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The first red flags I look for are different shipping and billing addresses along with express shipping. Next I log into my gateway to see if multiple purchase attempts were made with different credit cards. Lastly, I call my payment processor to obtain the full card number (I don't store it) and then call the bank that issued the card. They will generally contact the card holder for me to determine if the charges were legitimate or not.
I also search on the "Customer's" name, email address, phone number, IP and shipping address to get any available clues.
Generally, I go through all these steps because I really, really, really want that $10000 order to be legitimate. It usually isn't.
merchant: Some of the information from your order made it appear as though it was placed overseas and being you are a new customer we just wanted to take extra precaution.
Scan for hesitation in their voice. Are they confident when providing answers?
Phone verification can make a huge difference. It's all a matter of how you deliver the questions you ask. Always take the approach of the friendly business protecting their customers and only resort to an interogation mode if none of what they say makes any sense. Half the time on an order that looks like the one you described, the phone is disconnected anyways. In the case of a disconnected ph#, always cancel. Good luck
I'd certainly phone him if for no other reason than as a learning experience.
Half the time on an order that looks like the one you described, the phone is disconnected anyways.
That's our experience or the call goes to someone who has never heard of the buyer. Few of these scammers are masterminds. Simple precautions can stop virtually 100% of your fraud. This deal has a terrible odor.
It certainly does not pass the sniff test, way too many red flags.
Are your products for industrial or commercial use? The reason I ask is because if you are shipping parts for some machine, many times a $500 shipping is nothing when compared to the money they will lose with the machine down. However, if the items can not fit that description and its an item that could be purchased locally, it makes zero sense to pay $500 for shipping.
Is the spelling and puncuation all messed up too? Is it is all CAPS or all lower case? Because that is another red flag in my experience.
These days, with the proliferation of VoIP and other non-traditional telephony, a lot of people are getting phone numbers outside their physical address range (or keeping their old numbers when moving). Also, some people may be on a long-term assignment in a different state and have a cell phone (or even a landline) with a local number.
So while I certainly still consider mis-matched phone numbers/addresses to be a red flag (especially considering the other issues with this order), I don't necessarily consider them to be deal breakers by themselves.
But I also agree that this particular order hads too many red flags to ignore and requires follow-up. The paperwork you received for your Discover merchant accout setup should have a contact number to call for questions/authorization of this sort. If you call them with your concerns, Discover should be able to contact the card holder to verify he/she placed the order.
Good idea for a business: A network of locals who can report and perhaps photograph questionable ship-to's. I can envision a network of cab companies doing that.
Of course Zillo, G Earth and other sites are close to providing that info for free.
There are plenty of powerful anti-fraud tools if only shippers would use them. I'd hate to own stock in a Lagos web cafe lately. We haven't lost a cent to fraud in years.
We haven't lost a cent to fraud in years.
It has been a while for us too.
The last one came really close, a $2000 widget that needs special handling. His lack of patience made me put an "extra" delay on shipping. Then he freaked out and said he could not wait. We gave him the phone number of a competitor we do not like. We never reversed the credit card knowing the hammer would come down ... sure enough the bank reversed it for us 2 weeks later.
Not sure if our competitor got burned .. or maybe he does not know yet. ;-)
OTOH, no one loses more money on collections than radio/TV stations and print media, (especially in an election year!)
Not only do we suffer fewer losses than years ago but we are seeing far fewer fraud attempts. Internet Relay scams are history. We don't get quite as many emails from Nigerians princes. And those "Can you ship to my store in Bongo Bongo-land" emails have slowed.
So why doesn't the media cover THAT?
Go with your feelings
Only works if you are not the slightest bit paranoid, or are lucky enough to be Darth Vaders son.
The rest of us have to rely on factual evidence when deciding whether an order is legit.
Agreed. Dumb and greedy merchants sums it up.
Where there is doubt one way out can be to advise the customer that most regretably the item is out of stock, and a breakdown at the manufacturers or minimum order quantities or whatever means that it cannot be replenished for several weeks. Lose an order - possibly. Lose a lot of trouble - more probably.
We have very little fraud, but where we DO suspect it (paranoia or no)we make an excuse for our inability to supply and suggest a competitor. In fact we have never had a chargeback.
[edited by: Philip_M at 11:13 am (utc) on June 1, 2008]
We never reversed the credit card knowing the hammer would come down ... sure enough the bank reversed it for us 2 weeks later.
Rugles, this seems to be issue of Refund Vs Chargeback, I think I would have gone for the refund, I wouldn't wait to see if it was indeed a fraudlent order.
Is there not a possibility of the chargeback being issued upon the customer's request through his bank?