Monday, January 31, 2011

AVON Representatives: Important Update on Fraud Prevention Info

Good morning. This post is addressed primarily to AVON Representatives, but there's also some very good information we all could use about protecting ourselves, our identities and our finances. Here is information from AVON on Fraud Prevention. AVON reps, you can also log into, the site for representatives to view this information. I thought I would share it here. Please note that this is very serious, and I personally have received these types of requests, so this is very accurate. Do take heed.

 AVON Article
Best Practices for Avoiding Fraud

For quite some time now Avon has made a concerted effort to keep you apprised of the latest scams and the ways in which you can protect yourself from these criminals. However, these scams are on the increase. Newer versions are constantly being created by the criminals and as a result, Avon has designed a new site to help protect you, our Representative, from such fraudulent activities.

Please consider the following best practices for avoiding fraud when conducting your Avon business. Most importantly, never send money to a stranger using a money transfer service and beware of purchases or deals that seem too good to be true.

Examples of Phishing Scheme(s) Against Avon Representatives

Fake Online Sales Transactions, whereby a criminal offers to buy something from you and requests that they pay you an amount well over the price of the item(s) they are buying. In return, they ask you to send them a check for the difference. The payment to you is not sent, but your check is cashed, and the criminal pockets the difference. Additionally, the check that you sent has your bank account number, bank routing code, address, and phone number.

Fake Online Order Purchases, whereby a criminal offers to buy Avon products from you but sends a check for an amount larger than what they owe you. They will then ask you to deposit the check and send or wire them the difference. The check turns out to be fraudulent and you are responsible for the total amount, including the money you sent to the criminal. Several authentic examples are listed below. Please notice the grammar and spelling mistakes made throughout the correspondence.

Example #1

Good to hear from you. My name is Latara Harvey,I am from Chicago, IL but will be coming to Texas for a showbiz. We have prefer to order online but for now all purchases in our company are done with paper payment so i would love you to place the order for me. Below is the list of items needed:

I would need to know the total of all the products i requested

for and also the name and address you want the payment sent to and also a phone number i can reach you on. After you send me this information the Manager of ourcompany will mail you a check for the payment, which you can cash instantly at your bank because we need these items there in Texas before the date of the event and they will be picked up at your location Upon my Arrival in Texas...I hope to read from you soon with all

details required..

Example #2

However,i would need to know the total of all the products i requested for and also the name and address you want the payment sent to and also a phone number i can reach you on. After you send me this information the Manager of our company will mail you a check or a money order for the payment,which you can cash instantly at your bank because we need these items there in FL before the date of the event and they will be picked up at your location Upon my Arrival FL...I hope to read from you soon with all details required..

1- Name to be written on the certified check or Money order

2- Mailing address, No

3- Phone Number

4- City

5- Zip Code

6- State

Thank you and enjoy your day.

Example #3

Hello sis

Thanks for your response and i really appreciate it, My name is

Sarah Smith . I am a retail buyer and i am deaf and also a single

mother of 2 kids. I was introduced to Avon Some Month ago and I

got your sales and contact from Avon and i will be more happy to

have you as my Avon Rep ..And I would like to purchase this

Items with you on a dealership and not with the company cos i am

new on computer and i don't operate credit card that is why am

dealing direct with you and i will appreciate if i can order this

Product through you once you have the funds from me for the

product . All the product i want to order from you is my first order

this year . I will want you to get back to me with the total cost of

the listed item i want to order from you

3 Quantity of ANEW ALTERNATIVE Intensive Age Treatment

SPF 25 Day AM 877-657

2 Quantity of Clearskin Cleansing Pads 465-176 895-405

3 Quantity of Age repair Cleanser 998-857

4 Quantity of ANEW CLEANSER 622-098

2Quantity of NECKLACE BLUE COLLAR 925-531

3 Quantity of WRINKLE CORRECTOR 286-989

3 Quantity of AGELESS RESULTS 251-970

3 Quantity Anew ALTERNATIVE SPF 25 211-990

Please kindly let me know if there is any discount you want to give

me on my first order, and also you don't need to worry about the

shipping and the pick up of the order from your location that will be

handle through my Shipper after you have receive the funds for

the order . And as for the payment , i will be paying you through a

bank cashier check or Money Order. I will want you to get back

to me with your full name and address including your phone

number so that i can arrange on how the payment will be mail out

to your address for the order through my financial bank . I await

your response asap .

thanks a lot

Sarah Smith.

How Can I Tell If an Email Message is a Fraud?

