The other night, we received an order for $250 in gift cards. An hour later, $243 of that $250 was redeemed in a single transaction. The names, email addresses, and physical addresses are all different between the two transactions. The IP address was the same.
Naturally, I'm thinking this may be a fraud situation, so how do I cover our... assets? I've tried calling the customer who purchased the gift cards, but I get a generic voicemail greeting and the mailbox is full. Is there a way to verify through Shopify or through the customer's bank whether this purchase of $250 in gift cards is legit before we ship out $243 in merchandise? We've gone well over a year without any fraudulent transactions or chargebacks, thanks in large part to FraudLabs Pro, and I don't want to break that streak.
Dallas here from the Shopify Social Care team.
I completely understand the importance of the situation that you're dealing with right now and I appreciate how much thought and care you're putting into these decisions. It's never easy when it comes to situations like what you're experiencing and it's always good to work through each option.
By the sounds of it, you've done everything correctly in hopes of avoiding the worst. It's great that you have called your customer, however, it's unfortunate that they haven't answered or called back. It's also great to hear that you've been using a fraud protector app. Those are definitely useful when selling online.
Based on my understanding of what you're saying I think it would be best to listen to your gut feeling. With situations like this, there is never a clear right or wrong answer. I know, not the answer you're really hoping for, but your true judgment of the situation will be best.
At the moment there are two situations to consider:
You do have the payment from the gift card so the worst that can happen is you get a chargeback. As unfortunate and uncomfortable as those are, if you take screenshots of trying to call the customer, if you add images of you preparing and shipping the product then those can be used as proof.
I can't promise the outcome of all of this, so in the end, it's still a decision up to you, but I do hope this helped to give some insight.
The order sounds, fishy if the same IP address has been detected. Do not process the order until you get in contact with the customer to confirm the order. If you can't contact the customer by phone, then send an email.
To answer your question:
Is there a way to verify through Shopify or through the customer's bank whether this purchase of $250 in gift cards is legit before we ship out $243 in merchandise?
Other than the basic fraud analysis provided by Shopify, there is no other way to check with the bank. Since you're using FraudLabs Pro, shouldn't there be a fraud analysis of the transaction?
Thanks, Dallas and Jason,
I was going to go with my gut and cancel the order, but I tried the customer who purchased the gift cards one more time. Interestingly, the phone number provided in the oder was, indeed, hers, and she knew nothing about the order. I suggested she contact the card issuer.
This happened to us a few times when we first started using Shopify, before we were using FraudLabs Pro. I find it so frustrating that nobody is interested in trying to catch people who do this. We've been told that there's too many cases for local law enforcement to do anything about it and, to the best of my knowledge, there are no government agencies that pursue these criminals. I'm assuming the person was too smart to use his real address, but I'm betting if we sent a package to that address, he'd be the one to pick it up.
Oh, I'm so happy that you were able to get through to the original customer.
I know how frustrating it is. I had an order on my personal store a few years ago from a card from the US, but the order address was Belize. That order was $10,000 so needless to say it was a bit of a shock considering that is nowhere near a normal order amount I would receive. It's great that you were paying attention to avoid the worst situation.
I'm glad everything worked out!
Depending on the state (U.S), you can file for a small claim lawsuit, if you think it's worth your time and money. As you mentioned, there are no agencies that deal with this sort of thing because it's difficult to catch the bad-actors. Some might not even reside in the same country and utilize baits to re-ship items.
It's good that you are vigilant about this issue!
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