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[Again] International Credit Card Orders

Hi, I recently received a large order from Nigeria for a silver
product I manufacture. This order was large enough to be spread over
2 credit cards. I have been told to watch out for of such orders,
possibly fraudulent. His Credit cards( which check out OK) are
bone-fide what else can go wrong? he will have to sign for their

He is very unlikely to be unhappy with the product as it not an
ascetic object but a music one that has to play right (which it

Any advice on this would be much appreciated.If you could email me
your ideas I would be very grateful,


**Hanuman’s Response **

Discussions over this topic took place few times over the last
couple of years at the Orchid forums. You can retrieve
the threads by running a keyword search for Nigeria.

Check out the following address to learn moRe:


Just ask yourself why paypal will not do business in Nigeria…I
have had many of these orders and I don’t even take the time to
check them out any more…Time is Money…

Skystone and Silver

Brendan, Having been a onetime victim of international credit card
fraud, here is some advice. You said that his cards “check out OK”.
I’m not sure what checking you did but if you only ran the card and
got an approval, that is not enough. All that means is that at that
point in time, the card was good. You don’t know if the card was
stolen, as it was in my case. You need to contact the issuing bank
and determine what the billing name and address is and only ship to
the billing address. All this can be time consuming and difficult to
do. I have made the decision to require other kinds of payment for
international orders, such as international postal money orders and
bank checks which I wait to clear before shipping. Good luck, I hope
that it all works out for you. Joel

Joel Schwalb

The most celebrated poet Wole Soyinka has warned, in the BBC Reith
Lectures this year I believe, to be most careful about orders, or
indeed any communication, from Nigeria. He has no reason to denigrate
the country of his birth, and I for one am very happy to heed his

I do not wish to rain on your parade, but I truly hope that you will
take all precautions possible against fraudulent dealings. At the
very least make sure you have the money before you despatch anything,
and make sure that everything you send is well insured.

I hope all will go well with your order, and that my suspicions turn
out to be totally unfounded.

Best wishes
Pat Waddington

It is unfortunate but, any contact received from Nigeria must be
considered fraudulent. The only way I would ship anything to Nigeria
is for cash. There are too many examples of credit card and cashiers
check fraud from that country to accept either as payment.

Jim Binnion

James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160

Member of the Better Business Bureau

How do his credit cards check out OK? Exactly what checking have
you done? This is ABSOLUTELY a scam, and you will get screwed out of
your money. You have been warned, it is now up to you to decide if
you want to give your product away for free.

If it was me, I would request a certified bank check, and I would
hold the product for 14 days to be sure the bank check is good. If
he doesn’t want to pay with a bank check then don’t sell to him. You
can even offer to pay the overnight shipping charge for the check and
discount the purchase 10%, he still won’t do it if it is a scam,
which it is.

Keep us posted.
Daniel J. Statman, Statman Designs


How do you know his credit cards are okay? I know my merchant
account can not verify over seas orders (confirm addresses and stuff)
I get crazy letters from Nigeria with get rich quick schemes and
orders. I just delete them. Better safe then sorry. Plus silver work
can be made much cheaper in their own country so why would they

Be careful- don’t do it is my advice!



Please heed the warnings of the good folks on this list! I would
hate to see you (or anyone) scammed and there are NOTORIOUS scams
coming out of Nigeria. Check the FBI site and you can also find tons
of info by doing search on Google with “nigeria scam”. Don’t take a
credit card - ask for international money order or some other form of
payment. I myself have received two requests this week alone for
purchases from Nigeria. I delete without answering all of them.

  • Dee Dee

We also received a large order for diamond jewelry through credit
cards. In this case, the buyer sent us scanned images of the front
and back of his credit card. Thus, all the relevant numbers are

In addition, he sent a scanned copy of a letter with his signature
’authorising’ us to charge his account.

Thus, there are ‘essentially’ 3 questions that need to be answered:

  1. Is the credit card valid?

  2. Does it belong to the person mentioned on the card?

  3. If the signature is valid, would a scanned copy of an
    authorisation be accepted by the relevant companies such as Visa,
    Master, etc. and the banks involved in the transaction?

  4. Would the buyer be able to dispute the charges after the sale?

We are trying to find the answers to these questions. If anyone can
help, please feel free to contact us.


Mumbai, India.

Here are some extra steps you can take to reduce - but not eliminate -
your risk of being victimized by fraud, read alsom my post

Re: [Orchid] Credit Cards and Internet Sales
  1. Address Verification System. The address verification system, or
    AVS, compares a part of the billing address submitted by the
    customer with the records kept on file by the issuer of the credit
    card. The AVS service is offered for free by many merchant account
    providers; some however charge an additional fee.

