|Please help me I don't know what to do. |
You did what you should - and you kept yourself from losing any money. Beyond that, I wouldn't worry about. The country is legendary as a hotbed for scam artists.
There are a couple of threads here about this kind of thing; you will probably find this one interesting:
And welcome to WebmasterWorld! :)
<<added - if you do want to pursue it further, the postal inspectors at your area post office would be the people to talk to about the mail fraud...>>
My list of countries to do business with if you want more than 50% of orders to be fraudulent:
interesting list however I really think you should Iran as well. We will not even accpet letters of credit from here having been stung in the past.
With Iran and the others on the watch list its cash only or no deal. Not really a harsh option when you consider all the possible fraud attempts that I suffer.
Another anti-fraud tip: Virtually all orders via phone company "relay operators" are bad.
Those are calls made by supposedly deaf people using keyboards that go to a phone company operator who places a phone call and speaks for them.
I had a long chat with one of the operators. Instead of helping the deaf, they spend most of their day facilitating crime. But a recent law mandates that phone companies provide relay operators for the "handicapped."
I had one of these jokers try it out on me with the relay operator after I ignored repeated emails to take his hook. This scammers will go to any ends to rip you off, beware the certified cheques, they bounce back up to three weeks later.
I have heard of many being stung by these con artists.
Certi cheques! I havnt come across that one before. Its a real shame to have to keep looking at foreign orders in this way, you know back in the mid 90's when the web was born, my dream - vision, what ever, was that I could trade with people far away. unlike then when it was only passing trade. Still such is life.
I once saw an interview on BBC tv in England with the Nigerian ambassador on just this subject, fraud and crime of his fellow countrymen. The cheeky devil blamed all of the trouble on the 'previous white occuapation' of his country.
Mind you he did choke a bit when asked why the cars linked to the Nigerian embassy had the highest non paid number of parking tickets!
I blame some of it on the early hot publicly traded Dot.Coms which were themselves pretty scammy.
They probably shipped high ticket stuff to places like Indonesia and Nigeria to inflate sales figures. Stupid investors back then only cared about sales growth, not profitability. The charge-backs and accounting write offs occurred months later...often right after insiders unloaded their stock after an IPO.
I bet it was easy to get a Rolex shipped to Nigeria in 1998 if you sent an order to a faltering company right before the end of its financial year!
Another warning: never give a cash refund on a cashiers check. Some huge orders include a round number cashier's check, say $10,000 for an item costing $7123.45, with instuctions to wire the "change" to a bank in Nigeria and ship the merchandise by air.
The guy in Nigeria gets the item... plus the cash!
It has happened!
I appreciate all your advise. I just can't believe there's people out there like that. They can't make money the honest way so they steal it from other people. I've been in business 14 years and only shipped to England. Just out of the blue I get this phone call from this guy asking if I had any ink cartridges for sale and I said yes so he faxed me what he wanted. So I emailed him the total and the following week he sent me a check. We called the bank that the check was written on and they said the money was there so we put the check in the bank and that same week on Friday our bank called us and said the check came back. I'm just upset that people do this because he sounded legit when he called every other day about the order and I told him it wouldn't go out until the check cleared. He agreed and BAAAMMMMMMM the check came back. Oh Well like my husband said at least I didn't send the merchandise or I'll be in a lot of trouble right now. I ship all over the US but after this scheme I'm never shipping overseas. I've emailed him a couple of times and he doesn't return my email messages. I'm going to give you his email address and the name of the company. It's <snip> and the email address is <snip>. I told him he has until Tuesday to make the check good, by wire tranfer only now, or the next phone call is to the Post Master and the Fraud division. I doubt he even cares. Well thanks for all the info.
[edited by: TallTroll at 10:55 am (utc) on May 29, 2003]
[edit reason] specifics, per TOS [/edit]
Don't write off the whole world because a few countries have dodgy reputations. :) New Zealand is a long ways from Nigeria.
I trade from NZ, and have shipped US, Canada, UK, Europe and Australia without ever having a single problem.
ps.. you'll need to remove that company name and email address from your post as it is against our Terms of Service.
I had and still have orders from nigeria, malaysia indonesia.
Since my product takes one month to ship but have express service, they always ask for express service.
I usually ignore them and they never email me/call me again.
I've asked this several times before: Has anyone ever received a VALID order from Indonesia or Nigeria?
Sorry, but yes, we do have valid, valued clients from Indonesia and Nigeria (as well as some cons from the US and Australia).
From my experience, conning/fraud is not country specific.
Cons are everywhere and you will also find decent, honest peolple in every country of the globe if you resist the temptation of following "main stream" prejudices.
E.G. 90% of the "Spam" email we get comes from the USA - Does this make the USA a nation of "Spammers"?
In our business, we follow internal anti-fraud guidelines with each and every new client independent of his country origin. We certainly don't give an unknown new client a higher "credit" just because he resides in a "trusted" country. And we certainly don't turn down a new client because his country has a bad reputation.
