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Your products have good resale value
They requested immediate shipment (doesn't matter how much it costs)
Multiple card numbers
anonymous email addresses (yahoo.hotmail, etc)
Repeat orders-too close together.
Shipping address in Indonesia-billing elsewhere.
And that sinking feeling that-maybe, you will never see this money-or your products again.
I could be wrong-but all the signs point to the fact that (at least) you need to do more checking before you ship ANY goods to this customer
Please contact the card providers visa/amex/discover and ask to speak with the fraud departments. If you don't report the cards, the cardholders and future merchants could be swindled.
PS-Don't give up! My first "customer" was a fraudster from Indonesia too.
If that's the case and you've done due diligence by contacting them - what else can you do?
Re: reporting suspicious activity and contacting VISA or MasterCard
I visited VISA USA and their guidelines were to contact the issuer of the card. Same for MasterCard International. MC also mentioned contacting the Federal Trade Commission. Bare in mind these guidelines were written for the consumer and not the merchant.
The Consumer Tips document I found at MasterCard (PDF) mentioned contacting the 3 national credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union) to report fraud on your own card. They may have advice as to what merchants can do so it might be worth a call to them as well.
If you’re suspicious of a card or cardholder at any time during a transaction authorization process, you will need to make a Code 10 authorization request.
What is Code 10?
The Code 10 authorization request alerts the card issuer to the suspicious activity—without alerting the customer. During a Code 10 call, you will speak to the card issuer’s special operator, who will provide instructions on any necessary action. This type of authorization request is the most likely to result in a call to law enforcement.
Code 10 steps
If you receive an electronic authorization, but still suspect fraud, do the following:
Keep the card in hand to quickly respond to questions.
Call your voice authorization center, or dial 1-800-FRAUD-FREE (1-800-372-8337) and say “I have a Code 10 Authorization Request.”
The call will first be received by your merchant bank who may need to ask you for some merchant and/or transaction details. You will then be transferred to the card Issuer and immediately connected to a special operator. A series of yes/no questions will be asked to determine whether you are suspicious of the card or cardholder.
When connected to the special operator, answer all questions calmly and in a normal tone of voice.
Follow all operator instructions.
If the operator asks you to retain the card, comply with this request only if it is safe to do so.
Hope this helps
Why bother, they never seem to do anything. All you are doing is wasting your time. For some stupid reason the banks and card companies do not seem to care.
That list of suspected fraud clues was excellent. I have made a similar list and passed it around the office. We have yet to get burned because we look for the clues that were mentioned. As soon as we get a suspect order, we either rip it up or send an email requesting further info and tell them there will be a delay. Then surprise, surprise we hear nothing.
why the heck would someone in indonesia want to buy wholesale from you or someone like you?
do you really think they can't get 'higher up' the chain than you?
most (certainly a lot) of camera and electronics equipment is manufactured in the far east, why would someone already in the east want to import the stuff back from the west?
(no offence meant, and the questions are general and not directed at this specific case, they are a guide to the kind of questions you need to ask yourself)
i'm very glad you didn't get burned, but remember even if a card payment goes through it can still be reversed due to fraud (at your loss) for some considerable time after the event.
my advice to anyone is: don't get caught out by greed, if it doesn't feel right then most likely it isn't, everyone gets caught out once in a while, but use your head.
Fraud orders can be shipped anywhere, not just out of country. Sometimes they set up an apartment for a month to collect the goods, then leave.
If you suspect fraud, delay the shipment and tell them there is a delay. A legit customer will wait.
Very poor spelling and grammer can be a clue. Wealthy people (those who can afford large orders) tend to know how to spell or use a spell checker.
The biggest clue is a free email address.
Think about the cost of living differences between the U.S., say, and wherever you sell to. A $300 order from the Philippines or Indonesia or Nigeria is more than a month's pay for most people. So it's highly unlikely they will order something that large.
I agree, but if you have a free email address combined with the other clues, then the red flag should go up.
We also do a lot of business with customers using hotmail and such. We realize people use those addresses at work to conduct personal business.
I get it now and let me tell you, I am looking over each order a little closer now.
Yeppers, you did get lucky, this time.
How lucky you are next time, and there WILL
be a next time, depends largely on how well you remember:
Scammers thrive on people who allow dreams/hopes/ greed/desire to exceed their rational thought processes.
I am making my new goal not just about the almighty dollar, but the dollar that doesn't result in a chargeback!
I am making myself aware, informed, and ready to just say NO.
1. Customer provides a free email account. Ask for a paid email id. If the order is fraudulent, chances are you will never hear back from him.
2. Spelling and grammatical mistakes. (My English is also not very good ;))
3. Buyers IP address is different from the billing address.
4. Buyer uses a proxy server to connect to your site.
5. Buyer provides a cell phone number
6. Do a reverse phone number lookup to check the address and validity of the phone number.
7. Generic sounding address [1515, Main Street]
8. PO Box address.
You may need to do more checks and ignore certian types of warnings depending on your business model. For example, "billing address different from shipping address" is a sign of a fraudulent order. However if you have an online gift store you will simply need to ignore this warning.
Products which are used by teenagers, men etc have greater risk of chargeback/fraud than those used by women, old age people.
Buyer provides a cell phone number
I can see why more people in the U.S. are using cell phones as their only phone. Its been raining here for three days and both my home phone landlines barely work for all the static.
Yes, cell phone numbers bother the heck out of me on orderss. (I personally rarely use my cell phone except for car emergencies). But for many younger groups, they are virtually the only kind of phones used.