But AVS itself has some issues. For example, it generally only works
with U.S. issued cards, obviously a problem if you will be taking
orders from outside the U.S. Second, fraud artists can often supply
a valid address for the stolen card, if they also obtained the true
cardholder’s address when they took the card (e.g. from a stolen
purse or wallet). They then provide a different address - one to
which they have access - where they ask that you ship the product
to. But despite these drawbacks, AVS is still very capable of
stopping many attempts at credit card fraud.

  1. Check the Order. If you are manually inputting orders, you should
    take the time to examine the data inputted by the customer to see if
    anything looks suspicious.

  2. Non-Matching Addresses. If the shipping address and the credit
    card billing address do not match, it may be an indication of credit
    card fraud. You should consider telephoning the customer to enquire
    why the discrepancy exists.

  3. Retail Sales. If you are selling face-to-face in a retail
    environment, always check the expiry date and see if the card is
    signed on the back. If it is, examine whether the signature matches
    the signature on the signed sales receipt. If you are still
    suspicious of potential credit card fraud, ask to see some photo

  4. Online Orders. With first time customers of big-ticket items, ask
    the customer to send you, by fax, a copy of his driver’s license and
    credit card.

  5. Foreign Orders. Obviously it will be much more difficult for you
    to verify any address or other contact for foreign
    orders. This is one item to consider before you make the decision to
    accept foreign orders.

  6. Seller Beware. Watch out for unusual sales; for example, sales of
    a large number of the the same product, which could be an indication
    that your customer plans to make a big hit off of you and then
    resell the goods. Also beware of rush overnight shipment requests,
    or multiple orders on the same card within a short period of time.

  7. Free Email Addresses. Free email addresses are very easy to
    obtain and the identity of the person owning the account is often
    impossible to ascertain. So if your customer has stolen the card and
    the owner’s address, he can hide behind an untraceable email address
    from a free email service. To minimize this risk of credit card
    fraud, call the customer to take the order over the phone.

  8. Post Office Boxes. Any con artist can open a P.O. Box to have
    purchases resulting from credit card fraud shipped to. So, many
    vendors insist upon the customer submitting a street address.

  9. Check Websites. Some customer’s email addresses will include,
    after the @ sign, the domain name of their website. Simply add www.
    before the domain name and check to see if the website is blank or
    under construction. Also, see that your order form collects the
    customer’s IP address, which is an individual number assigned to
    each computer. With the IP number, you can locate the owner of the
    computer by doing an IP search.

    IP Search:

  10. Website Warning. Place a highly visible warning on your website
    stating that your site employs strict safeguards to prevent credit
    card fraud.

Preventing Credit Card Abuse - Anti-Fraud Strategies

By Michael Bloch
Jan 16, 2004, 05:01

Protecting your online business from fraud…

One of the great things about the Internet is anonymity. One of the
worst things about the Internet is anonymity - especially for
etailers. If you utilize payment gateways for credit card
transactions or are considering doing so, it is important to ask the
gateway provider about their pre-screening procedures (this precedes
actual credit card payment processing). Some offer none at all!

Many payment gateway providers use the Address Verification System
(AVS). AVS provides some protection by comparing the billing address
on the web order form to the address held by the cardholders bank -

The transaction may be approved even if the address verification
does not match! The merchant faces the possibility of
chargebacks if the payment gateway decides to continue with the
transaction on a questionable match.

The following strategies are worthwhile considering if you sell
goods and services directly from your site using your own in-house
payment processing and some of the strategies can also be used in
conjunction with third part credit card processing systems.

Request …

While consumers value their privacy and require quick web site
ordering facilities, it is of the utmost importance that you gather
sufficient customer identity details during the ordering process.
The customers name, credit card number and expiry date is not
enough. Tell your customers why you need the and what
you will do with it - after all, it’s in their best interests too.
The fewer chargeback fees you have to pay, the cheaper you can offer
goods and services.

It’s important that each order processed from your site also
contains regarding the IP address of the person placing
the order. This can then be matched up with the from
your server logs or web site traffic reporting applications (see
below). An IP address is a unique network identifier issued by an
Internet Service Provider to a user every time they are logged on to
the Internet. While this is a good anti-fraud mechanism and useful
for tracking fraudsters, please be aware that IP addresses can also
be forged.

Email address awareness…

Fraudsters rarely use their own email address. With the
proliferation of free email addresses, it is now quite easy to
provide false contact details. A false Yahoo email address can be
established within 5 minutes. Increasing numbers of Internet
retailers are refusing to process web site orders that list free
email address services as the primary point of contact, opting to
request from customers their ISP or business email addresses. You
can check an email address quickly by going to the originating
domain and seeing if it provides a free email service.

Shipping addresses…

If the shipping address is different to the billing address, be
wary; although it is not uncommon for people sending gifts to others
to request a different shipping address, or if the billing address
is a post office box.

