Letter to the Editor: If it seems too good to be true

Sunday, March 5th, 2017

I’d like to say times have changed but sadly they haven’t, crimes and those who prey on others are still crimes but the times we live in have indeed become more modern. The roads leading to crime have become paved with the internet allowing a worldwide highway free for anyone to travel on, no matter where they live. Fortunately not all criminals are very smart.
Being a small business owner has always had its challenges, no matter where you live, but nowadays you have to stay on top of the ways that crime can affect you with the internet.
Credit card scams are huge with businesses. Last year in 2016 there was over $16 BILLION dollars in losses in the United States alone.
How can this happen? You may be thinking oh” they lost their card, card got stolen”. NOT necessarily so.
Every day when you use your credit card or bank issued card there are criminals who steal your information and NOT to use it themselves but to SELL it. Yes, they sell your numbers to the highest bidder. In a week, a month, or more, you start seeing charges on your bill or from your account that you didn’t make. Thieving card readers are able to read your cards information from your wallet, purse or even ATM’s. Do some research on the internet on how card readers steal those numbers and you will no doubt change the way you carry your cards!
Of course losing your cards or having them stolen is just as bad but at least if it’s stolen or lost you can call the card company and report it asap protecting you and stopping them, hopefully.
Nowadays businesses receive emails from very friendly folks TRAINED to know what to say and how to say it. Phrases used are meant to excite and flatter you.
Example: “OMG I just LOVE your products and want to purchase $3000 worth so I NEVER RUN OUT”. “Do you accept credit cards (of course you do you’re a business!), and can you ship direct to me if I give you my card numbers? I’m SOOOO excited about doing business with you!”
This is a HUGE scam. You may get excited but DON’T. Chances are they are using stolen card numbers or a stolen card. They give you the numbers you charge the card and send them the merchandise and then YOU get a charge back, bank informs you the card was reported stolen and the transaction didn’t go through and you are out of the merchandise. They however, believe it or not, have rooms, apartments and often buildings filled with goods bought by using this method. Stealing this way is big business.
Email example as we get tons of these weekly:
Subject order
Message Hello, I want to order from you company to my store is in Poland. Do you accept credit card as form of payment? I will be waiting to read back from you at your earliest convenience. “Lana”
Yet sadly another example , even worse, is when they email you from another country asking them to put together a large order of your product, many times not even knowing your products in detail, they may ask if you take credit cards over the internet. Again most of the credit card numbers are found to be stolen so don’t fall for this one either BUT they make it seem more real by telling you their ” friend” who lives in the area will pick it all up. That screams set up for being robbed.
NOTE* They actually have people who travel all over who participate in this scam. They usually give you the credit card numbers and almost immediately someone shows up to pick up the merchandise. Poof! Gone are the goods and the bank declines the transaction as no card was present and you simply accepted the card numbers based on wanting “that sale”. There’s huge money to be made for them IF THEY DON’T GET CAUGHT. There’s huge losses for them if YOU wise up to how this is done and don’t participate.
Last month I had NUMEROUS emails trying to obtain our products using these methods and another just this week. In fact one was begging me to take the card information so that “she” could send someone in to pick the so called purchase up, yet she was in another country. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? It means there’s people HERE where we live participating in this.
It doesn’t matter what your business sells, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.
To sum it up, know your products, know your customers and tighten up how you make your sales, pay more attention because just when you’re not, THEY ARE.
/s/ Lynda Perdue

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