Red Flags

I could go on and on and on and on about all the times I’ve been scammed in business.  When you’ve been in business for 35 years you accumulate a lot of stories of woe and intrigue.  One of the dumbest scammers was a couple of kids using a stolen credit card, who wanted us to deliver thousands of dollars worth of musical instruments, picked out over the phone sight unseen, each being the most expensive of the available choices, to a parking lot on a Sunday.  We just got as much information out of them as we could, called the cops, and found out that these kids had been busted multiple times in the past for check and credit card fraud.

Just the other day, we got an order for multiple units of the most expensive thing we have to offer.  First red flag.  Not enough to get all suspicious, but it makes you wonder just as little bit.  In the comments box, he/she/it says to hurry, but offers no reasons why.  Second red flag.  That may sound innocuous to you, but it’s extremely rare.  When we try to process the transaction, it comes up with a no-match on both the cvv number and the billing address.  Third red flag.  When I reply, asking for the correct cvv number and billing address he/she/it has no idea what I’m talking about and therefore can’t provide any info.  Fourth and fifth red flags.  That’s two more; one because a person spending a lot of money for something needed right away couldn’t get the numbers right, and two because someone is doing all this as his/her/its very first time making an on-line purchase (if you’ve done it before, you know the meaning and importance of a cvv number and a billing address).  If you don’t know what “cvv number” means I can maybe sort of forgive you because some sites refer to it as a “security code” but I can’t forgive you for being unable to use google for a few milliseconds to find out.

My long legacy of being scammed tells me this is a kid with a stolen card, or some other dirtbag loser/gangsta and that I shouldn’t engage in any more messing around.  It’s not any one or two red flags, but the accumulation of red flags that made me nix the deal.  I know full well that it is possible that this is an innocent, inexperienced buyer, but it’s too unlikely a scenario to gamble a lot of money.  Nor will I offer any explanation to this person, beyond “…our security department has rejected the order.  Please look elsewhere.  Sorry.”  Other red flags I won’t tell you about.

Those of you who aren’t in business do understand (don’t you? no, you probably don’t– no one learns about business unless they actually do it, because most people go through public education) that any time there is a problem with a credit card, it is I, the business owner, who always eats the shit on the deal.  No one else is responsible.  You may THINK that the credit card bank is letting your unauthorized charges go at their expense, but they’re charging the vendor (that’s me) whenever that happens (it’s called a “chargeback”) and then merchant services threaten to cut off, or jack up the price on, my merchant services.  The business owner is always at fault.

4 thoughts on “Red Flags

  1. >One of the dumbest scammers was a couple of kids using a stolen credit card, who wanted us to deliver thousands of dollars worth of musical instruments

    Hmmm… might have been poetic justice if you sent them some Gibson guitars with forbidden exotic hardwoods, and then called the ICE tipline on them…

  2. @ Aaron; yeah well that was some decades ago, before the hardwood Nazis had their own Brownshirt Brigade, Musical Instrument Division in the U.S. Besides; they’d go after me, not the criminals. Remember; the business owner is always at fault. I think that one is actually in the communist manifesto. If you haven’t read it, you can’t really understand how our government works. It should be required reading in all Civics classes.

  3. I always thought the credit card company ate the cost for the merchant too and that was an advantage of taking cards–I guess I will definitely have to make sure I read the fine print if I ever go into business.

  4. I ordered a Scrapyard knife when I was in Afghanistan but was denied because my APO delivery address was different from my billing address on my CC. They worked with me to sell me the knife, but it took a few emails back and forth. I wasn’t offended, with credit card fraud seemingly always on the increase I was quite happy with the customer service I got.

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