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    1 Reply Latest reply on Aug 25, 2010 12:33 AM by DeanMalibu

    Scam, Spam, or Legit? Here's What To Look For

    Buffalo Adventurer
      Below is an article that will give some insight into some of the scams that are going around. I found this on another forum I go to. I hope it helps someone to avoid getting ripped off.

      Scam, Spam, or Legit?
      by Dan Mowry

      So, you got an EMail from someone wanting to order from your online
      store ...a really big order. If it's legitimate you will make more
      commission from this one sale than you've ever made since you opened
      your account, huh?
      Problem is, you don't exactly know why they didn't just order from your
      store but, rather, they decided to contact you directly, right? Or,
      maybe the person explained they want to purchase in bulk, or they don't
      trust international payment systems, they claim there is a problem with
      your shopping cart system... correct?
      Well, your gut instinct is probably correct. It's the start of an attempt to scam you.
      Now, not every one will be bogus. But, online merchants across the
      board have reported for years that most of these scenarios are
      fraudulent. It's best to play it safe.
      You might be wondering exactly how this scam could play out - and how someone could possibly make money off of it?
      Often, people's first reactions are to think it centers around an
      attempt to get your credit card number or the use of a fraudulent (or
      stolen) card number. This isn't likely the case. Nowhere along the way
      would the sale require you to divulge your credit card information for
      them to make a purchase... so, that's not it. Trying to use a bogus
      credit card would likely get denied by the transaction process and
      you'd know not to proceed with the sale (providing you have your own
      merchant account to accept cards). Your POD service would certainly
      catch it if it went through them directly.
      Besides... what is a criminal mastermind going to do with 100 medium tshirts with a picture of a puppy on them??
      It's not about the products. It's not about your credit card number.
      ...it's about turning fake money into real money using you.
      Here's how the scenario would play out if you foolishly took part:
      You'd respond to them via EMail (rarely a good idea - now they at least
      know they've reached an active Email account) and you agree to take
      their money order for 100 medium tshirts. You agreed on a fair price
      already - let's say $1,600. They thank you for your honesty and let you
      know payment is on the way.
      In a few weeks you receive payment via money order in the mail and an
      address of where to send the shirts. (You don't really think this
      address is legit... do you?)
      Either way, you notice the money order is actually for $2,100! Being
      the good business person you contact them and let them know they sent
      you too much. (Could they have wanted more shirts than originally
      thought?).
      They apologize and tell you that their secretary must have incorrectly
      made it for $500 more than needed. They ask, if you'd be so kind,
      please send the shirts and just mail them another money order for the
      overage. Heck, they'd even accept a personal or company check from you
      because they can clearly see you're an honest person. They apologize
      profusely and seem embarrassed by their mistake.
      This is where the situation takes the wrong turn
      You deposit their $2,100 money order in your bank, fill out another
      money order (or check) to return the excess to your customer and then
      dash home to order all those shirts and have them sent to the address
      he gave you. (You're fighting off the urge to yell "Whoohoo!" and order
      that new 30″ flatscreen monitor you've been wanting).
      A few weeks pass
      You have seen the order ship from your POD account status reports. You
      sent a nice EMail thanking the customer and got a generous EMail back
      thanking you in return. It's been a great experience and you pat
      yourself on the back thinking you were smart and never fell for those
      obvious "Nigerian scams" asking for your credit card number.
      Well, the days of those scams have been over for some time now... they've been replaced with the scam you just got hit with.
      Don't believe me? Then why do you think your bank just phoned you
      telling you that the $2,100 money order was a fake and that you owe
      them that entire amount back?! (Yes, you do... oh, yes, you do).
      You see, the whole scam was to get you to do two things:
      1. Step outside of your processor's highly effective system of protecting shop owners from fraud.
      2. Get you to take $2,100 in counterfeit money order and turn it into $500 of real money order or check.
      ...the tshirts are just the smokescreen designed to take advantage of a naive shop owner anxious for their first, big sale.
      Money orders ARE NOT - NOT - NOT as good as cash. They never have been.
      They are pieces of paper than can be forged. Banks always process and
      verify money orders, cashiers, checks, and the like. Banks will tell
      you it can take "x" amount of weeks to do so, in some cases.
      Your $500 money order, however, was real - and by the time your bank
      alerted you to a problem - your money order was processed and you are
      out the $500 (real money order) plus the $2,100 (bogus) ...and whatever
      you legitimately spent with your Print on Demand fulfillment service to
      purchase those darn shirts in the first place.
      GOLDEN RULES:
      1. Never go outside your fulfillment company's system of purchase and payment. It's there for your protection!
      2. Don't let excitement cloud your judgment by seeing a big sale come
      your way. The old adage is still just as meaningful now as ever... If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

      VARIATIONS ON A THEME:
      1. PayPal can sometimes be the mechanism for how the scammer asks for
      that excess money to be returned. It's no big deal to them to close
      down an account after they grab the money. By the time PayPal locks the
      account down or begins a paper trail it's in another country where
      these people are often left untouched by the law. PayPal makes it very
      easy to be the recipient of money. This means the scammer has a
      relatively easy role to play compared to you... as you are already set up
      properly with PayPal.
      2. The stories... oh boy, the stories. To get a shopowner off guard you
      might get a story about orphans, church groups, family reunions,
      wholesalers, fashion boutique stores, etc. It's the stories that
      envelope these scams and help ease apprehensions and any reservations
      you might have. I mean, who would delay those orphans getting their 100
      medium tshirts?
      3. They start off telling you they'd like to use their credit card... but
      don't relax, yet. This opening line is becoming popular in 2008 because
      of what I've outlined previously... the scammers are getting hip to
      warnings about Paypal, money orders, etc.
      There are two things to look out for: A) What begins as an assurance a
      credit card is involved will eventually change to an explanation that a
      different payment needs to be used (silly secretary lost the company
      credit card... would money order be okay?) or B) It's an attempt to
      bang-away at a stolen credit card number after all. Again, this isn't
      as likely because once a stolen credit card is validated the culprits
      tend to burn through purchases very, very fast before it gets canceled
      and lengthy correspondence to negotiate for tshirts in bulk is hardly
      the way to do that.
      Most likely, you'll find the circumstances get changed and that the
      assurance of it being a purchase on credit card was just an initial
      ruse to get their foot in your door.
      4. Variations can be abundant. Essentially, it's about turning bad
      money into good money and you need to think ahead to that moment to see
      if you are being set up for a fall. The red-flag doesn't always show up
      immediately. It happens after you've started the process. That's part
      of why it's so hard to avoid being scammed once you have your hopes up
      and momentum going.
      NOT EVERYTHING IS A SCAM.
      Of course, not every contact is bogus. Wholesalers might well contact
      you. People wanting bulk-discounts will ask you what you charge. It's
      your responsibility to sift through what's real and what's not. Ask the
      opinion of your card processing service or bank representative if you
      are unsure. There are ways to conduct business safely - without putting
      the risk on you - and without making you miss the genuine sales
      opportunities. I hope this explanation gives you one more line of
      defense in protecting yourself.