THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) – A Thomasville woman is warning other small business owners about an international scam that nearly cost her $3000.
Dawn Wainright thought her small business Lighting Divas in Thomasville was taking off and going international.
"I received an email asking about some prices on some lighting fixtures," said Wainright. "The gentlemen said that he wanted us to ship those fixtures to Ghana, Africa to an orphanage over there. So we thought we were going international and we were excited about that."
In the email, the man, who called himself Jerry Jackson, told Wainright he was deaf. When Jackson called Wainright to complete the transaction, he used an AT&T operator to translate his typed messages.
"I received two credit card numbers and tried to put them through and they were both declined," continued Wainright.
Jackson told Wainright he'd get back to her with another credit card. The next day a shipping company contacted Wainright and said they'd be willing to come pick up the fixtures and send them to Africa. But there was a catch.
"They wanted Lighting Divas to send a Western Union check after we received the money via credit card."
The cost to ship the fixtures totaled $3000. Wainright began to think something fishy was going on. Her suspicions were soon confirmed by AT&T.
"When the gentlemen got off the phone through AT&T, they stopped and hesitated and said we need to let you know that this could be an international scam."
Wainright immediately ceased all contact with the man. And although she was disappointed that her business wasn't going international, Wainright hopes her story will help other small business owners spot the signs of a scam that could erase all their hard work.
Wainright tried to visit to the orphanage's web site to find information to report to authorities.
She says the web site was phony and now she has a computer virus.
She's having her computers checked to make sure her business records aren't being hacked.