You’ll rarely find a fraudster sending goods to the legitimate
cardholders address. At the point of ordering, request a telephone
contact number for your customer. State that you need this number in
order to contact them if there are any problems. Many cardholders of
compromised accounts have been alerted in this way. The fraudster
definitely won’t give you his own phone number as he/she can then be
traced! If you are unsure, email the customer or call them to
confirm the authenticity of the transaction. Fraudsters hate
merchant contact of any kind.

Log analysis…

There’s plethora of site traffic tracking utilities available now
that will not only return very valuable demographic data, but can
also assist you in pinpointing the origins of fraud. For further
and a review of a free web site traffic reporting
service, please view:

Still one of the best ways to analyze your log files is manually. By
examining your logs carefully, you will be able to find out a
suspect order’s originating Internet address. This tracking is made
easier if you include a Time Stamp on each submitted web site order
form. If you find that an order originating from Russia states a
billing address of Sydney on the order form, make further enquiries.

Most commercially hosted domains will have a server log running.
It’s basically a text file that records every single request to the
site, including images. Contained in every request is an originating
IP i.e. the ISP issued address of the computer that “asked” for the
file. If you aren’t sure about how to access your raw server logs,
enquire with your hosting service.

Overseas orders…

Very risky, but an integral part of your online business. It is very
difficult to retrieve goods or apprehend fraudsters once the goods
have left the country. Make further enquiries with the credit card
company if an order seems suspect.

Unfortunately, Eastern Europe is still a very high risk region for
the origin of credit card fraud, with many online business owners
refusing to process orders from Eastern Europe. Other high risk
regions are Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia and Israel.

Unusual orders…

Unusually large web site orders requesting express delivery
definitely warrant further investigation, especially if the customer
has not purchased from you before. Customers are pretty cautious,
and will tend to place small orders in the first instance to test
the efficiency and integrity of your online business, or they’ll
make some sort of contact with you prior to ordering.

When in doubt, call the company…

Call the relevant credit card company BEFORE attempting to process
the order if in doubt… that extra 5 minutes may save you big
dollars! Even if the order has been processed through automated
systems, it’s not too late to follow up before shipping the goods or
providing the services. The idea is to deal with the situation
before the cardholder is issued a statement, notices something on it
that they didn’t purchase and then contacts their bank.

It all sounds like a lot of hassle, but until the credit card
companies, transactions processors and third party processors
improve their security technology - it’s better to be safe than

Make your anti-fraud policy visible…

Visual deterrents are still one of the most effective ways of
minimizing crime. In a bricks and mortar store, signs and cameras do
prevent shoplifting to some degree. Why not use the strategy on your
site? Add bold notices to the checkout pages stating your stance on
fraud and that systems are in place to monitor all transactions. Not
only will this decrease attempts at fraud, but will also demonstrate
to your clients that you take transaction security very seriously.

As with anything else related to online business security, nothing
is guaranteed 100% effective, but the above strategies will
definitely assist in decreasing the amount of credit card fraud you
experience, or help you track down credit card fraudsters.

Further learning resources 

Payment Gateways and Merchant accounts - a beginners guide: 

Michael Bloch
Taming the Beast 
Tutorials, web content, tools and software.
Web Marketing, Internet Development & Ecommerce Resources

Visit for free Internet marketing and
web development articles, tutorials and tools!

Over the last year Reactive Metals Studio has received some very
strange request for products. For instance, some thousands of
dollars worth of gold Mokume-gane to go to India. The order was
split over several credit cards registered in the U.S.

I contacted the international department of the credit card company
for advise. They said don’t do it. Fraud from that area of the world
is high. Nigeria & Malaysia too. The thing is that the merchant is
not protected. The alleged customer is. They can dispute the charge
and not pay it. The merchant is charged back for the amount. They
end up with the product the merchant ends up with nothing. They can
in fact dispute the products some years later. They can say it
didn’t work, didn’t arrive, was faulty=8A anything really. The
credit card company can charge back for the full amount.

I have seen family pictures and drivers licenses of the supposed
buyer. In one case the same guy’s face appears on different bodies

It is seller beware!
Bill Seeley

Reactive Metals Studio, Inc.
PO Box 890 * 600 First North St. * Clarkdale, AZ 86324
Ph-928/634-3434 * Ph-800/876-3434 * Fax-928/634-6734

Please don’t do business with anyone in Nigeria. I own a Christian
bookstore (where my jewelry and watch repair businesses are also
located). I have received many requests via e-mail and a bunch by
Relay (a telephone service for the deaf). This scam is well-known in
the Christian bookstore industry. They usually want to by a large
quantity of Franklin Electronic Bibles. DON’T GO THERE!

Del Pearson

I don’t have experience of taking credit card payments directly, but
I have been using paypal.It enables your customer to pay via cc
into their paypal account, but you’re covered for fraud by paypal.I
would only accept cc payments where the address is validated

I don’t know if this helps! There’s more info at

Steel Orchids /