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Welcome to the site!

The picture above shows the items that have been stolen from me and my shop and if you can take ten minutes and read this post and then pass it on to anyone you know that sells on-line or knows someone that does it would be appreciated. It's the only way to fight this!
On September 29th, I received an email from a person with a large list of items that they wanted to buy from my website.
"Whoo hoo" was my first thought — I am always excited when someone wants to place a large order!

In that email they asked these questions:
1. Do you have any discount policy for this order/best price?
2. Have the merchandise already in your warehouse?
3. Can you ship it by FedEx/UPS/DHL to my area (Singapore)?
4. What kind method of payment accepted?

This is normal — I get a similar email from somewhere in the world at least once a week. It was a large order so I will often give a small discount when someone is going to buy many items
(maybe not anymore though!)
I replied:

You can check out and select your ship method directly through the site. I use UPS or express post to Singapore so they will be sent with tracking. You can just let me know which service you prefer in the notes area when you place your order. I have many clients in Singapore so shipping there is no problem!

For a discount please enter the code — (I am removing it for this post as it is no longer valid)- when asked at checkout and it will deduct your order by 10%
Everything is here — these are all vintage and one of a kind, so yes your order will ship within 48 hours of payment!

The site takes Visa, MC or PayPal — you can choose which you prefer at checkout.

Welcome to the site!!
Within 24 hours, an order came through for five of the items from the original list of about ten. On the order the ship to and billing address were both filled out and matched. The charge was approved at first try. This is the person/company the order was from:
Zumvee Co. (duty free shop) c/o Christine Johnson 45 Airport CG Road Unit 306A D'NATA CG CENTRE SG 819478 Singapore Tel: 62140912 The email used for the order was: The IP address they used was:

(after the charge back I learned that the IP actually originated from Indonesia and NOT Singapore — I am sharing it because you can set your provider to block IPs as well as emails)

My error was not going to my credit card service provider website, logging in and checking that the address was a match to the card — it was not. Why didn't I? I did not even know where to find this info! I have never done this with an approved transaction since progressing from PayPal only payments to adding the ability to take Visa or MC to the site about 4 years ago.

When I asked my credit card service provider why it was approved in the first place, I was told that it is the merchants responsibility to check this and it is also not necessarily something that will cause a transaction to be declined.

Yes I realize that makes no sense but it is the way it is.
I did not know this information but it was my responsibility to know.
I was not told this information but it was my responsibility to ask.
Learn from my error! If you take credit cards or process payments on-line.
Get your ass onto the phone with your credit card service provider and ask them straight up — under what situation can I get screwed and how do I prevent it.

No one is going to call you and think — gee this person has never done this before and does not know that there are loop holes — I am going to call her and let her know.
You need to educate yourself as a retailer who sells on-line.

