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I’m looking for opinions here. I recently received an order for 20 shirts to ship with all haste to Nigeria. Since it’s not a domestic order my tools for verifying the credit card don’t work. The order raises all the red flags I was warned to watch out for: big order, foreign order, wants order asap, Yahoo email account. I did an online search to find the address and it turns out that it’s a party rental store in Lagos, Nigeria with the name of the business being a shortened form of the name of the person listed on the credit card. I tried to call but the international lines were all busy at the time and I don’t know that I’ll have time to make a second attempt in a timely fashion (lousy day job). I have communicated successfully with this person via email since the order was placed. I’m thinking very strongly about shipping because the details line up nicely, but I thought I’d ask if there are any steps I’m overlooking in my loss prevention plan and for opinions on how any of you would proceed.
 

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I recently received an order for 20 shirts to ship with all haste to Nigeria
but I thought I’d ask if there are any steps I’m overlooking in my loss prevention plan and for opinions on how any of you would proceed.
I would not ship the order without a more verified form of payment (verified wire transfer) AND more confirmation from the buyer.

Like you said, it tripped off MANY red flags, but only had ONE "green" flag. To me, the risks outweigh the benefits.

It's possible that they registered a false business to help with fraud checks.
 

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It seems like these sorts of scams are usually requesting a much larger order (e.g. 200 items, not 20), so that's sort of a gray flag. The one I'm most worried about is the ship ASAP part though; that just seems to scream "ship it before you find out my credit card is stolen" to me.

As Rodney said, I'd aim to get a safer method of payment before you consider shipping this. If it's a legitimate order, they should be understanding - just explain that to avoid fraud, you need to have a wire transfer instead or such. If they then threaten to back out because they can't use the card, let them (it's probably a scam).
 

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Well the villain tipped his hand after all. I pressed him to get the name of the financial institution and their customer service phone number on the back of the card and he countered by offering to pay with PayPal. I told him I can accept PayPal but I still need the info from the card. He disregarded me and sent me the following email:

HELLO,I REALLY THANK YOU FOR YOUR EMAIL.
LIKE I ONCE TOLD YOU THAT THESE TEES ARE NEEDED FOR AN
OCCASSION WHICH IS COMING UP SOON,SO I HOPE IT WILL BE
RECIEVED IN A TIMELY MANNER.
I HAVE CONTACTED ONE OF THE ORGANIZATION CLIENT WHO IS
A DONOR ABOUT THIS TRANSACTION AND THE REASON WHY I AM
EMAILING YOU IS TO BRING TO YOUR AWARENESS THAT THE
TOTAL MONEY THAT WILL BE REMITTED INTO YOUR PAYPAL
ACCOUNT WILL BE $3500 AND AFTER THE REMITTATION,YOU
ARE TO DEDUCT THE SUM OF $340 WHICH IS THE TOTAL COST
OF YOUR ORDER AND HAS FOR THE REMAINING $3160,YOU
SHOULD SEND IT THROUGH WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER
WITH THE PAYMENT DETAILS I WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH.
I WOULD HAVE LOVED TO RECIEVE THE MONEY IN MY PAYPAL
ACCOUNT BUT ITS A PITY THAT THE ORGANIZATION DOES NOT
HAVE A PAYPAL ACCOUNT AND I STRONGLY DO BELIEVE THAT
YOU WILL NOT BETRAY THE TRUST THE ORGANIZATION HAS
GIVEN YOU.
PLS GET BACK TO ME TELLING ME THAT YOU WILL DO HAS I
HAVE SAID WITH THE FEAR OF GOD IN MIND.
PLS GET BACK TO ME SOON SO THE REMMITTATION CAN BE
MADE SOON BECAUSE THE ORDER IS NEEDED URGENTLY.
THANKS.
Case closed: it's a scam.
 

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It seems like these sorts of scams are usually requesting a much larger order (e.g. 200 items, not 20), so that's sort of a gray flag
I've seen the scams for any mutiple of items over 1 :) They rarely ask for just ONE item, but sometimes it's 10, sometimes it's 20, sometimes it's 2000.

Case closed: it's a scam.
Another good scam fighting technique. Communicate with the potential customer A LOT :) Ask questions. Get more details.

Glad you got to the bottom of things :)
 

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Rodney said:
I've seen the scams for any mutiple of items over 1 :) They rarely ask for just ONE item, but sometimes it's 10, sometimes it's 20, sometimes it's 2000.
Fair enough, good to know.

Rodney said:
Another good scam fighting technique. Communicate with the potential customer A LOT :) Ask questions. Get more details.
Definitely. Get information about their bank, company, etc.

If it's a scam their carefully built stack of blocks will do them no good when they accidentally drop the 4x1 block horizontally ;D


Indeed - that is probably the biggest red flag of all really, the whole 'send some money back to us' nonsense.
 