We do not do business with the country but with the individual/corporation.
Cheers from Berlin, Germany
Not country specific? Funny, but as I was reading your post I received one more aptly named Nigerian Letter Scam email.
Any guess where that Nigerian Scam email came from? Yep, I've gotten them from Sierra Leone, South Africa and Ghana, but 90% come from... (insert drum roll)...Nigeria.
Don't think for a second that those Nigerian Letters and emails come from ordinary people there. How did 100,000s of letters (often with counterfeit stamps) leave Nigeria for the U.S., England and Europe without the involvement of high ranking people in Nigeria.
Fraud against my company comes mostly from Indonesia where probably 99% of the orders are using stolen credit cards. Our overall fraud rate is about 0.05%
There is one more related issue.
Almost all the stolen credit card usage that I have encountered and cared to investigate is from cards issued in USA. Doesn't matter who use the stolen CC numbers, it is mostly U.S based banks and merchants who let vital data of their customers to be stolen in the first place because of their errors etc.
i've had legit orders from nigeria (from a law firm - i did think it would have been ironic if they had scammed me, but it turned out fine) and more fraudulent orders from the usa than all other countries added together, but as has been mentioned by mrose, if you have fraud checks then most can be averted i believe.
there have been some good threads here at WebmasterWorld on checks and proceedures.
... follow your gut instinct not your greed.
I second your observations and do get increasingly annoyed by the politics of credit card companies who tend to put all the risk on the e-commerce websites.
E.G. Credit card charge backs just because the customer "forgot" that he ordered and credit card compani es put the liability on the "shop" to prove that the order was placed - selling on the net means you cant prove the order because there is no handwritten signature!
Without a handwritten signature every customer can ask for a charge back - Thank God, most customers are honest.
The way the system is running right now is that customers are able to order on the internet and when the credit card billing statement arrives they just call their credit card company, claiming they never made the order and the credic card company/merchant service simply revokes the sale - leaving the distributor with the loss.
In the long run this will result in a "no credit card accepted" policy by sellers - in our case, we grant credit card payment only on special request! We do prefer mailed checks or money transfer!
Regarding handwritten signatures, UPS offers shipping where they must obtain a signature of an adult 21 years or over before they release the package. I believe it costs an extra $2.00. In my business, $2.00 is a small price to pay to protect against $500 - $3000 chargebacks.
My company does not accept any form of payment for orders from suspect countries except wire transfer. We keep an account open with a low balance that is primarily used for accepting wire transfers.
Does anybody know of any fraud involving reversing a wire transfer?
Signatures on packages will not protect you from charge backs. If you ship a package to joe bloggs and the guys name is john smith, what is going to stop him signing the package as joe bloggs especially if he is expecting it. Most fradulent orders (especially from countries like nigeria) will email you before hand or just after to find out what carrier you are using and ask you to "ship soon because there is great demand for you product". Rule of thum if a guy from nigeria buys 50 blue widgets from you be a little suspicious at the least.
|In the long run this will result in a "no credit card accepted" policy by sellers |
We don't take credit cards for our vacation rentals. What good is a damage deposit if the customer just calls the credit card company (after breaking a glass cooktop, for instance) and says "I object"?
But we have a relatively limited number of transactions. For people processing more than a few orders per day, I think you have to build an allowance for chargebacks into your pricing and get in bed with the devil...don't see how you could compete otherwise.
One could argue that web crooks benefit WebmasterWorld users. It is easy for a savvy web merchant to protect himself from transparent scams from Indonesia and Nigeria.
The scamsters, i'm sure, focus on new websites. The scam orders we get all have several characteristics: 1) huge in size; 2) want fast shipment with shipping cost no object; 3) 99% by shopping cart, not phone; 4) want liquid products that can be quickly resold; 5) usually from Indonesia, Nigeria, Eastern Europe; 6) often type in all caps; 7) they never read site's FAQ (ie. email: "do you take AMEX?" when FAQ clearly says site doesn't); 8) poor English
While annoying, fraudulent orders can be reduced to near zero by any competent/non-greedy web merchant. But I have to think some newbies really get taken by them...and shut down.
Of course, online fraud isn't going away. These bozos are going to get better!
One other clue I have always picked up on is fraudsters use a dodgy free email address. Almost always never ties in with the name on the card or order details and is usually nonsense e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, definitely add that to my list:
Big red flag when an order comes from Reginald Vonsnoot, M.D. and his email is WackedKeggerDudeJoe@hotmale.com!
