Online Fraud Part 2

This week I decided that enough was enough and that it was time for me to talk openly about online credit card fraud and the rather bizarre attitude that the police and card issuing companies seem to have towards it.

As you may or may not know, the Refresh Cartridges website is my primary source of income and it is this income source that I use to put a roof over my head and food on our table; as such I can get very protective.Earlier this week we had a number of people come on to the site and use card details which we later found to be fraudulent.At the time, the amounts weren’t exceptionally large and so being a company that sends out hundreds of cartridges on a daily basis we did the basic checks, thought nothing more of it and sent the goods.

I’d approximate that around £600 worth of goods went out the door over multiple orders and naturally you’d have thought that this would have been something that the police might have been interested in, surely?After all, if someone came in to the shop, stole over half a grand from the till then went as far as leaving me their address (remember, the online fraudsters provided us with a delivery address), I’m fairly confident that they’d be soon knocking on his door.

Instead, and rather bizarrely the police won’t even allow a merchant such as us to report card fraud to them anymore as they say it is simply too widespread for them to deal with.I find this attitude particularly interesting; surely if a problem is particularly widespread then as a police force you would want to do exactly the opposite of ignoring it in the hope that it’ll simply go away?To make a rather absurd analogy, let’s assume that illegal gun ownership becomes widespread in this area; would Devon and Cornwall constabulary then not allow me to report that I’ve just seen a man walking down the road with an AK47?

It would appear that ignoring the problem is having the predicted effect; apparently credit card fraud is the fastest growing form of organised crime and in 2007 it increased 44%.I have even seen a website just recently that sells stolen credit card numbers quite openly for the bargain price of $10 a card; you even get a discount if you buy in bulk.

This left me wondering quite why the police don’t seem to really care about the problem and I could only summarise that the reason is that individuals aren’t really affected.If someone has their credit card stolen they are completely protected; the card owner will report their card stolen, they will be refunded and the money will then be taken straight back out of the bank account of the company that sent the products in good faith.

Most people assume that in an instance of credit card fraud, the banks are the ones that cover the cost but unfortunately it is the companies and their staff that bear the brunt.To add insult to injury they are often charged an additional £25 per fraudulent transaction by the merchant bankers for ‘administration’, effectively leaving the banking corporations in profit.

It is clear that as a business we are targeted as the goods we sell can be high value and are easily resalable.Give one guy a hundred stolen credit card numbers, thousands of different Internet companies to buy off and in a couple of days he could have tens of thousands of pounds of stolen goods to resell.

It is a sad fact the 90% of the addresses given are in London and that every fraudster that I’ve spoken to so far (yes, I do occasionally call them) has been a young male with a foreign accent.I’m not going to join the dots for you but with the government currently so cautious about the incomes of such demographics, you wouldn’t have thought they would be casually ignoring this form of organised crime.



About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.