Coffee shop conned by in-person overpayment scam

PHOTO: A coffee shop helped a man skim and got scammed instead. (via Sanook)

A coffee shop in Bangkok learned the hard way about a new twist on the classic overpayment scam. They somehow did not suspect the con when a smartly dressed man entered their shop and placed an order for a whopping 550 coffees, put into bottles.

An overpayment scam is when somebody makes a payment for more than the actual cost of a product or service and then asks for the remaining balance back. The scam is common online, with people receiving a cheque or fraudulent money order for more than the total amount. After wiring back the difference, the original payment will bounce and, not only will the seller lose the money for the product they’re selling but the extra cash they passed back to the scammer is gone forever too.

This time though, the well-dressed man pulled the scam in person, at a coffee shop in the Huay Khwang district of Bangkok. The coffee was 45 baht per cup so the total bill for 550 coffees was 24,750 baht. The man asked the shop to help him skim some extra money for himself. He requested a separate receipt for a total charge of 33,000 baht, marking each coffee as 60 baht, and netting the man a total of 8,250 ill-gotten baht.

The shop agreed and the man asked one of the employees to go with him to a nearby bank in the mall to grab the cash, according to ASEAN Now. It apparently wasn’t a red flag to them that he asked for the 8,250 baht skim to be put in a brown envelope and brought along with them to the bank.

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He somehow convinced the coffee shop employee not only to hand over the envelope but to wait outside the bank while he purportedly withdrew the 33,000 baht and then deposit 8,250 baht into his account perhaps. As readers may have guessed, this scammer stepped into the bank and was never seen again.

After waiting and waiting, the coffee shop employee when into the bank asking about the deposits and withdrawals and the missing man, but the bank was unaware. It is unknown how the man slipped back out of the bank without being seen by the waiting employee.

The fleeced coffee shop did not earn too much sympathy online, with many questioning why they weren’t suspicious of such a massive order, and why they would agree to let the man skim, or why they would hand over the cash and wait outside the bank. Many said it served them right to be swindled after agreeing to take part in a scam.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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