BBB warns of familiar scam hitting businesses in Richmond

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Better Business Bureau is sending notice to area businesses that crooks are faxing in orders looking to rip you off. Fortunately, a Henrico florist was two steps ahead.

Not everyone's considerate of your time or money. That's what a Henrico business owner found out when he got an order request that turned out to be phony.

At Coleman Brothers flowers, orders come in everyday by phone, in person, even by fax.

So when owner Glenn Wilkinson got a special order, he didn't give it a second thought…until he began reading the details.

"It says 'hello my name is lanza Steve. I would like to order for 8 big bouquet flowers for my brother wedding'," Wilkinson reads acknowledging the poor grammar.

Something didn't seem right. A person with an out of state Google phone number and two different names wanted to place a huge order, but insisted the shop only contact him by email or text message.

"The color should be in bright summer color. It will be pick up by private carrier on 8th of next month," Wilkinson continued to read.

He sent the order straight to the BBB.

"The incentive for the scammer is you're going to be sending them money," says Tom Gallagher.

He says in many cases like these, the person behind the fax will offer the business a fraudulent amount of money above the amount of the actual order, in hopes the business will send the scammer the difference.

"Lo and behold you'll end up sending them that $4,000 or $2,000 and that's the last you'll ever see of that and nothing will ever happen," Gallagher said.

No order. No business. End of story.

"It's a very, very dangerous thing," Gallagher adds.

Wilkinson was able to avoid it, not falling victim to someone in cyber-space looking for a hand out.

"We would've had to special order quite a few flowers to make those arrangements…We would've made $2,000 worth of flowers that we would've never gotten paid for," he said.

You don't have to be a business owner to become a target, experts say scammers will go after whoever they can to get your money or your personal information. The BBB says, this type of scam has also made its way to caterers, auto parts stores, and restaurants in the Richmond area.

The Better Business Bureau is sending notice to area businesses that crooks are faxing in orders looking to rip you off.If you feel you've been the target of a scam, contact the BBB at 804-648-0030 or visit their website at

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