Credit Card Fraud Criminal Scam Targets Australian Retailers - a warning by the Albany Chamber of Commerce & Industry

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Credit Card Fraud Criminal Scam Targets Australian Retailers - a warning by the Albany Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Australian retailers are being targeted by a criminal gangs using stolen or fraudulent credit cards.  It has been reported to us that this particular criminal has used the E-mail address consistently.  An alert about the user of the E-mail address has been published in the Albany Chamber of Commerce & Industry NewsletterWe recommend you read the article published by the Albany Chamber of Commerce & Industry.  You may also want to thank them if this message has helped you preventing becoming a victim of credit card fraud.

All the combined reports we have received about credit card fraud in general--including this one, have several factors in common. 

  1. The criminal will call and place an order for two or more expensive ticket items. 

  2. The criminal will use stolen credit cards or fraudulent credit cards (these are legitimate credit cards owned by overseas criminal accomplices).  There is also evidence that criminals are now starting to use services such as PayPal to rob merchants.

    Depending on what type of credit card fraud scam it is--two things will happen. 

    1. If the card is stolen, the funds will be reversed and the amount will be deducted by the bank.  This will take place irrespective of the fact that the credit card company had authorized the sale as legitimate. 

    2. If the card is legitimate and owned by a criminal accomplice, the criminal accomplice will deny having approved the purchase and the bank will reverse the transaction.  Once again the merchant will end up being the real and only victim.

    3. If the purchase was carried out via PayPal and the credit card used ends up being stolen or fraudulent, PayPal will try to negotiate with the banks, but in the end they will reverse the transaction and, once again, the Merchant will be the only victim.  Do not believe for a single moment that because goods are purchased via PayPal you are guaranteed that the purchase is a bona fide purchase by a lawful customer.  This has clearly not being the case on many reports we have on file.

  3. The criminal asks for the goods to be shipped to a local address in attempt to dispel any concerns.  In reality the local address will often be the address of a legitimate courier company.  In one case the criminal asked for the good to be shipped to "P&S Services".  This being a legitimate and totally innocent international shipping company.  The idea was that the criminal would arrange for the parcel to be reshipped to an overseas address. Often the couriers are also defrauded because the orders are paid by stolen cards.

  4. The goods are shipped overseas and the credit card fraud scam has concluded.  There are reports that there are now "warehouses" in third world countries and in Asian countries which act as point of call for stolen goods from Australia, the US and European countries.

Calling the authorities to report this kind of crime will prove to be a waste of time.  Police are clearly not trained and not equipped to deal with credit card fraud and scams.  Officers are likely to be sympathetic and willing to help, but they have no resources and no skills at dealing with this kind of crime.  According to the reports we have received the authorities' response is "this is an international scam, there is not much we can do about it".   If this kind of response offends you, do not blame the police.  We suggest you get in touch with your local member of parliament and discuss the issues with them.

It is unbelievable to us that Governments worldwide have not yet realized that credit card fraud by international criminal gangs is now responsible for millions of dollars losses to their citizens and the economy.  A coordinated and united effort at catching these criminals would put to an end to international credit card fraud.  It is also deplorable that credit card companies who are earning huge profits from merchants and credit card holders have not put in place more intelligent countermeasures which could be easily implemented to prevent credit card fraud.

Under no circumstances you should try to go overseas in an attempt to recover your goods or money.  People who have done so have been beaten, kidnapped (for a ransom) and even killed.  Police and authorities in many poor third world countries are either unreliable or corrupted.  We have had reports that in some instances the criminals had the protection of their local police and indeed some of them were police officers in their country. 


Credit Card Fraud Criminal Scam Targets Australian Retailers - a warning by the Albany Chamber of Commerce & Industry

What you can do to help prevent credit card fraud and help prevent being robbed by criminal gangs.

  1. Do not accept credit cards or PayPal for large ticket items.  Offer discounts to customers who pay by FPOS or direct transfer.  Most customers have internet banking facilities and, if you offer an attractive discount, they will not mind paying electronically.  You can deduct the outrageous fees that credit card companies charge you for the transaction and transfer it to your customers.  

    If you balk at this suggestion, remember that in the current competitive environment even the loss of $5,000 to a credit card fraud criminal will seriously damage your profitability.  In order to recover such losses you will need to make many sales or increase prices.  We also know that when a retailer has been robbed by credit card fraud criminals, the staff morale plummets.  This too affects sales.  

    You may lose some sales, but in the long term you company will benefit from this change in policy. 

    I would gladly love to see a boycott of credit cards by all merchants world wide until credit card companies become more responsible and sensitive to the plight of the thousands of merchants who are regularly defrauded because of weak and non existent security strategies.  If you are an executive of a credit card agency--shame on you.

  2. If you still insist in accepting credit cards or PayPal for large ticket items, then expect to be robbed.  You can minimize losses by training your staff to look for tell tale signs of credit card fraud. 

    However, it is doubtful whether these precautions will prevent you from being robbed.  Criminals are likely to read this document and other helpful documents published by other similar sites to NASPA.  Thanks to western Governments' lack of initiative, criminals now have vast amounts of money at their disposal and they are now able to devise more and more sophisticated ways to rob merchants.  This includes the building of entire networks and websites and the corruption of internet service providers and the hiring of expert programmers.