Im a bit late on replying to this message but Im hoping I can help in some way. I cannot Identify myself or where I work due to a contract I signed but I am a relay operator for internet relay. I receive many calls daily from Nigeria, Ghana, and West Africa about big orders from sporting goods, computer stores, book stores, banks and UPS or Federal Express. So far what they have been ordering was white T-Shirts, Soccer Shoes, Basketballs, Motorcycles, Speed boats, printer cartriges, OEM HP Printers and Stethiscopes. I have also gotten a call where they wanted Tuition for aviation school located out of Florida. I received a call today calling Sun Trust Bank on Merchants Crossing in Noft Meyers FL first asking for the website, then asking for 2 indivisuals that work there. He went by the name Ois is eng. Kolly Brown. The bank was closed at the time of the call so he agreed to call back when they opened, I did not process the call back. When they call in and make an order they always say I was 300 pieces or whatever the amount of the item they want. But they use the word pieces. They also tend to send their go ahead after a few words and start typing again so if the relay operator has to say "The caller started typing again" often that is probably an international call from that country. They never provide a phone number, they only communicate through relay or email. The email addresses they do provide are always free web based emails. They will order bulk between 50 to 500 pieces of an Item, claim to be a reverend ordering for a charity outside the country. But not always. There are cases where they will provide a US address for shipping and the person at that address will ship to the international destination. Their method of payment is either check or credit card. They are very persistant on wanting the order to be shipped next day air. Some of them have accounts with federal express, not sure if they are stolen accounts or not. I had one call UPS not long ago and UPS refused to pickup the package at a residence in the US because they do not allow 3rd party billing anymore from Nigeria. Ive had businesses turn down relay calls and they have the operator redial over and over so they are very persistant. The main things to look out for is they identify things as "Pieces" they interrupt the relay operator, they will claim to be a reverend in the US doing a donation for another country, they will order bulk between 50 to 500 pieces...one case was 5000 white t-shirts...they are after sporting goods, laptops, memory, oem printers, printer cartridges, stethoscopes, boats, motorcycles and aviation schooling. they are very persistand on next day air shipping, they might ask if you ship internationally or they might have a US address with someone to ship to them. I will keep my eyes and ears open for any changes of behavior or products they are looking for i will definately keep everyone posted. Feel free to message me on here with questions and i will do my best to help out. I dont feel a service indicated for people with needs should be abused like this and i dont feel it is right people are taking advantage of it to rip other people off. And if i made any errors in my typing its because this forum doesnt have a dictionary to auto correct my mistakes :P
Watch out businesses in England they are now booking flights to London from Ghana for a 3 month stay. Also Targeting baby stores for baby t shirts,
The only chargeback I've had so far (in a year) has been from a customer in the USA. Scammed me for £40.
I think it is too easy to say avoid Nigeria. Fraud can happen from anywhere.
I felt I had to chip in with what to look for...
You have forgotten the courier font face, with problematic cAPS lOCK and spelling out the amount of money.
"$24,600,000 - TWENTY FOUR million AND six HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS"
I laugh (then hit delete) every time at the font face...
|Fraud can happen from anywhere. |
That's certainly true, TimmyMagic, but some locations have a higher percentage of fraudulent transactions than others. If you have had just one chargeback in a year, you must have one of three conditions:
1) Product is not attractive for quick resale;
2) Low sales volume overall;
3) Outstanding security procedures that intercept 99.9% of frauds before they occur.
Merchants that I know that deal in products like electronics, sporting goods, etc., are subject to daily fraud attempts. They all employ a variety of means to screen out most frauds, though a few will slip through. These merchants generally identify locations like Indonesia and Nigeria as having a high percentage of fraud orders (e.g., over 50% of received orders, as opposed to under 5% in the US) and will either refuse to accept orders from those locations or employ very stringent processing criteria. It's not that all the people in these countries are bad - it's just that a small percentage of the population are criminals who seem to be able to operate without intervention by local authorities.
It's not just foreign countries. Some U.S. direct mailers don't mail to certain zip codes in the US due to high fraud rates - these are typically prison zip codes.
I think we all realize that yes fraud comes from every country...this topic was directed specifically towards Nigerian orders. Now many different types of calls go through relay but Nigeria and Ghana are the two that make an ungodly order like 500 laptops and chages their names everytime they make you call someone else. Im sure fraud relay calls come from other countries but they dont seem to be noticable in this matter. they one done make us call every business listed in the yellow pages asking the same questions. Also they dont have multiple personalities like the Nigerians and people from ghana. of course people are going to focus on the "Noticable" scams. kinda hard to catch the ones that seem totally legit. Least they can use a little bit of common sense and hide their tracks...but these are obvious.
Okay, Okay! So Nigerians and Indonesians are just as honest as the average clergyman in Des Moines. But can we all agree the scammers take the cake for stupidity?
I've gotten a dozen letters from Nigeria over the past decade and hundreds of emails that all begin the same threadbare story:
"Hello I'm Bongo Bongoongo, son of the late esteemed Assistant Director of Petroleum Exports of Nigeria. Before my Father was killed by the new military government, he stashed $67 million in a shoebox in our house..."
Same thing with the Indonesians: They always order 30 of something from our company. Is 30 some kind of lucky number in the Jakarta environs?
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