  • Requests for personal information in an email message: Most legitimate businesses have a policy that they do not ask you for your personal information through email. Be very suspicious of a message that asks for personal information even if it might look legitimate.
  • Urgent wording: Wording in phishing email messages is usually polite and accommodating in tone. To increase the number of responses, criminals attempt to create a sense of urgency so that people immediately respond without thinking.
  • Promises that seem too good to be true: Use common sense and be suspicious when you are offered money or discounts that seem too good to be true.
  • Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes are often common in these fraudulent messages.

If you believe that you have received fraudulent email messages or have been the victim of online fraud, you can report the problem to the following groups:

  • FBI: The FBI Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) works worldwide with law enforcement and industry to promptly shut down phishing sites and identify the perpetrators behind the fraud.
  • FTC: If you believe that your personal information has been compromised or stolen, you should report the circumstances to the FTC National Resource for Identity Theft and visit their site to learn how you can minimize the damage.

Attach and send fake email messages to authorities. Reporting fake messages to authorities helps in the effort to combat phishing schemes. There's information buried in the header of an email message that technical experts require in order to flush out fraud or abuse; without it they may be unable to pursue an investigation. Follow the steps below to send the full, original header of the message you want to report. Below are two email addresses you can use to report suspicious mail:

  • goes to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, an industry association
  • goes to the FTC
(I would suggest adding these email addresses to your contacts for easy retrieval)

Giving the Bounce to Counterfeit Check Scams

It's your lucky day! You just won a foreign lottery! The letter says so. And the cashier's check to cover the taxes and fees is included. All you have to do to claim your winnings is deposit the check and wire the money to the sender to pay the taxes and fees. You have been assured that when they receive your payment, you'll get your prize.

There's just one catch: this is a scam. The check is no good, even though it appears to be a legitimate cashier's check. The lottery angle is a trick to get you to wire money to someone you don't know. If you were to deposit the check and wire the money, your bank would soon learn that the check was a fake. And you're out the money because the money you wired can't be retrieved, and you're responsible for the checks you deposit — even though you didn't know they're fake.

This is just one example of a counterfeit check scam that could leave you scratching your head. The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, wants you to know that counterfeit check scams are on the rise. Some fake checks look so real that bank tellers have reported being fooled. The scammers use high quality printers and scanners to make the checks look real. Some of the checks contain authentic-looking watermarks. These counterfeit checks are printed with the names and addresses of legitimate financial institutions. And even though the bank account and routing numbers listed on a counterfeit check may be real, the check still can be a fake. These fakes come in many forms, from cashier's checks and money orders to corporate and personal checks. Could you be a victim? Not if you know how to recognize and report them.

Fake Checks: Variations on a Scheme

Counterfeit or fake checks are being used in a growing number of fraudulent schemes, including foreign lottery scams (as described above), check overpayment scams, Internet auction scams, secret shopper scams and on your own eRepresentative Web sites.

Check overpayment scams target consumers selling cars or other valuable items through classified ads or online auction sites. Unsuspecting sellers get stuck when scammers pass off bogus cashier's checks, corporate checks, or personal checks. Here's how it happens:

A scam artist replies to a classified ad or auction posting, offers to pay for the item with a check, and then comes up with a reason for writing the check for more than the purchase price. The scammer then asks the seller to wire back the difference after depositing the check. The seller does it, and later, when the scammer's check bounces, the seller is left liable for the entire amount.

In secret shopper scams, the consumer—hired to be a secret shopper—is asked to evaluate the effectiveness of a money transfer service. The consumer is given a check, told to deposit it in their bank account, and withdraw the amount in cash. Then, the consumer is told to take the cash to the money transfer service specified, and typically, send the transfer to a person in a Canadian city. The consumer is supposed to evaluate their experience — but no one collects the evaluation. The secret shopper scenario is just a scam to get the consumer's money.

Con artists who use these schemes can easily avoid detection. When funds are sent through wire transfer services, the recipients can pick up the money at other locations within the same country; it is nearly impossible for the sender to identify or locate the recipient.

What's the Difference Between a Certified Check and a Cashier's Check?

Certified Check: A certified check is a check that is "certified." It has written acknowledgment by the bank that the customer's signature on that check is genuine and that there are sufficient funds in the customer's account to honor the check.

Cashier's Check: A cashier's check is a draft drawn by a bank on itself, which the bank agrees to honor when properly presented for payment. The bank, not the customer, signs the check.

There are fewer opportunities for forgery using a cashier's check. Since there may be problems with either kind of check, if you have any misgivings at all about accepting payment via either, you should call the bank that issued the check to verify its legitimacy.

