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Currently in contact with a fraudster

What should I do?

     
6:45 pm on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I won't bore you with the details, but I'm 100% sure that an order placed on my site yesterday is fraudulent, and I've since received 4 or 5 emails from the fraudster. Any suggestions what I should do other than not ship the order?
6:51 pm on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If it is in the US, you can try contacting the local police. They probably won't be interested, but sometimes they will cooperate. If you are a UPS customer, you might contact their fraud department - I've had UPS allow a policeman to make a delivery, and then arrest they fraudulent customer when he signed for the packages. Fraud is a significant expense for UPS, and they might have more muscle in getting local law enforcement involved.

Theoretically, the Secret Service is responsible for mail order/credit card fraud, but it's pretty hard to get them interested unless it's a major scam.

7:23 pm on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I actually use FedEx Ground, but why would they be interested? If the charges on the card are reversed I'm the one that has to eat with it.
7:31 pm on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I would send him a nice email explaining that the goods he was after are no longer in stock, give him his money back and apologise for wasting his time.

I have been in exactly the same position a few times myself, just blame it on your boss or someone in stock control.

In my own personal experience the Police are a complete waste of time (British Police Anyway)

Karl :)

10:53 pm on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I ran into this when I had an online store a few years ago. Several times in fact. Call the issuing bank of the credit card, this can usually be obtained from Visa or Mastercard. You can get the Visa & MC numbers from your Merchant account documents.

They should be able to walk you right through it. Hope this helps.

Debs

10:58 pm on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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We have been pretty lucky when it comes to fraud.
Most of the time we find it before our batch closes out.
We just cancel the order and void the charge.

In cases where there is stolen good or CC information we try to contact local police. Location is a big factor here, as smaller towns have more time to go after the crook.

11:02 pm on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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First off dont waste your time. Second do a search for his name and see if has had any other victims. If you are really looking to cook his goose and in the US you could contact the local authorities or the FBI.

Here is my general rule for ecommerce money talks. If they have an order that is outragously large get the cash in your hand and then deliver the product. Face to face is best.

Just remember you cant pull a scam on a man that is not consumed with greed.

11:57 pm on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If your not sure if its a scammer or not - just tell him to send a money order or wire transfer instead. 9 times out of 10 you will never hear from them again - if they do send it then its a legit order.

Of course it depends how much your product is worth and of course your time.

8:06 pm on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Cool, thanks for all the input guys!
8:16 pm on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Tonearm, shippers don't like fraud because sometimes they end up eating some costs. If they deliver and fail to get a signature (if required), collect a COD payment in the wrong form, etc., they may face an insurance claim. Some drivers will cut a corner here and there to keep productivity high - skipping a signature, for example - and this may open the door for a claim. If you have an order that you intend to ship but that you think might be dicey, it's a good idea to require a signature. Many scams rely on packages being left on the porch of an unoccupied residence or in a common area of an apartment building.

Most commonly, of course, it's the merchant that loses out. :(

9:55 pm on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hmmm, *that's* an interesting idea. Require a signature? Why haven't I heard mention of that as a method to combat fraud before? It sounds pretty foolproof to me....
5:37 pm on Oct 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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It has happened to us as well. We manually clear the credit cards so we need not reverse the charge and incur any loss.

I do agree that reporting it is a waste of time. We have called the banks and the police and neither bothered to follow up.

It is funny how easy it is to detect these fraudsters. There are usually a whole bunch of red flags. When it happens now we just contact them and put some delay on the transaction. They usually disappear/give up after a few days. It is fun when you get them all worked up.

9:45 pm on Oct 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, I've gotten three fraudulent orders in three days all going to Royse City, TX. After identifying the first one as fraud, it's been humorous seeing the rest come in.