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International Scam Targets Printers

PostPress

A scam involving a fraudulent direct marketing agency operating out of Canada targets printers in the US, Printing Industries of America, Warrendale, Pennsylvania, recently advised. The company purports to represent clients marketing weight loss products.

According to PIA, the scam is simple but effective and has claimed a number of victims. "The marketing agency contacts printers via their website with a potential windfall job to produce millions of marketing pieces," Michael Makin, PIA president and CEO, wrote in an email to members. "The marketing agency literally banks on printers offering a line of credit based on initial feedback from credit references, which are similarly fraudulent."

When printers ask for a check to cover postage, it is promptly sent via UPS. The check, including hologram, looks completely official. Printers deposit it, thinking all is well – not realizing that any check drawn on a foreign bank account will take two to three weeks to validate and collect funds. This is the scam: some companies will print the pieces and mail them before the check clears, leaving the printer to cover the postage and printing costs. Sadly, a number of PIA members are out tens of thousands of dollars because of this scam.

The US Postal Service and law enforcement officials are investigating the matter in the US, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has been made aware as well. If printers are contacted for work by an unfamiliar foreign marketing agency, Makin advised to proceed with caution. "If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!"

He also offered a few tips to help companies avoid these kinds of scams, including:

  • Triple check the validity of the enterprise.
  • Never offer to do work without funds clearing in advance.
  • Do not accept funds drawn on a foreign account.
  • Only accept US money orders or wire transfers approved by your bank, ideally into a separate account from your operating account.

If you believe you have been a victim of a similar crime, contact local law enforcement officials immediately.