He hooked me easily. On the phone. He had a believable story, how he’d partnered with my company’s main competitor for strategic business alliances, but that person screwed him, took the deals but didn’t pay him.
He knew the market segment we were in, he knew that competitor, and he dropped a lot of very convincing names. Decision makers in major companies, websites, all very convincing. And he had deals ready to go, he said. Contacts in companies who wanted to do volume buying of our product.
This was exciting. I’m an entrepreneur; I wanted the sales. And the names he dropped checked, the companies checked. It all made me happy.
But it was just a plain swindle. He ended up taking several thousand dollars as an advance payment. He cashed the check, closed the account, and disappeared. The telephone number he’d been on was disconnected.
And I had made a point of trusting him. Before we sent the check, our controller suggested we should check him out a bit. I said no, thanks, but I trust my instinct, send him the check. Sigh…
If you explore this, there’s an obvious lesson in healthy cynicism, but there’s also a bit of a morality play here, because he was offering me a shortcut, leverage on work already done, something vaguely akin to something for nothing. I admit it.
This all happened more than 10 years ago. I’m posting it today because I liked Alexis Martin Neeley‘s post on The Scammers Who Conned Me Out of $10,000 on her Intreprid Mompreneur blog a week or so ago. It’s a refreshingly honest account, which might help others. And when I saw it, I decided to post this one.
Both stories could go onto John Caddell‘s Mistake Bank, a delightful collection of stories about mistakes. Learn from my mistakes, or Alexis’ mistakes, and don’t make the same mistakes. Good idea, no?