We were very saddened when we saw through their Gofundme page that beloved Bushwick small business Wrecords by Monkey was a victim of fraud. Nearly ten years ago, Wrecords by Monkey’s owner Patrick Chirico was starting out at a Lower East Side sidewalk selling record bracelets. Almost a decade later, New York native Chirico (also known as “Monkey”) is still pursuing his passion – Wrecords by Monkey now has a shop right off the Morgan stop, and has helped to create a the vinyl record ministore at Brooklyn’s only Whole Foods and has been a Brooklyn Flea staple for years.

Wrecords by Monkey, a small business that makes products out of recycled records, was recently swindled out of thousands of dollars by a scammer posing as a customer. According to Wrecords by Monkey’s Gofundme page, it all began in late-September when they were reached out to by a new client from Sweden, named Lane Adams, who contacted them via email to place a very large wholesale order. Monkey was asked to include shipping and to use JAC Logistics, as it was better for shipping to Sweden. Monkey processed the payment via credit card and deposited the shipping costs into the customer’s bank account (which was confirmed as legit by their banker). Weeks passed by and Mr. Adams placed a second and third order, requesting again for shipping costs to be covered.

Monkey and Head Designer Will Haude in front of their vinyl record wall they designed at Gowanus’ Whole Foods. Image by Will Haude.

After Adams’ credit cards were charged for the third time, Monkey received an email from Square Merchant Services saying that the charges he was making were fraudulent. Adams had stolen the credit cards to place the orders and then ran off with the “shipping” money that Monkey had deposited him in his bank account.

“I was devastated to learn that we have to pay back the cost of the orders,” Monkey writes. “We are in a predicament as we already used the money to fulfill the massive orders that had been placed, and additionally, the money that we transferred into Mr. Adam’s account for shipping likely cannot be salvaged.  We are left with a lot of product and a massive bill to pay, with money we no longer have. When a scammer uses stolen credit cards, the merchant is the one responsible for paying the money back, not the scammer, and the business is left to deal with a big mess”.

Through this bad experience, Monkey and his team hope to use their story to help educate other small business owners about these types of scams and how they can easily be at risk for them. “We’re really excited to at least use this bad experience to inform the people that we know could fall into the same trap,” Wrecord by Monkey’s head designer, Will Haude, explains. In addition, Wrecords by Monkey posted a list of ten tips and reminders on their gofundme page that every small business owner should keep in mind in order to stay clear of fraud.

Anti-Fraud Wall Art Piece comes with every gofundme donation.

If you would like to help out Wrecords by Monkey you can donate at their Gofundme page here. Every bit helps and every donation comes with an Anti-Fraud Wall Art Piece. Time to look out for one another!