Fraud Prevention FAQ

Precautions to Take Against Scammers

From the FBI website:
When receiving an inquiry from a foreign company/individual, you should be very cautious and make sure you really know the company that is making the inquiry. Some tips and signs to watch for to protect your company against scams/fraud are listed below.

  • Don’t invest in anything based on appearances. Just because an individual or company has a flashy web site doesn’t mean it is legitimate. Web sites can be created in just a few days. After a short period of taking money, a site can vanish without a trace.
  • Don’t invest in anything you are not absolutely sure about. Do your homework on the investment to ensure that it is legitimate.
  • Do your homework on the individual or company to ensure that they are legitimate.
  • Check out other web sites regarding this person/company.
  • Don’t judge a person/company by their web site.
  • Be cautious when responding to special investment offers (especially through unsolicited e-mail).
  • Be cautious when dealing with individuals/companies from outside your own country.
  • Inquire about all the terms and conditions.
  • If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
  • Purchase merchandise from reputable dealers or establishments.
  • Try to obtain a physical address rather than merely a post office box and a phone number, call the seller to see if the number is correct and working.
  • Send them e-mail to see if they have an active e-mail address and be wary of those that utilize free e-mail services where a credit card wasn’t required to open the account.
  • Consider not purchasing from sellers who won’t provide you with this type of information.
  • Purchase merchandise directly from the individual/company that holds the trademark, copyright, or patent.
  • Beware when responding to e-mail that may not have been sent by a reputable company

Eight Ways to Avoid Fraudulent Activities

1. Educate yourself. Remember that there are several types of scams, learn what scammers are looking for. Watch out for new scams.
2. Investigate. Do a thorough investigation yourself. Do not depend on message board answers, because the same person who is trying to scam you might respond to your message with positive comments
3. Be patient. Do not make quick decisions. That is what exactly scammers want you to do, to make fast irrational decisions. Remember that every journey starts with a single step.
4. Use common sense. Look for red-flags like high returns, complex transactions and letters or messages that are not professionally written.
5. Do not be greedy. Do not let greed drive you to take an unnecessary risk. Remember the old saying “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!”
6. Be skeptical. Question every aspect of transaction very carefully. It is good business.
7. Ask for references. Check with government agencies including trade agencies or chamber of commerce of the seller or buyer country, invest time to verify legitimacy of the company or individual.
8. Country of origin. The location of a scammer is irrelevant a scammers can be anywhere including in your community.

Fraud Warnings from the State Department Website

Protecting your Business from Credit Card fraud

What can you do to protect your business against credit card fraud?

  • Work with your card company. Sign up to participate in authentication programs such as Verified by Visa and MasterCard’s SecureCode.
  • When taking orders over the phone or Internet, ask the customer for the card’s expiration date and include it in your authorization request. An invalid or missing expiration date can be an indicator that the customer does not have the actual card, but merely the credit card number.
  • Use fraud detection tools such as the card’s validation code as part of the authorization process.
  • Be wary of multiple credit card numbers being supplied for purchases from a single IP (Internet Protocol) address.
  • Be wary of orders charged to multiple cards and destined for the same street address.
  • Be alert for transactions with more that one of the following characteristics: first-time customer, the customer does not appear to have a “working” knowledge of the item requested, “big-ticket” items, multiples of the same item, requests for expedited shipment for items of seemingly low value/importance, and orders shipped to an international address (wherein a simple Internet search reveals that the “Ship To” address is located in the area of airport cargo terminals/freight forwarders).