Bottom line #1
ASK for the information to protect yourself! Like as in TODAY — pick up the phone right now Bottom line #2
This person tried to buy more from me that very same day in a second, separate order and it was declined. I emailed them and told them to call their bank as sometimes if you try to process more then one transaction on-line in the same day with the same retailer, and being that we are in different countries, the credit card company will block it for both our safety and as a precaution — this happens all the time and usually a quick call to the bank will sort it out. This raised no red flag for me at all.
We exchanged several emails and again, everything seemed normal. She eventually said that she had called her bank and that they had told her that she did not have enough credit remaining on her card and that she would come back when she had topped the card up to buy more. She even expressed hope that one particular item would be available still as she loved it.
I sell luxury goods to women — this declining credit card thing happens ALL the time — a lot of people shop to their limit and have to wait to buy more. And banks do try to be cautious and block transactions to protect their clients all the time. Clients sometimes enter information wrong and the matches my security system looks for are all not matched so it declines — all the time. No red flag for any of these scenarios.
We had exchanged several emails like a zillion other transactions where this exact scenario plays out and it all seemed fine.
I want to emphasize the normalcy of it all because I am not a stupid girl — I don't feel like I can look back and see something significant that screamed — holy shit Cherie you are getting scammed - mayday mayday...
I packed up the order and sent it by Express International Post with the tracking EE105919040CA. I notified the person I thought was Christine and we exchanged several more emails about the package and when it would get there, etc. All normal. The package was delivered on Oct 8th, 2012. I then paid my consignors and thought nothing of it. Seamless transaction.
A couple of days after the package showed as being delivered, a slew of attempted charges comes through all from the email I am notified by my system when a charge is attempted and is declined. Most often a client has entered some wrong tidbit of information or as I mention above the bank is being protective and working in their best interest (and mine) — all simple fixes. I immediately email Christine with concern that she is having so much trouble. At this point I feel really bad and am worried about losing a great, new client. I get no reply and no more attempts are made. I look at the transaction notifications closer because now my spidey sense is going off, and realize that although they all have the same email origin, they are all different names and repeated attempts of these same group of names. Later I realized they are different credit card numbers as well but that is way later when I learn where to look for that type of information.
The names that were used were:
Christine Johnson (again) Ray Askins Melissa Hanson Lisa Howard Linda Larson
I feel sick that I was the every helpful merchant trying to help this person steal from me. It makes me more sick that they knew what they were doing and even though they were speaking with me they kept up the charade. And then came back for more since they probably thought I was an easy mark.
On October 15th, I received word that I had a charge back for $2180 (plus a $25 administration charge to process getting the money back from me — thank you very much for that little extra sick humor Universe — haha — now go play with someone else please!
There is no recourse for me to get that money back. I am out of pocket for that amount, plus the discount on the original sale that I had given my shiny new client, as a reward for placing a large order, plus I paid my consignors what I owed them for the sales, plus the $120 in postage to send those items to the thief and on top of that the behind the scenes costs to list the items and have them cleaned, plus all the other costs and overhead in getting those items to the point where they can be listed for sale on the site. Plus there is an extra, extra, layer of security checks that I now will have my web developer add to my system so this does not happen again and that is also going to cost me money.
All in all I think I am out of pocket on this little adventure on international thievery about $4200-4800US at the very least when it is all said and done.
It is a very expensive lesson and I am sharing it with you so that you know that that even a small time retailer like me can get hit by big time thieves.
Please send a link to this post to anyone you know that sells online or anyone who knows anyone who does. AND If you see any of the five pieces pictured above, for sale on any auction site or elsewhere, please report it and reference this blog post.
It makes me sick that I have no recourse to get back my money or my goods either — they do not deserve to have landed in the hands of people like that. My credit card service provider is on my side but I will still not get my money back — they are as powerless as I am and the thieves will obviously not have a change of heart and send back the goods. I am an honest person and paid my consignor's the money owed to them. In a sea of dishonesty, you can only hold your own head afloat and do the right thing. I am not going to screw other people because I have been screwed.
I will be more adamant about protecting myself in the future and I apologize if that means checking out items is a bit more stringent for my clients — it is the way things must be to prevent this type of situation. We all suffer a little more. I prefer to act from a place where the assumption of people's basic honesty is the start point, but sadly, that is not always the case. The consequences are that it changes things for everyone. I am a pretty smart cookie and never ship without tracking, have a solid security and check-out system in place and am diligent about communication with clients.
It still happened to me.
I count myself lucky that it is the very first time after many years of no problems and that it was not for a lot more.
I am still pissed off as hell but the only recourse I have is to tell my story and tell it as publicly as I can. The only way to get revenge is to spread the word and spread it far and wide. Please help me to do that and block these people from stealing from more dealers and small business owners.

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Thank you and if this happened to you to feel free to add more names and IPs in the comments!
Still believing in the power of the greater good xxx cherie

UPDATE: On October 23rd I received this email and am piblishing it so you can all watch for this one too — this one is FAR more transparent that it is a fraud. I wish I had gotten this one first!:
name: Xavier Morin
subject: Sales
text: Dear Sales,

I came upon your product and would like to make an inquiry on your stock and availability also let me know your terms in regard discount on large order.

Also advice if you could ship via UPS/USPS Express service and FEDEX. And confirm if you have terminal to merchant our credit card payment for Visa and Master card.

Look forward to your quick response.

Best regards,

Rue 26 F, Zone 4
City: Abidjan
Country: cote d’Ivoire
Tel: 22567561012
76c4171edf3824093716e6afebc149ec: 1

art, BEST, Christine Johnson, dress, fashion, indonesia, internet credit card fraud, Linda Larson, Lisa Howard, love, Melissa Hanson, Ray Askins, and more:

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