Major Scam Operation Attacking Our Industry Locally
There is a fraudulent direct marketing agency headquartered in Montreal & Toronto that has successfully scammed at least two PGAMA members in recent weeks. They are operating a highly sophisticated scam and have been stealing from numerous vendors and thousands of consumers for over a year. The names of the individuals will vary, the packages they are looking to mail will also vary, but the primary organization operates under Direct Response MKT and the “client" they represent is Global Media.
Here is what to look out for:
1. You will receive a credit reference sheet.
2. When you attempt to validate credit, you will receive responses to each of their references indicating Direct Response MKT has great credit. Each of the references do not provide a phone number, only email address.
3. Any checks you receive will be drawn on a foreign bank, most likely BMO Bank of Montreal. Warning - the account number and routing number are not valid.
4. They are looking to produce a variety of consumer related products like weight loss pills, etc. The piece does not contain any phone numbers, website or addresses.
5. The return address and return envelope is addressed to a Portland, Maine address. 91 Auburn St Ste J, Portland, ME 04103
6. They are looking to mail anywhere between 100M - 500M pieces, all at standard mail rates.
The scam is simple and effective. Most companies will offer a line of credit based on the initial feedback from references. Once you begin production, you will request postage and they will UPS you a check. If you deposit the check, any check drawn on a foreign bank account will take 2-3 weeks to validate and collect funds. This is the scam - most companies will drop the mail before the check clears leaving you to cover the postage monies. If you request a wire instead of depositing the check, they will agree to send a wire, but never will.
If you are to be contacted via your website for any new Canadian agency, here is how you should validate the organization is legitimate.
1. Google the addresses of the company. In this scam, they are all UPS Store locations in Montreal & Toronto, not a real, physical address.
2. Google the addresses for their references. In this scam, they were using Regis office centers around Montreal & Toronto.
3. Do not accept a check not drawn on a foreign bank. Reminder, all foreign checks do not clear through the Federal Reserve and must use a third party collection company to collect on the money. This process takes 2-3 weeks. Due to strict privacy laws in Canada, most Canadian bank are unwilling to provide you information on the validity of the check.
4. Only accept wires if you are uncertain about the legitimacy of an international organization. It is also recommended to open an incoming wire account separate from your operating bank account. Once an international wire is sent, it is irrevocable.
If anyone has been victimized by this organization, please contact PGAMA immediately.