Post by Purebeads » Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:11 am

Despite having a perfectly good shopping cart on my site, I will periodically get an email from someone who doesn't want to use the cart. The email is always from a foreign country, and the language of the note is often stilted, calling me "sir" and using words like "advise". He or she will invariably ask for a list of products and prices -- which begs the question, why would anyone ask me for that information when it is available in the cart? The sender will often claim to represent a company, and sometimes he'll want me to use a particular shipper.

I always tell such people to use the shopping cart, and I don't usually hear from them again. Today, however, the person sent me back a note saying that he wanted 2000 of a particular item (the cart says there are 1550 available), and that he would send me his credit card number via email, and that he wants me to use his own shipper. What he doesn't know is that if he did send all his information to me (name, address, credit-card info, etc.), I'd simply place the order for him using the cart. Also, the fact that he wants to buy just one item in a large quantity is a tip-off that he is up to something and isn't really interested in the products (99% of my customers buy more than one product when they place an order).

I sell beads for making informal jewelry, and I always sell them in lots. Depending on the bead style, the lot can contain 25 or 50 or 100 beads. Once, one of these people wrote me back and said he wanted 28 beads of this style, and 57 beads of that style, and 22 beads of this style, and 68 beads of that style. It made no sense.

It seems to me that these people are trying to perpetrate a scam, but I can't figure out what the angle is. For some reason, the scam won't work if they use the cart. Has anyone else encountered this?
Last edited by Purebeads on Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by labeshops » Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:33 am

Yeah, I get those type of emails a lot used to reply to them to use the cart, but now just ignore them altogether.

Running Opencart v2.2 with multi-stores from http://www.labeshops.com which has links to all my stores.

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Post by Purebeads » Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:20 am

labeshops wrote:Yeah, I get those type of emails a lot used to reply to them to use the cart, but now just ignore them altogether.
There's a scam in there, and I wish I could figure out what it is. Do they think that if they email me their credit-card number, I won't process it and discover that it's stolen? They always give themselves away by the odd items they want to buy. The whole thing is very strange.

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Post by MarketInSG » Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:52 am

probably they didn't want to go through your checkout cart just in case you have a fraud system there catching their IP address as suspicious, so they would prefer you to do the job


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Post by Purebeads » Thu Sep 18, 2014 11:36 am

MarketInSG wrote:probably they didn't want to go through your checkout cart just in case you have a fraud system there catching their IP address as suspicious, so they would prefer you to do the job
That makes sense, though there must be more to it than that. The items they say they want are always an after-thought; it's clear that they don't really want them. Somehow they are trying to pull a larger scam. It just never gets to that point in my case.

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Post by ogun » Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:42 pm

It's the shipping part that's the bulk of the scam (you're helping to launder a stolen cc or some other illegitimate fund and possibly opening yourself up to other fraud, like a dodgy shipping company or a chargeback scam). And as MarketinSG said, you're bypassing the fraud checks of your payment gateway and changing your own level of liability.

Sometimes they might make a couple of low-value orders before asking for you to use their own shipper if you seem like a juicy enough target or there's an actual, above-grunt level human looking at your site. There are outfits that run the same scam over the phone, so if you have an online shop, it's worth being aware that you might be approached from either/both front/s.

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Post by Purebeads » Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:46 pm

Ogun, that explains it. Thank you! Clearly, I'm not giving them an opportunity to pull the full scam on me, and that's why it remained a mystery until now.

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Post by Purebeads » Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:01 am

Here's another one that just came in:

"ATTENTION: SALES DEPARTMENT;

We extend our kind interest to make purchase on some items in your facility. Before we proceed, kindly let us know the types of credit card you accept for payment. Can you ship international?

Hope to read from you so soon.

Regards,

Kyle Armstrong
Armstrong Supply Co.
Ormond Beach, Florida | Honiara, Solomon Islands
armstrongsupplyco@gmail.com"


"Extend our kind interest"? Where did they learn English?