You and Your Bank — Who is Responsible for What?

Under federal law, banks must make funds available to you from U.S. Treasury checks, official bank checks (cashier's checks, certified checks, and teller's checks), and checks paid by government agencies at the opening of business the day after you deposit the check. For other checks, banks must similarly make the first $100 available the day after you deposit the check. Remaining funds must be made available on the second day after the deposit if payable by a local bank, and within five days if drawn on distant banks. However, just because funds are available on a check you've deposited doesn't mean the check is good. It's best not to rely on money from any type of check (cashier, business or personal check, or money order) unless you know and trust the person you're dealing with or, better yet — until the bank confirms that the check has cleared. Forgeries can take weeks to be discovered and untangled. The bottom line is that until the bank confirms that the funds from the check have been deposited into your account, you are responsible for any funds you withdraw against that check.

Protecting Yourself

Here are some key tips in avoiding a counterfeit check scam. Many of these points not only apply to protecting your business but also are good rules to follow to protect yourself in your personal life:

  • Throw away any offer that asks you to pay for a prize or a gift. If it's free or a gift, you shouldn't have to pay for it. Free is free.
  • Resist the urge to enter foreign lotteries. It's illegal to play a foreign lottery through the mail or the telephone, and most foreign lottery solicitations are phony.
  • Know who you're dealing with and never wire money to strangers.
  • When conducting your Avon business, never accept a check for more than the selling/order price, no matter how tempting the offer or how convincing the story. Ask the buyer to write the check for the correct amount. If the buyer refuses to send the correct amount, return the check. Do not send the merchandise.
  • If you decide to accept payment by check, ask for a check drawn on a local bank, or a bank with a local branch. That way, you can make a personal visit to make sure the check is valid. If that's not possible, call the bank where the check was purchased, and ask if it is valid. Get the bank's phone number from directory assistance or an Internet site that you know and trust, not from the check or from the person who gave you the check.                                                    
  • If the buyer insists that you wire back funds, end the transaction immediately. Legitimate buyers don't pressure you to send money by wire transfer services. In addition, you have little recourse if there's a problem with a wire transaction.
  • Resist any pressure to "act now." If the buyer's offer is good now, it should be good after the check clears.

If You Think You're a Victim

If you think you've been targeted by a counterfeit check scam, report it to the following agencies:

The Federal Trade Commission Visit or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service Visit or call your local post office. The number is in the Blue Pages of your local telephone directory.

Your local or state consumer protection agencies Visit for a list of state Attorneys General, or check the Blue Pages of your local telephone directory for appropriate phone numbers.

I hope this information has been helpful to you. If you have any question or comments, plese add them below. Thanks for visiting. I wish you all the best in your AVON business and life.

 Sarah's AVON Blog Spot is brought to you by AVON Independent Sales. Visit AVON Independent Sales on the Web, for more information about AVON, the company, and it's representative company, AVON Independent Sales. Register for a free account to receive special promotions, news and deals. Contact me with any questions or concerns. Find out how you can earn extra cash by hosting an eparty with AVON Independent Sales. Be sure to bookmark Sarah's AVON Blog Spot, and come back often, as page is updated frequently. As always, thank you for your interest in AVON.


  1. When it comes to protecting yourself against online fraud, I would just like to add that the best way I know to guard against being ripped off by online sales or auctions, Penny, Craigslist and eBay included—and whether seller or buyer—is to use a bona fide online escrow company. This is especially true for pricier items like antiques, jewelry and autos. Yes, it does add some cost, but it takes the uncertainty out of the transaction, and that is usually a small price to pay for peace of mind.

    For my money, the best bona fide online escrow (and there seems to be ten or twenty fraudulent escrow sites for every bona fide one) is ( In fact, that is the only site that eBay recommends, and is the only online escrow company that is licensed to provide escrow services all across the United States.

    PS. You can find more information about battling online scams and frauds at Online Escrow at (

  2. ulwolf, Thank you for stopping by. Your information was very helpful. I totally agree that we must be vigillant everywhere. Thanks again for your comments.

  3. Great information, they should hand this article out when you sign up!

  4. Thanks for stopping by Avon Representative. Yes, I agree. This is highly important information that should be administered right from the start.

  5. Company takes it back with additional shipping cost that has already described in its contract. A scammer can’t make such commitments. This again goes in the favor of Avon that it is not a scam.

  6. Thank you Sarah for Representative informations.

  7. @Avon, you're welcome. It is my pleasure


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