If you’re a small business owner in the Mid-South, FOX13 has a warning for you.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) said scammers are targeting handymen and contractors across the Mid-South.
When it starts to warm up, the BBB said business scams really start to increase.
FOX13′s reporter Mandy Hrach spoke with a local painter and said he’s been targeted four times over the past couple of months.
“I get a text saying they want me to get an estimate on a job,” Harry Camp, the owner of ‘The Paint Doctor’ said.
As a painter in Memphis, most of Camp’s customers learn about him by word of mouth.
He said it wasn’t out of the ordinary when he got a text from someone he didn’t know about a job.
“They use houses and target houses that are either for sale or for rent and of course, they can look on Zillow or wherever to find those,” he said.
The scammer told Camp he was out of town and wanted Camp to paint a house he owned for sale in Memphis.
He then sent Camp this seemingly real $7,000 check, which was $5,000 dollars more than what Camp quoted for the job.
“They make up something like, ‘We’ve got a situation. We have to pay the closings; we still owe some fees. To expedite things and to not hold you up, can we just do it in one check, and we will let you know where to send the excess funds,” Camp said.
Growing suspicious, Camp contacted the Better Business Bureau, who told him the check wasn’t real.
“You’ll get the funds, and the check won’t have cleared, and when the bank realizes it is a fake check, you are on the line for the money,” Daniel Irwin with the BBB of the Mid-South said.
Irwin said fake check scams are nothing new, but scammers are always coming up with new variations of them, and recently, have been targeting small business owners.
He said anytime anyone overpays you and wants you to send money back to them, it is most likely a scam.
As for Camp, he said falling for a scam like this could devastate a small business.
“Small businesses could probably absorb one or two of those, but at $4,000 to $5,000 a pop, how many of those can you afford to lose on?” he said.
Whether you are a contractor or scouting out someone to do work for you, the BBB said you need to get to know who you are dealing with.
You always want to try to meet the person you are doing business with face to face if possible.
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