Surf Shops Beware!

posted by / News / June 19, 2007

Take Leonardo Decaprio’s character from the movie Catch Me If You Can, spring him on the surfing world, and you have a creepy situation. That’s the case right now as a number of incidents have occurred where local surf shops are the target of a calling-card-loving con artist.


The most recent one happened this weekend, when the Rip Curl store in Pacific Beach had a man saying he was Rip Curl team rider Adam Wickwire. He stated that his car, laptop and all of his clothes were stolen and needed a ${{{200}}} phone card. The retail worker called Rip Curl {{{Sports}}} Marketing Director, Dylan Slater, to ask for his help.

“I just sent Adam to Chile three days ago, and I have photos of him surfing yesterday,” {{{recalls}}} Slater. Knowing that the scammer was not Adam, the retail worker gave the man Slater’s number, telling him Slater could help him out. As soon as the man called Slater, he said Adam was on the phone with the police, and that he, Adam, John John Florence and Mark Healey were in Half Moon Bay. After Slater repeatedly asked his name, the con man stumbled over his words, eventually identifying himself as Shawn…Hontin.


”The guy at the store really believed his story,” said Slater. “I think this is somebody who has some knowledge about surfing cause he knew to pick team riders who weren’t the best of the best. It would be an obvious lie if he said hey Mick Fanning is stranded. He chose a good team rider who is not quite on the top of the ladder.”

Even scarier is the way ex-professional surfer, Dino Andino has virtually had his identity stolen. In only three months, six people have been victimized by somebody using Andino’s persona. Katin surf shop, for example, handed over ${{{300}}}-400 to the impersonator thinking that Andino was truly in trouble. “The scary thing about this is that they know everything about me,” said Andino. “They know where I live, who my sons and daughters are, what my wife’s name is.” After learning about these scams from another person at Billabong, Andino contacted the police filing a full report with a detective. “They are ripping me off big-time,” said Andino. “What’s heavy is I called the person and he said he was Christian Fletcher, and it wasn’t even Christian.”

The common factor in the two stories is that the scammer preys on local surf shops that may be less aware of lies. “I think these guys are relying on retail stores, said Slater. “A lot of people who work in retail want to help, but they might not have the full knowledge of the situation. They’re prime targets.”

[If any shop manager or employee receives any calls of this nature, contact the authorities immediately. Adam Wickwire or Dino Andino would never call you, begging for money or phone cards.]

NOTE: Email recived from Anthony Tashnick on June 18:

Hello,

I just recieved a phone call from someone in the surf industry trying to notify me that my identity has been stolen. Someone has been calling my sponsors acting as if they are me and begging for large amounts of money. This scammer actually fooled and recieved a lot of money from the person who called me today with lies such as, “My car has been stolen and impounded and I need money to pay for it” and “I’ve been in and out of jail, please do not tell anyone because it would hurt my career, but I need money and I will pay you back”.

I just want to let eveyone know about this just incase this person calls you acting as me….do not believe the lies! I have never been to jail and haven’t even had my car towed before. If it does happen, please write down the number if you have caller ID and help catch this thief. If you have any info or if someone you know has been in a similar situation, please email surfing@primedia.com

I would love to meet my imposter in person….

Thanks,

Anthony Tashnick

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