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We are trying to figure out if an order is fraud. We are 99% sure it is but figured it would be good to post the info for others to learn.
The customer ordered expensive 6 widgets. This is a little unusual but not completely a red flag.
The bill to is one state (VA) while the ship to is a different state (FL). Both addresses are findable via google maps. The delivery address is a freight forwarder. (This was a red Flag)
Customer name is a matching name to the bill to address. (Many times they do not match)
IP Address is an AnchorFree IP address (allows for people to surf anonymously - Red Flag)
Based on the above, would you ship? We wont. We were debating having the customer reorder from us on Amazon since they have better fraud protection.
For what is worth,
Don the biohazard suit, get out the tongs and handle this like the radioactive material it is. We often get people sending gifts to someone in another state, but this, no.
We do this regularly for Canada orders. They ship products to friend/family near border, and it is later carried across as personal property. Cheaper shipping, and no tax/duty cheating of citizenry by governments. (We have a strict and published policy on all websites that WE will NOT ship any order as gift or undervalue. It costs us business, because we know for a fact that we have competitors who will, but there is plenty of business that we don't want, that is not worth having.)
We have a customer that runs a business in FL, but is from Ecuador. We bill an Ecuadorian Visa, and ship to Florida. We were concerned enough to call the delivery address number and nobody spoke enough English to be helpful. "Owner - he in Ecuador." No other flags and odd combinations come up all the time, so we took the order. Once a month customer now and ordering a little more every couple of months. His need for our product is growing modestly.
The freight forwarder would really bother me, especially if it is more than you can afford to gamble losing; an order of unusual size. Sounds like it is for enough money that you can afford some due diligence, and also for enough money that you can't afford not to follow-up either. If it is legit, that business (and future business) is going somewhere else. Doesn't cost us much more time or money to pack, bill, and ship a $500 order than a $50 order. I wouldn't want to get burned, but I wouldn't want to blow off easy money either. You just have to decide where to draw the lines.
.....then wait for it to clear.
If company check, maybe fine, but then one would probably already have enough information to determine order legitimacy through a variety of sources, such as D&B. Otherwise, certified check from legitimate institution only, IMO. Check fraud is is as bad as CC fraud; worse. Non-issue for me because we don't take checks from customers that haven't earned the right to write them.
One also has to define "wait for it to clear". The fact that the money hits your account does NOT mean that the funds cannot be recalled and withdrawn for a variety of reasons. There is a lag time between seeing the money and having the money with both business and personal checks. Checks are not instant money. Their is clearing, and then there is really clearing.
Visa took EVERYTHING away from me and screwed me. Didn't matter I was not at fault and that their card holder was not responsible enough to check their bill.
Be careful with freight forwarders plain and simple.