As everyone is vying for more sales, bigger profit margins and an increase in the bottom line – it’s easy to let your drive take over your instinct.  Here is some advice / good practices to make sure you don’t get caught up in any scams.

10. Treat Every Order Uniquely. Don’t get in the habit of just moving papers and sending e-mails.  Look over every order, make sure all information is complete (Address, Phone #, E-mail Address). For Credit Card orders verify CVV codes and Addresses.

9. Never Ship to PO Boxes or Drop Boxes. Just don’t do it.

8. Ship Items with Delivery Confirmation. Ship Items with Tracking Numbers and Signature Required.  Although this doesn’t prevent fraud, it does start a paper trail and provides proof of delivery which is useful in a number of circumstances.

7. Take Extra Care with Larger Orders. If you’re used to processing orders of $100-$500, take extra precautions when you receive a $1000+ order.  Also be extra wary of these orders if they insist on expedited (1Day, 2Day) shipping.

6. Do Your Homework. There are so many tools available to you over the web to better educate yourself about the customer.  Google Maps, Reverse Phone Number Look Ups, Etc, Etc.  If you have a feeling an order may not be legit, use these to confirm your thoughts or answer questions.

5. Pick Up the Phone. If something doesn’t sit right with you, call the customer. This will answer questions and open a dialog to get more information so you can make a better decision.

4.  Contact the Issuing Bank. Contact the Credit Issuing Bank (CIB) and they will contact the customer for you. The CIB will confirm the name and address given by the customer. If the phone number given to you on the order is no good; the CIB can help you in this instance. Have your merchant ID ready when calling the credit card company. Here are phone numbers you can call.
American Express    1-800-528-5200
Discover Card    1-800-347-2000
Visa/MasterCard    1-800-228-1122
CardService International Merchant Services    1-800-456-5989
E-Commerce Exchange Merchant Account Set-Up    1-800-242-0363 Ext. 2736

(Thanks ScamBusters.org for this one)

3. Be Careful With International Shipments. If you get an order for 20 S-AFCs going to Malaysia, you can count on this being a scam.  However, not every scam is that apparent. Do everything you can to verify the order, have the customer send in a copy of their license (ID), credit card and a utility bill for the address that matches the credit card billing address (also see #2).

2. Only Ship To The Customer Billing Address. Unless you have an extensive repertoire with the customer, don’t make exceptions.  Even then, keep in mind – if you ship to an address other then the billing address this exposes you to risk.  If it is absolutely imperative (customer lives in New York, but the car is in a shop in Maryland) have the customer add the shop’s address to the credit card.  Yes this may be an inconvenience for the customer, but it covers your ass.

1. If It’s Too Good To Be True – It Probably Is. Not much comes easy in a business like this, always be careful and do smart business.

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