    Tell tale signs that should raise your staff suspicion.

    1. Fraudulent purchases will always carry an energy of "urgency".  Especially when the criminals are using stolen credit cards, they have to make sure the goods are dispatched within 8 to 16 hours of the sale.

    2. The criminals will go a long way to ingratiate themselves with the sales staff, they will be "exceptionally friendly" and spin long stories and explanations why the goods are urgently needed.

    3. The will often purchase multiple expensive items.  They will be totally unconcerned by the price of the item.

    4. They will arrange for pick up by international couriers, or they will ask for the goods to be delivered to an international courier.

    5. They will use web based E-mail services such as Yahoo or Hotmail or Gmail.

    6. They usually will not provide phone numbers, or if they do provide a phone number it is likely to be a fake number or a stolen phone.

    7. When accepting PayPal orders, ALWAYS E-mail the purchaser and ask the purchaser to confirm the order.  Never dispatch goods to a PayPal purchaser unless they have responded to your E-mail confirming that they have placed the order.   Do not phone the purchaser as that action does not protect you in the event the criminal purchaser disputes having placed the order.  Keep the confirmation E-mail with the sales records.  In the event of a dispute, PayPal will require you to prove that you have delivered the goods and that the order had been confirmed by the purchaser.  if you cannot prove delivery and that the order was placed lawfully, you will lose the sale proceeds.

      In a recent case reported to us, a merchant delivered the goods via Australia Post Registered Mail to the wife of the PayPal purchaser.  The criminal purchaser denied having placed the order and PayPal informed the merchant that they were reversing the charges despite the fact that the merchant had proof from Australia Post that they had delivered the goods.  The end result was that the merchant was robbed.  There was no appeal process possible since PayPal cover this kind of event in their contract which each merchant has to agree to.

    8. Place signs on your website that the IP of purchasers is monitored and that staff has been trained to deal with credit card fraud.  Criminals tend to go for soft targets, large retailers are first in line.  However, they are now starting to target smaller retailers and merchants who advertise online.  We have noticed that the criminals are now contacting merchants by phone and placing phone orders rather than ordering goods on line.

If you have been robbed, make a closure with the robbery.  Treat it as a valuable lesson and put a security policy in place--one that includes the training of staff in becoming credit card fraud aware.   Many of the merchant victims that have contacted us report loss of sleep, anger and hypertension many years after the robbery took place. 

Authorities do not seem to understand that the psychological effects of being robbed by an internet credit card criminal resemble those suffered by the victims of burglary.  The victim feels violated and helpless, more so with internet credit card fraud since there is no useful avenue for reporting these crimes and no hope of ever catching the criminals.

With regards to the criminals targeting Australian retailers,  we have found other references of merchants who escaped being robbed.  They all refer to

 being the only contact point that the criminal used.

The following is an article reprinted from the Albany Chamber of Commerce & Industry Newsletter


It happened like this.
We (T4 Technology) had a call from
National Direct (Phone facility for the
deaf) supposedly from a Vanessa Thomas
requesting a Laptop to be paid for by
credit card and then picked up by a courier
The first Credit Card didn’t work and a
2nd one was given. Address for warranty
was requested and a Mullumbimby NSW
address was given.
A receipt was requested to be sent to an
email address;
Then delivery was to be organised.
Delivery address was phoned through the
next day as;
17 Cousins Turn
Baldivis WA 6171
On calling credit card fraud to see if card was
stolen (as we were suspicious) the address
for the 1st card was Northern Territory and
the 2nd card Mullumbimby NSW. When they
tried to make contact, the customer turned
out to be overseas.
We had the credit card payment reversed
and would not release the goods to TNT.
They advised us that they had a pickup from
Albany Camera House to go to the same
On speaking to Camera House, they had the
same experience but with a different credit
card. TNT delivery was to be same day at a
cost of $500 also paid with credit card.
We emailed the “customer” and said that the
credit card had bounced and that we would
like to have them direct deposit payment to
us before release of goods. Another phone
call came from “Vanessa” via National Direct
and wanted me to take a different credit
card which they said was a corporate card.
When I said that we wanted Direct Deposit
the call ended.
National Direct said that they did not have a
phone number for the customer only an IP
address from a computer contact and that
they could not release that to us.
WA Police fraud said that there was nothing
much that they could do as it was more than
likely an overseas scam.
This incident serves as a timely reminder
for business owners to have good practices
in place regarding taking payment by credit
cards (and cheques!), to train your staff, and
to make sure you’ve always got your scam/
BS monitor turned on! If in doubt, call your
bank’s Merchant Services to check the card
is valid.
A big thank you to Stuart and Trina from T4
Technology for bringing this to our attention.

There are more references to the criminal using that report other criminal activities that may be of interest to merchants.


Credit Card Fraud Criminal Scam Targets Australian Retailers - a warning by the Albany Chamber of Commerce & Industry



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Credit Card Fraud Internet Scams Criminal Gangs Targeting Australian Retailers.

Credit Card Fraud Criminal Scam Targets Australian Retailers - a warning by the Albany Chamber of Commerce & Industry




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