaction trail may lead investigators directly to the vendor while the scammers can disappear with their suitably laundered funds.

The scam emails are often quite generic and may request information about a vendor’s ‘products’ without specifying which particular types of products they are interested in.  This is because the scammers may send identical emails to thousands of potential victims, regardless of what they may actually be selling. In fact, a lot of recipients may not be selling anything at all. The scammers only need to gain a few victims out of each emailing campaign to make the scheme pay off for them.

Some less experienced vendors, concerned that refusal may result in the cancellation of a large order, may agree to the scammer’s request.

It may not always be possible to tell an initial scam email apart from a genuine request. But, if after replying with the requested information, you are asked to accept more than the required payment and use the remainder to pay a third party, do not proceed.

This is only one type of online money laundering. Other versions consist of fake ‘payment agent’ jobs in which the hapless ’employee’ is instructed to receive funds from customers, deduct his or her wages, and wire the remainder back to the ’employer’. Again, the money received will be in the form of stolen or bogus cheques or fraudulent bank and credit card payments.


Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer