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Dumbest Fraud Attempts

Whats the dumbest fraud attempt you've had?



11:07 pm on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi Guys,

Im fairly new at the ecommerce bit.... As a matter of fact this was my first "sale" so to speak.... I was very excited to be a "merchant" yet after examination i came to the conclusion that this wasnt a real sale but a fraud attempt (at best i could figure), so i turned it down... But, even as a newbie this guy/"customer" must have mistaken me for a country bumpkin.

A "customer" comes into the online store,

1st Dumb thing)Orders the first 3 products in the que (total purchase price of around 35 dollars)

2nd Dumb thing) selects 3 Day shipping with UPS (shipping cost alone ~ 30 dollars)

3rd Dumb thing) Pays by CC with the name of the purchaser as AA Bernard Fletcher (name changed)with shipping going to "Demetrious Bernard" on the address that the CC is billed to (the CC checked out). NOTICE that the first and last names are similar in each name.

4th Dumb thing) One of the products is not available so i email him and ask if he wants to continue with the order or cancel.

Now, i just didnt feel comfortable processing that order. I hope it wasnt a real customer but i have never seen any customer in any field not care about what product he gets for his/her money, especially since he purchsed literally the FIRST 3 items on display, there wasnt much choosing going on....

Anyway, i would love to hear from you guys if you think i was mistaken in not accepting that order... Is there some plausable answer for a customer to choose those particular sequence of actions?


[edited by: lorax at 2:52 pm (utc) on Jan. 26, 2007]
[edit reason] no email plz (see TOS [webmasterworld.com]) [/edit]


11:47 pm on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I think you were smart to decline the order- too many red flags for my taste.

Dumbest attempts we've seen:
Makes reservation under African sounding name, specifies nationality as Nigerian, attempting to complete the reservation from an Eastern European IP address, using a credit card with someone else's name (not African sounding) that has a U.S. billing address. This happens once or twice a month.

We used to ask them to fax a signed authorization form and copy of their passport, but we never hear back from them. So we don't even bother any more- we just automatically decline the reservation. If they are legit, they'll make a reservation for a different hotel. Note- in 4+ years of online reservations, we have NEVER had a completed reservation from a Nigerian.


11:50 pm on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

That sounds like it would go in my fraud file.

On you question about the not caring about the exact replacement item, I have had that happen to me, but it was on a wholesale order from an existing customer that trusted me to pick them something that would match the normal items that they carry.

I have also said that to my stone suppliers before. I'll put in my order and then tell them to send me $x amount of other things that they feel I should look at using. It is a good way to get some variety and not fall into preconceived ideas of what I should use. The key in both cases is an existing relationship with trust on both sides. This is certainly not the situation you describe.


10:06 am on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

That pretty much screams "fraudulent order" and certainly would have been cancelled by us, and probably by any shop with even a basic fraud checking system in place, so you did well to trust your instincts. Sometimes you just get a gut feeling about an order, and then it's worthwhile double-checking everything just to make sure. Don't ever be afraid of turning down an order if you're uncomfortable with it - you are not obliged to accept it and you may well find you were right.

Hope your next sales are a little more genuine!


10:36 am on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I had the guy who gave me three card numbers that all had the same CVV number. A chance of 1 in 100 million, if my maths is correct!


2:59 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>>> i have never seen any customer in any field not care about what product he gets for his/her money

That screams nigerian fraud attempt.

They were trying to determine if the credit card was still good.

If you do a site search for fraud, we put together a list of red flags that would be very helpful for you. It would be a real good idea if you did a bunch of reading because you can bet your next fraud attempt is not going to be as easy to spot.


4:09 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

you can bet your next fraud attempt is not going to be as easy to spot

99% are easy to spot. That's why fraud is dropping according to every report I've seen. Looks like fraud via Internet Relay is a thing of the past, too.

Rule: Never mention on your site that you're new to ecommerce.

Funniest one we ever got (at least in the top 100) was from a guy who listed his email as mugu@muguman.com. Muguman is Nigerian slang for a scammer.

The economy of Lagos Internet cafes has surely plummeted in the past three years. Their "419 letters" are buried in a sea of spam, and online retailers have effective ways to detect bad orders.


3:27 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Not exactly big money though is it. $35.

The orders the first three items thing and different address/name.

Happens a lot to me for things that are bought as gifts.

Same again with delivery sometimes being more than the cost of the item. last minute gifts.

And yes every time I thought I'm going to be ripped off.

As always, its your call on trust/paranoia.


3:39 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

His courteous reply isn't typical of a scammer, the foreign ones anyway.

My experience is that online crooks never waste time replying to a rejection. For example, when I've told obvious telephone scammers that we'd need payment by wire transfer, the phone usually goes dead instantly.

Given the small size of the order, it may well have been a legitimate gift. Separate ship and bill isn't a major red flag for us.


5:43 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yeah, honestly it was my first ever transaction so im not sure as to wether this was a real transaction or a fraud. The thing that made me doubtful/wonder was his courtesy. Again, it could be a way of just getting himself out of the whole situation. I just didnt feel like being out ~$75 dollars on the first go at it, need more experience ;)


6:47 am on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I just didn't feel like being out ~$75 dollars on the first go at it, need more experience ;)

That's smart. Most newbies are so desperate for early sales that they fall for anything. Remember that chargebacks can take several months. Better to be conservative at the start.

Even really suspicious looking orders usually turn out just fine. We've had valid orders from hotel addresses (talk about risk; the customer will be gone in a week!). Still we don't export from the USA and large orders are thoroughly checked.

Good luck with your new venture


6:37 pm on Jan 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

He could have just been casing you out - try a small order, and if you ship it, come back with a big one. Always trust your gut! Even if you miss a few opportunities, it'll keep you out of trouble.


5:56 pm on Jan 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This isn't really fraud, but it's definitely dumb:

Our site that sells graphics puts a big watermark with the site name on the large-scale product preview pics.

Some champ decided to steal the web pic, take it to his local print shop and promote himself, with the huge watermark in the middle of the flyer.

Luckily one of our members in his city noticed these prints and reported it in.


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