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Post by tankueray » Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:36 am

This has been going on in the t-shirt industry for years (over fax even!). They have a bunch of credit card numbers, but not often the expiration dates and CCV numbers. So they want to get you to manually punch it in as a no signature sale (only works if you have a CC processing account or something like Square; it doesn't work for PayPal, except maybe the PayPal reader, because it needs that additional information); manual entry also doesn't check the shipping address against the CC address, and gives you NO protection at all. A way to cut down on the amount of these emails is to not show your inventory. If you use Gmail, turn on the fraud setting that verifies the sender's email came from their server and wasn't spoofed. Check your email provider's help information for these terms to set it up: DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) and SPF (Sender Policy Framework).

They always seem to want something that isn't a good seller, like 2000 adult small brown shirts (2000 is a popular quantity), and they play on your desperation/greed to either move a product, or something (like the shirts) that can be purchased for less than regular shirts (because no one wants small brown shirts); or, they want really expensive stuff they can resell. How do they know it's not selling? They have programs that monitor changes to site inventories and prices over time.

Here are two other versions which explain the scam process in more detail: http://www.csoonline.com/article/215592 ... liers.html
http://www.snopes.com/fraud/sales/cashier.asp

The best option is to not respond to these emails at all. It's kind of like spam text messages or phone calls, once you answer, they know it's a "live" number and will sell it to other scammers.

Also, there's another one out there. Not from professional scammers, but the legitimate owners of the credit cards. They call and say they can't get the cart to process their card, or they're not comfortable entering their card information online, can they pay by phone? (Really? You won't type it in, but you'll let me write it down and keep it?) The reason being, again, that it's a no signature sale. You send it to their actual address and they get it (even sign for the delivery), then they call their CC and say that they never ordered it, that it was fraud. You have delivery confirmation, correct address, and all the other information that shows that they were the ones that ordered it...except the signature. You'll lose with the CC company every time, and usually the police won't do anything if they're in another state. I'm at a trade show right now and I've talked to half a dozen vendors that this has happened to. One "customer" has even opened a business using the stolen equipment and is advertising all over Facebook. It's crazy. That's why some vendors ask you to fax them (not email) an authorization form that only has the items ordered and a signature line.

Now I've done gone on a rant...apologies. ;)

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Post by Purebeads » Sat Sep 20, 2014 6:14 pm

Jeez, I don't know why you are apologizing for your "rant"! You have explained the whole thing to me. Thank you!

It seems that the solution is to not be a desperate merchant. Require all customers to use your shopping cart, and ship by the usual methods. Frankly, I don't know why any merchant would allow a customer to manipulate him or her like that. I've never been so desperate for a sale that I would put up with such odd behavior.

You say that the way to cut down on these emails is not to show your inventory, but that's the whole idea of a shopping cart. Or perhaps I'm not understanding you.

As for screening out such emails, it's not necessary. I can just delete them. I don't use Gmail or any service like that.

By the way, aren't all online sales "no signature" sales? Or do you mean some kind of electronic signature, like the CCV code?

Thanks again for shedding light on this!

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Post by Purebeads » Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:30 pm

Talking about scams, I just have to share this because it's so funny.

First, I sell glass beads for a living (beads for making costume jewelry).

A woman once sent me a long weepy story about how she had such a wonderful old boss who was so kind to her. She wanted to honor him by giving him a gift of beads with which he would count the remaining days of his life. The idea was that every day he would take a bead from one jar and put it into another jar to mark that day. She apparently didn't think out her scam very well, because the whole idea of doing such a thing is ridiculous, not to mention macabre. First of all, what point is there in knowing how many days you've lived since a certain date? That information can be gotten from any calendar. And what about the weekends when he isn't in the office to transfer a bead to the second jar? And what about those days when he simply forgets to do it? Besides which, you can count your remaining days with dry beans as easily as you can with beads.

The whole idea was laughable. Since her boss was such a dear person, she expected me to supply the beads for free (she didn't explain why it was my responsibility to pay for this gift that she wanted to give to her boss). I'm still amazed that she thought anyone would fall for such a story.

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Post by i2Paq » Tue Sep 23, 2014 8:04 pm

Purebeads wrote:Talking about scams, I just have to share this because it's so funny. and blabla
I believe her!

I had about the same e-mail and send her some tanning lotions for free because she wanted her boss not to see her tanning lines.

Please give me her e-mail address and I will send her the beans!

yeah, right ;D

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