Fraudulent Activity Reported by Retailers

As we alerted the industry last week, there has been a spate in reports of fraudulent activity affecting local retailers online.

Following last week’s alert, we have had further reports that multiple retailers have received multiple attempts to purchase Yamaha brass and woodwind (saxophones) on their websites, using stolen AMEX card information. At least three Dealers have received attempted orders for Yamaha saxophones under the same name, Chris Norgate.

There have been no further reports on the news circulated last week about purchases from freight forwarders to S-E Asia. But to recap on that situation;

From the response to the AMA Industry E-lert last week the fraudulent purchase of high end instruments is perhaps more widespread than a few isolated instances.

Other retailers have contacted us, and advised they had been defrauded by orders from Aussie names, phone numbers & addresses, making it hard to tell that you are being defrauded until months later when the charge back comes through.

The following advice may be valuable.

The first flag is that rarely do Fender AM guitars sell through local retailers online stores

Phone numbers submitted were either mobiles that did not work or were VOIP numbers

Most of the names the orders were SE Asian

Sometimes orders placed had different names with the same shipping address

A low value refund would have been the next step to validate, i.e. a small amount is refunded to the credit card, the buyer needs to log into their internet banking to verify the amount and let the retailer know.

Although the IP addresses the orders were coming from were within Australia, the time zone of the computer making the purchase was not. The Operating System in use was Windows Vista which is also a flag that high end guitars are being purchased using an old computer.

And anecdotally…..

Have you ever seen ads while you’ve been surfing that say things like – Melbourne Mum makes $375 in 5 minutes? It may be that these are the ads that are getting people involved in shipping goods obtained with fraudulent cards. And, the freight forwarder is not aware they are involved in a scam.

The end buyer overseas engages this person to be a “shipping agent”. The goods are ordered using fraudulent details, shipped to local customer, the end buyer then pays for fast shipping with DHL etc also on stolen credit card details. Guitars disappear to Asia, never to be seen again, and no authorities in Australia seem to care, banks don’t care because they just charge the transaction back to the retailer, so retailer ends up out of pocket for the full amount, sometimes with dispute/chargeback fees on top. The police are not generally interested in isolated instances.

We will investigate this through the ARA and other partners to establish how widespread this may be in retail and how we may be able to alert the relevant authorities.