GRESHAM, Ore. – It may seem alluring: a whopping order for a small business.
But beware: Sometimes the cliché of “too good to be true” is, well, true.
Scammers are targeting small businesses in the Portland area, as Joslyn Feldmann, the owner of Gresham’s The Cupcake Queen, recently learned.
Feldmann, who opened her micro-business serving all kinds and sizes of cupcakes six months ago, was thrilled to receive a big order Wednesday through email and text. It was for 500 cupcakes for a local birthday party.
“I would have had 60 dozen cupcakes. Thirty boxes, big half-sheet boxes of cupcakes as far as the eye can see,” she said.
The order was for chocolate and the person who went by the name Pat Aaron was eager to pay his bill by credit card.
He even told her to add $50 for Feldmann’s tip and $690 to pay for a cupcake delivery.
Here’s where it got sketchy: He wanted Feldmann to send the cupcake courier that extra cash by Western Union to prepare for the order pickup next week.
“That’s when I thought, ‘Hmm,’” she said.
Feldmann, thankfully, didn’t bite.
How the scam works is that you send the fake courier the money and then later find out the credit card is stolen.
You are stuck with a mountain of cupcakes and a bill so big, it could likely shut down a small business.
“It probably would have ruined my business. I wouldn’t be able to do it anymore,” Feldmann said. “It would have been heartbreaking.”