|Received my first fraudulent order.....|
Now I need to know what to do....
I have been a long time visitor to these forums and now I have the need to ask a very important question...
In the begining of May, I received a request from a gentleman (I use this term loosely) in Kampala Uganda requesting a large amount of product that I sell. It had all of the classic signs of a fraud:
1. International order (not in itself bad mind you)
2. Free email (yahoo)
3. Large first purchase.
4. Poor puctuation and grammar
5. Offer to pay by check and not wire transfer like I requested.
I know, I know, I should have just deleted the email. But hey, I was bored and wanted to see if this yahoo would actually send out a check. He sent a check alright, for $3500.00, only problem, it was a counterfeit check!
The check was drawn from a US bank in MD and had the name and address of a woman. A little old lady no less from a retirement community in MD! Well, I didn't notice at first that the check was counterfeit, but I knew that it was fraudulent so I called the issuing bank. The account was in good standing and had the funds to cover the check! So now I am thinking "how did this lady's check end up in Africa!". I contacted a customer support rep from the bank and informed them of what was happening with this womans account and faxed them a copy of the check and the letter that the guy in Africa sent with it.
I then proceeded to make a closer inspection of the check and noticed that it was a real check with all of the security features in place, but that the original information on the check was removed and this woman's information printed back on. Not perfect mind you, but easily missed unless you knew what to look for (hey I watch the Discovery Channel).
So that's where I'm at now, I've notified the woman's bank and hopefully that will give her a heads up and enough to get her account changed so this yahoo can't use it anymore.
My question is, what else should I do? He's in another country so it's going to be difficult/impossible to prosecute. Is there someone else I should notify?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Oh, and great site!
Leave it to the bank to deal with, youve done your bit
I like, no love, people that take the initiative to care, even unknowingly, for a widow. May your hits and "good" customers increase. Honesty and due diligence has never failed a business person. Bravo. This note made me feel at home as a new member. :D
Wow, that one is rough... you are right about one thing... you should not have did that deal..... The question is... did you send your product out? If you did then I would be more worried about that at this time. There is probably not much you can do about him being in Africa other than... did you get his IP address from your logs?
If not then how can you be sure that he is actually in Africa and did not just have the goods routed through africa?
I am not really sure if there is anything else that you can do.
I never sent out any product to him, thank goodness!
As for a little update:
I turned this matter over to the security director from her bank, sent them everything I had received from the fellow in Uganda. Haven't heard anything yet, but it turns out that the lady who's account he used recently made a trip to that region of the world, next time I hope she's a little more careful with her account information.
At least the cheque ended up with yourself, and you did the right thing. If it had've landed in the hands of a less honest person, then the lady could've been $3500 out of pocket. Not Nice.
For every honest person in the world, it seems there is always another one (or maybe 2) more scrupulous person.
That's all I wanted to say really, just to let you know I think your cool for notifying the bank and helping the lady out.
|My question is, what else should I do? He's in another country so it's going to be difficult/impossible to prosecute. Is there someone else I should notify? |
Since you never shipped the merchandise there was no crime committed against you - therefore you wouldn't be able to prosecute. You could turn the information over to the FBI though. The bank has probably already done it, but it won't hurt to have a second person saying the same thing. Contact your local field office, AND the field office that serves the area where the check was drawn. The crime was committed against the bank and the true account holder, so they would have to be the ones who could actually get an investigation started but at least the FBI will have your name and info if they need a statement from you to help bust this guy - providing of course that the Uganda authorities are willing to work with us.
I get these types of orders quite often, Even up to 5 in one week. They now resort to asking for many items on an e-mail and will pay with a US issued credit card! I know why they keep sending these e-mails, it is because it works and people send them stuff and then find out about the fraud.
You should always be on the alert and if you have any red flags show up you should then look more closely at the order or even call the issuing bank. Even if it is in the states, you can call the customer or their bank just to make sure ALL info matches.
Remember even AVS doesn't check things like phone numbers and you can be taken!
Everytime I put up an auction on ebay for anything expensive I get about 5-10 fraud emails during the auction from people who say they are in Indonesia and are willing to pay 2x as much as I ask for it and way more then the retail value of it if I will swipe there credit card with my own machine. They don't even read to auction where I say that I will only ship to the U.S. and only accept paypal. They just send out these mass emails. I just can't believe that there are people that would fall for it. But I guess they wouldn't keep doing it if there were not those who did. Why would someone trust that when they are willing to pay more then it is worth? I guess there just happens to be a lot of people in Indonesia with too much credit they don't know what to do with... I'm surprised ebay doesn't crack down on it.
When I first advertised someone to sell online that I wanted to get rid of (my powerbook) I put up a classified and someone responded who was willing to pay what I asked if only I would do overnight COD. I was completely naive then and fell for it thinking that COD was secure that that Fedex checked to make sure everything was legit in the exchange. But I learned quickly that Fedex COD is nothing like any escrow service. They take no responsibility for anything. And the $3,000 money order was totally fake. I never got any computer back or any money. The police could care less. I filed reports and they went to the house that it was delivered to and talked to the people there who they said was an older couple who didn't want to tell them anything. Said there niece was housesitting at the time of the delivery and they wouldn't say where she lived or her name. The police said that there was nothing else they could do and could not make them tell them anything else. That was it. That was all they were going to do. They didn't give a s@#! Even though it was mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and right in the U.S. in the same state as me. The police had the exact same could care less attitude when I got my car stolen in Hawaii. I thought it'd be easy to find, I mean where are they going to go on a small island? But the police didn't put any effort into it.
So I really don't think they are going to care about anyone in Africa. You did the right thing though...
I have a policy of only accepting wires internationally. I'm not a big business that can absorb chargebacks and fraud losses.
|Remember even AVS doesn't check things like phone numbers and you can be taken! |
A little-known fact about AVS is that it doesn't actually match the street name for address line 1, only the numbers. If the card's billing address is 123 Memory Lane, you could enter 123 Anything street and it would pass. If your AVS settings are to check the street and not the street AND zipcode, you should change this immediately.
Also - the name on the card and the expiration dates don't mean anything. You can enter anything for the "name on card" field. As long as the card number and expiration MONTH is right, the expiration year and name on card don't matter.
Thanks for the heads up digitalv, that's good to know!
I really appreciate all the information and support you guys have shown, now if only the fruadsters would show a little support by, oh I don't know, stabbing themselves in the eye with a hot fork sounds like a good idea.
Sometimes I wonder why I got into this business... It seems like everyone is out to get you. Labor of love I guess....