|Bahamas and Western Union - Fraud Probability?|
Although I have customers all over the world, I have never had a single purchase from the Bahamas. Couple weeks ago someone called and said he was "interested in my products" and did I ship to the Bahamas. Because he had used this phrase, which I have seen in so many emails wanting to make a fraudulent purchase (they never say what they want), I basically hung up on him. He called back twice and gave up.
Today I get a call from a guy, probably the same one, in the Bahamas who wants to buy one of my most expensive items ($100). The only time anyone has ever bought the quantity he wants, it was a research department at a university paying by purchase order. He asked if he could send me a money order. I said no. He said he would send me a money order in US dollars. I said only if it's a Western Union money order. So then he wanted to send the money by Western Union. I said let me check into it and I will call you back. He did give me a phone number. He also wanted to know if I could send it by courier. I said no. All international stuff is sent air letter post.
So I called Western Union trying to find out what kind of info do they have for merchants, what protection do I have, is the Bahamas a trouble spot for them, etc., but I got the cold shoulder. They told me that if the sender used a stolen credit card, then the loss of the money would be handled by the credit card company. Then wouldn't they ask me for the money back, I asked. "I don't know" was their answer. "All we do is transfer the money." They told me I could ask that the sender send cash only and not use a card. How would I know whether he did or not, I asked. No answer. Totally unhelpful.
I feel very suspicious of this, but it could be authentic and I don't want to insult an innocent person. What's up with Western Union and fraud? Is it done? Is the Bahamas a risky country?
I think that if the guy pays Western Union with a false credit card then the risk is with Western Union, not you. Once you have got the money in cash from WU then there is no way they can get it back from you.
However, I agree that the whole thing sounds suspicious. You might care to wait three weeks or so before shipping the goods just in case there is a comeback.
Never do business with any country which has green in its flag - that simple rule will cut out 95% of fraud.
The more I thought about it, the more I thought it must be a fraud. Considering the amount of tourists that go there, there must be a regular industry in handling credit cards from stolen wallets. I told the guy I would check with Western Union and call him back. I didn't call him back, and I haven't heard from him, so I think that's that. I went yesterday and took "Bahamas" off the list of countries I ship to.
I dunno...I've shipped to the Bahamas before without incident.
With Western Union, you go to a local WU, and pick up your money. Once you have your money, there is nothing more that can be done. He is actually taking a chance on buying it from you & sending the money via WU actually. You could pick the money up and not send him the product.
You should have nothing to worry about here.