This is the third article in a series regarding fraudulent ads on Facebook sending consumer victims to bogus Shopify stores designed to obtain credit card information in order to cheat people. In the first two articles, I describe the process of cheating people using Facebook’s willingness to allow fraudsters to advertise on its site, along with Shopify allowing fake companies to create shopping sites to create fraudulent sales. Plus “fake” mailings to provide the credit card system a tracking/delivery number that the credit card companies don’t appear to care if they have any relation to the actual item sent.
The worse thing about this scam is they’re not very good at it, meaning it’s only a matter of time before the scammers get much better (in ways I’m not going to publicly show them how), and get even more victims and stolen money.
You can read the first two articles by clicking one of the following links:
After sending in the information requested to Capital One, I received a follow up letter. Two things are clear by the letter received. The payment processors involved are not taking any real time or effort to resolve the issue based on the documents, and secondly the ability to dispute fraudulent charges have greatly eroded over the last few years.
It appears to me that merchants, who have taken it on the chin with fraud, have fought back and managed to get a lot more rules put into place since my days as a mail order company. Part of the problem that’s being exploited I think is that the rules are different for reporting a “dispute” vs. reporting outright fraud. Even then, and maybe regardless, the criminals attempting to defraud me have a great thing going until they’re shut down. With any luck, I will hasten the process of them not being able to cheat more people.
Here’s what the letter says:
Dear Robert Weinstein,
Here’s an update about a transaction on your account from WEFHGBOW.BEST billed on 8/11/2019 for $177.00
We received your response to a letter we sent you on 9/17/2019 that requested additional information to support your dispute. We credited your account for $177 but we’ll need more documentation to continue our investigation. If we do not receive this requested information by 11/06/2019, we may charge $177 back to your account and consier your case closed.
Please provide: Your response to the documentation sent in by the merchant, as well as A copy of your sales invoice or purchase agreement / contract, and information and/ or evidence to support how the merchandise ordered differs from what was received.
A second opinion on company letterhead from another merchant in the same field stating specifically what the original merchant did incorrectly, how the problem can be corrected, and what that will cost.
A statement that includes the number of times the merchant tried to correct the problem, and a description of how you tried to resolve the dispute with the merchant.If you returned the installed parts, please provide the date and proof of return or the date they were made available for pick-up. If the merchant gave you a refund voucher, please provide that as well.
If you have any questions, please give us a call at 1-800-887-8643. We’re available from 7 AM to 1 AM ET, seven days a week.
Transaction Support Center
So, assuming you’ve read all three posts, it’s clearly a case of the criminals being regarded as genuine merchants when in fact they’re simply a criminal enterprise that has figured out how to game the merchant / credit card holder dispute process. My guess is there’s a super-big number of people who give up in frustration. Doesn’t seem right, albeit I’m still working through the process, so maybe I need to give it more time.
Also, in the last few days I’ve had people ask me about how to get your money back. I was surprised to learn how many people pay using PayPal and fund their PayPal account using a checking or savings account. Never never never use a bank account, and always use a credit card. The reason is pretty simple, PayPal my deny your dispute request and leave you holding the bag, albeit if you paid for the item using a credit card to fund PayPal, you can still have another kick at the can using the credit card dispute process.
One lady told me that the item wasn’t even delivered to her house, albeit to another, and even that wasn’t enough for PayPal to say anything other than “too bad’ according to her.
I called Capital One at the number I was provided in the letter. It took three phone calls to learn nothing seems to be happening, and the letter Capital One sent to me was a standard form letter. The first two representatives sounded as if they live in Asia, Southern Asia to be exact. Each time I called I was asked for my phone number in case we were disconnected. I’m not sure if I was hung up on after being on hold, or the line simply was accidentally disconnected. After waiting for a call back for a couple of hours, I called again. I can’t say with any certainty, however, I believe after about 40 minutes on the phone the representative simply hung up on me. I wasn’t rude, I just wanted answers and for her to understand it was a fraudulent transaction.
Her statements and questions, as well as her lack of understanding made it clear she wasn’t highly trained, nor did she demonstrate to me that she considered the transaction to be anything other than a misunderstanding between myself and the merchant, with the likely case as it was my fault for the transaction. It’s no wonder that the scam continues.
I’m pretty sure the second call resulted in her hanging up on me. There was too much of a language barrier and she didn’t demonstrate she knew what an outdoor storage shed was. It’s kinda hard to explain an item that weighs well over 100 pounds can’t arrive in a package weighing less than 1/10th of a pound when the person doesn’t know what a storage shed is, or perhaps weights based on pounds.
My third call resulted in receiving a transfer to an American and I explained everything and it appeared he “got it,” or decided to say he did. He didn’t give me any confidence I was going to win. I found that fact to be crazy, after all, how does some people in China create a fraudulent scheme to charge people over a hundred dollars for an item weighing over 100 pounds and send an envelope and somehow the third-party payment processors are ok with this. It’s not even in the card processors’ best interest because if this happens enough, and by all accounts this will increase because it’s so profitable, small startup businesses will really suffer because people will not be willing to trust merchants. Furthermore, Shopify is going to get its face ripped off if people stop shopping from its vendors out of fear they’re going to get money stolen. The fact Shopify doesn’t appear to have any trust system in place with its vendors is troubling and investors should consider the downside potential if fraud becomes a more significant problem.
I’ll follow up when the next update is available.