Widespread scam hits diamond, jewelry and watch industry



JSA has received numerous recent reports of a type of fraud being attempted against the industry. There are different forms, with these varied elements:

1. A caller contacts a retail store or supplier and knows a great deal about the company he is allegedly calling from, and a great deal about the company he is calling. This knowledge includes the names of employees, shipping procedures, inventory on hand obtained through a firm’s website and even sku numbers.

2. The caller requests a certain high-end item be shipped overnight. The goal of the criminal is ultimately to divert a package shipped by FedEx, UPS or another shipper from the address of their order from a store to a different address of their choice.

3. In some cases a branch of a multiple location retail chain will receive a call allegedly from a store manager or other employee of another branch requesting that a certain high-end item be shipped right away, sometimes to the store, but sometimes to a customer or non-store address. The person who calls knows names, procedures and sometimes sku numbers, and sometimes will pretend to be an actual manager, salesperson or shipping person who works at the requesting branch. If they cannot have the branch ship the item to a location they specify, they will later contact FedEx or UPS and try to have the shipment diverted from the requesting branch to an address of their choice.

4. One of the variations of the scam is that a caller impersonating someone from a retail store contacts a supplier requesting that a high-end item be sent to the retail store. Sometimes the store has an existing account with the supplier and sometimes not. Again, the goal of the impersonator is to divert the shipped package to a different address.

The scammers engage in so-called social engineering, in which they have researched the names of personnel, procedures and online inventory of the target victim company and the company they are impersonating. They use Facebook, social media, websites, and telephone calls to gain information prior to the attempt. They will call numerous times if necessary to find out the name of the person in charge of shipping or the manager’s name or salespersons names, and the goods that are available. They will use this information to place an order, and to contact FedEx or other shipping company to divert a package being sent to a legitimate store location to the address of their choice.


1. Confirm who you are really talking to. If there is someone from a retail store or even another branch of your firm, and you do not know who you are talking to, excuse yourself for a second and say you will have to call them back. In other cases call back the store after the order or request is made to confirm that the order and the caller are legitimate. Do not use the number given to you by the caller, but call the actual number of the store, obtained through Google or elsewhere.

2. Beware of calls from blocked or unknown numbers.

3. Do not be fooled to give out inappropriate information to callers seeking information regarding your personnel or procedures. ALL EMPLOYEES MUST BE ALERTED NOT TO GIVE OUT INAPPROPRIATE INFORMATION. The scammers want to know as much as they can about your firm so they can sound legitimate.

4. Strictly limit procedures allowing changes of address on shipments. Some firms have only one person who can authorize a change of address, or have specified to FedEx or other shipper that all attempts at changes of address should instead be returned to the firm shipping the goods. Firmly notify your shipper regarding your instructions concerning change of address.

5. Never give out the FedEx or other tracking number of a package that you ship. It can be used by the fraud artist to re-direct the shipment to a location of their choice.

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