I am a manufacturer's rep in the security industry (turnstile products) and received a very generic email quote request for one of our products. I replied with some questions and he called with a very thick African accent and informed me that these are shiping to Ghana. Long-story short, I quoted him full price and within minutes he accepted and said that he'll use his credit card to pay. This was after I made it clear that payment was due 10 business days PRIOR to shipping.
This smells VERY fishy, but I can't figure out the scam (other than a stolen credit card) if he pays in advance.
The odds that this is a scam are around 99.9%, friend. The card will pass OK and you will ship the merchandise. The owner of the card can wait months before complaining that this was not an authorized sale. When he does the credit card processor will immediately withdraw the funds directly from your bank and then send you a printed "chargeback" form. You will have no way to recover the funds since the products will already have left the country and the "buyer" is almost certainly not the owner of the credit card.
I used to use a second bank account and only accept wire transfers for out of country shipments. Still had some risks, but I would remove the funds when cleared and deposit them in an accoun in a different bank. Kind of a pain, but my risk of loss was only the couple hundred I kept in that account to keep it open.
I figured out the scam. It has to do with shipping fees, since the turnstiles are shipped via freight. He wanted to use his own shipper, but then (in an email after I posted my question) told me that I would have to contact the shipper to make arrangements. Keep in mind that all of the email addresses so far are Gmail.
The scam will be in bogus advance shipping fee deposits, customs fees, bribes, etc. There would never be any shipment of product, since the shipping "company" is probably the same guy, so we would never be out any product, just however much in fees.
I was originally thinking stolen credit card, as well, but given our product cost, I doubt many credit cards would get an approval. Fun stuff.
I don't see why you bothered. I prefer wire transfers for international sales since the transfer is as safe for us as a cash deposit. TTBOMK, once a wire transfer has been completed there's no easy way to revoke it. We do accept foreign credit cards if the US shipping address (usually a freight forwarder) has been registered as an alternate address by the card holder. By shipping to a US address that has been registered by the owner of the card and also requiring a signature from the receiver you can usually avoid dishonest chargebacks.
Good catch. A lot of scammers use free, untreaceable email accounts such as Gmail. I hadn't considered the "shipping fees" angle since we routinely ignore these RFQ's. We get a fair number of email requests for quotes of 200,
300 or more smoke detectors to be shipped to one or another sub-saharan African countries.
We occasionally get "Internet Relay" calls where a US telco operator speaks to us as the "customer" types on a TTY device. These invariably involve a large, international order. The perp insists he needs it fulfilled immediately and wants to use a credit card. These rip-offs are so common that Verizon's software, which monitors IR calls for key phrases, causes another operator to cut in on the call and warn the US merchant that this appears to be a fraud. They then ask if you wish to continue the conversation. After the first few such calls we made it a policy to tell IR operators that if the caller wants to do an international order we are not interested.
I don't know how many turnstiles the supposed order was to involve, but it certainly sounded like a scam. We occasionally take credit cards orders in excess of $10K. Within certain boundaries you can set your own limits for online orders. With commercial account "check cards" the limits can be very high. The bad guys are always looking for a new way to separate you from your hard-earned bucks. Ah, well...
My name is Mr. Clifford Harris and i will like to place an order of Fresh water and fly fishing reels and fishing rods so can you kindly get back to me with their prices of one including TAX for me to advice the quantity i will like to order OR get back to me with your website for me to choose the beads i want to order...I will be picking them up from your shop when they are ready for shipment and also i will like to know if you accept credit card for payment,thank you and i will be waiting.
It may not have been at the time. I talked with the president of my local bank about this back then, and she actually explained to me how a couple of the risks worked as she saw it, and reccomended I open an account in an unrelated bank to do just this. I do not typically do retail or big shipping anymore, but I have sold some big ticket items overseas in the past. The biggest stuff I actually had the buyer come to the states to make sure all was done properly.
RHC: I'm learning Graham, I'm learning....just take me longer than most, being the stubborn old cuss I am.......
One of my shooting instructors says I don't listen when he's teaching me...says he's going to get a T shirt with "I listen" written on it. When I don't listen (which he claims is most of the time), any other shooter on the line has permission to kick my butt......:))
Dunno if it's a good idea to kick someone's ass when they've got a pistol on their belt though....(hehehe.....just kidding)
I know. I have a designated person to handle medical decisions when the time comes. Not wanting my loved ones to have to make the final decision, I also have a DNR. I hope to see Christmas but anything beyond that is uncertain.