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I've been warned about these Nigerian orders from many forums and posting. Apparently, these scams are popping up all over the internet. MANY people are posting their horrible experience about such scams on various message boards and forums, not just here. The insecurity of doing business with this lead you have may not be worth all the worry and trouble. I'd let this one pass. Opportunity cost is just too expensive IMO.
 

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jdr8271 said:
Just set up a filter on your email. Any email with the word nigeria in it DELETE. Its always a scam. ALWAYS.
Not _quite_. I believe Rodney said (I think; someone here did anyway) that he has actually had one legitimate order from Nigeria before. Granted, this is hardly a large number, and ignoring all inquiries won't likely cost you much. But, it's not like all scammers are from Nigeria either. There are several in other countries, and not just Africa; plenty in Europe and Asia too.
 

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Not _quite_. I believe Rodney said (I think; someone here did anyway) that he has actually had one legitimate order from Nigeria before. Granted, this is hardly a large number, and ignoring all inquiries won't likely cost you much. But, it's not like all scammers are from Nigeria either.
I did have ONE legitimate order from Nigeria, but the original quote email didn't mention anything about nigeria. If it did, I probably would have deleted it and never looked back. I'm talking ONE email out of over 2000+ emails and 100+ scam TDD phone calls. Definitely not worth the odds.

It wasn't until we got the artwork and talked to the customer more did we realize that the final destination for the shirts was nigeria (we weren't shipping the order directly there). It was then (before we accepted the order) that we went into sherlock holmes mode and did days of research about the customer (actually located in the southern US) and background.

As bad as it sounds, I actually don't think it would be a bad practice to just delete all emails that say "nigeria".

I don't think Jon implied at all that all scammers are from Nigera or Africa, but his solution of just filtering out all emails that say nigeria might not be a bad thing.

Sometimes (as the original post above shows)the emails can be VERY tempting and sound sort of legitmate. I don't think it's worth the odds to try to determine if it's legitimate or not.

Even now, I would probably never ship an order to Nigeria.
 

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The filtering idea is cool and all, but i don't think the scammer will indicate they are from Nigeria right off the bat in the email. So these scams can still come through you email and bypass your filters. I'm not sure if you can trace their email's IP address if they are using a free account like yahoo mail or gmail. IP addresses are a good indicators if you can get a hold of them.
 

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Rodney, how big was the order from nigeria? It is very common for nigerian scammers to place small orders with american companies. The credit cards checkout, and the order goes through fine. then, a few months down the road, they place a massive order. The american company thinks everything is fine since they sold to the nigerian scammer before. They ship the goods right out after running the credit card. One week later, the credit card is charged back..

Never sell to nigeria. Delete every message that comes from nigeria. Many scammers also come from Russia.

Heres something else to avoid: If you ever recieve an email containing the words "Urgent" and "God" DELETE
 

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The filtering idea is cool and all, but i don't think the scammer will indicate they are from Nigeria right off the bat in the email. So these scams can still come through you email and bypass your filters. I'm not sure if you can trace their email's IP address if they are using a free account like yahoo mail or gmail. IP addresses are a good indicators if you can get a hold of them.
__________________
You can check their ips on yahoo and hotmail. Gmail does not send ip addresses, but these guys are too dumb to figure that out.

They go to internet cafes in nigeria. They almost always say they are from Nigeria right off the bat.
 

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i don't think the scammer will indicate they are from Nigeria right off the bat in the email
Surprisingly, most of them do. Specifically lagos nigeria.

Rodney, how big was the order from nigeria?
About 8000 printed shirts. Again, it wasn't actually "from" nigeria. The customer was in the Southern US, but the final destination was nigeria.

It is very common for nigerian scammers to place small orders with american companies. The credit cards checkout, and the order goes through fine. then, a few months down the road, they place a massive order. The american company thinks everything is fine since they sold to the nigerian scammer before. They ship the goods right out after running the credit card. One week later, the credit card is charged back..
I almost consider myself an expert on nigerian scam techniques, tricks, wording. I can spot it 50,000,425 miles away :)

This was several years ago. Everything checked out, it was an actual legit order. I stressed the whole time and for months afterwards. If I didn't actually talk to the customer on the phone myself, check out their references, know they were based in the US, I wouldn't have shipped the order.

Even today, I probably wouldn't ship the order. It just happened to be the right customer at the right time and it all checked out.

As I mentioned above, it's just not worth the risk.

Disclaimer: this is not to say that all nigerians are scammers or that all African or other countries where a lot of ecommerce fraud occurs are only filled with scammers. There are lots of scammers in the US as well, that are MUCH harder to detect. Just relating my experiences of the risks vs rewards of shipping to those areas and what to look for :)
 
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