At least five jewelers in the New York area have recently been stung by a wire fraud scam, in which a pending wire transfer is canceled after a customer picks up the item.
According to Jewelers Security Alliance vice president Bob Frank, the age-old scheme works like this: A suspect, generally described as “of Eastern European background,” picks out some high-end items, promising to pay by wire transfer.
“A short time later, the suspect comes in to pick up the items,” Frank says. “The jeweler calls the bank, and the bank says the transfer has been marked as pending. About the same time, the suspect walks out the door, the transaction is cancelled.”
The lesson, Frank says: “If something is pending, it’s not a transfer. If it’s not there, it’s not there.”
“People are anxious to make a sale, and they make mistakes,” he adds. “Jewelers should really contact their bank and find out what that means when it’s pending and what that means when it’s made.”
The FBI is currently investigating this scheme. If jewelers have more information or have been victims of this scam, Frank urges them to contact the JSA at 800-537-0067.