Owning an internet shop or accepting money for goods or services is common practice these days for many website owners; however, as we’re all aware, criminals are forever finding new ways to defraud business owners.
An example of a common scam is where a fraudster, posing as a customer, asks to have an item shipped abroad using their own preferred haulage or courier company. It usually goes something along the lines of this:
- The fraudster sends the payment up-front to the vendor in the form of a cheque or by Credit Card for the cost of the goods AND the cost of the haulage
- The vendor arranges and pays for the haulage using the fraudsters requested haulage company which turns out to be a fake company
- It later transpires that the payment to the vendor was made using either a fake cheque or stolen credit card details
The signs of internet fraud
The problem with payments made using stolen credit cards or fake cheques is that it may take several days or even weeks before this is spotted by the bank and the vendor is often liable for the money.
In order to avoid falling for a scam, it’s useful to be aware of the common signs of fraudulent activity, such as:
- Customer asks to pay using Western Union Money Transfer
- Customer asks to use their own courier or haulier
- Customer pays by cheque but demands the item be shipped immediately
- Customer asks for item to be shipped to an address other than the credit card billing address
- Customer attempts to place an order by email
- A single order placed using multiple cards
- Orders requested to be rushed or ‘shipped overnight’
- International recipient addresses – these need to be checked very carefully
- Unusually large orders
- Orders from ‘high-risk’ countries
- Telephone number disconnected or wrong
If you have any concerns, please contact you bank before accepting orders. You may also want to request a fax copy of the customers’ credit card together with another form of ID such as driving licence beforehand
For more information, Visa has a guide to protecting your online store:
Of course, you’re always welcome to phone us if you have any concerns!