Dear members,

This week we learned the credit card scam of 2023 is reappearing across the Southeast. Several confirmed cases have taken place in east Tennessee. In Alabama, an ACIA member is fearful they might have fallen prey to a scam last week in the Tuscaloosa area.  We estimate the Alabama concrete industry lost over $250,000 in 2023 to the scam.

How the Scam Works

The scam is based on the concept of an individual impersonating a ready mix company on social media and offering concrete at suspiciously low prices. Unknown homeowners or contractors contact the scammer and place an order for concrete. They then pay the fraudulent individual for the concrete. In return, the scammer places the order with a legitimate local ready mix producer and makes payment using a stolen credit card number. The legitimate producer believes they have been paid and deliver the order. Days or potentially weeks later, the true owner of the stolen credit card learns their card has been fraudulently used to pay for concrete and disputes the charges with the credit card issuer. The credit card company then claws the funds back from the ready mix producer leaving them now unpaid and limited options.

How can Producers Protect Themselves

Scammers are continually improving their capabilities and now have the ability to create fake credit cards and matching IDs. Therefore, requiring a credit card to match the ID does not guarantee protection for a ready mix company. Many companies are requiring new or unknown customers to pay in person when using a credit card. It is not fail proof strategy, but the thought is a scammer will not want to come into a business. Short of refusing payment using credit card, there is no fail proof method to protect your company. One other observation, many producers have found a common theme on the scam is an out of town address on the ID and credit card.

What to do if Scammed

If you suspect your company has been scammed, we recommend you contact the State Bureau of Investigation. The industry has previous worked with Captain Reed McLaughlin. He can be reached at 205.288.9242.

Thank you to the Alabama Concrete Industries Association for compiling this information.