There is an old saying “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”. This brings to mind an inquiry I had from a member in the auto parts industry. The member called me after receiving an order from outside of Canada asking for a large order of parts to be drop shipped to Mongolia. The buyer had requested to pay for the order with three separate credit cards. Understandably, the member was too excited about the size of the order and the dollar figure associated with the sale to think in a sufficiently rational and pragmatic way.
I had to tell the member not to engage with the purchaser on the order. This is a scam I have heard about many times before, and usually after the member has already lost a lot of money, and the equivalent in inventory as well. Having an order delivered to a third party is a typically fraudulent move, and paying with three separate credit cards is no less common a ruse. In almost every case I have ever heard of, the credit card charges are charged back to the issuing credit card provider. The vendor is not only left with a big hole in their bank account but with just as many goods missing from their inventory as well. While this particular member was not all that happy with what I told him, he had just been saved over $100,000.00.
So beware, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. At the very least, it warrants a second thought.
Fraud is a serious concern for Canada’s small business owners. In fact, one in five has been a victim of fraud in the last year. And the threat is not going away. As part of Fraud Awareness Month, we invited our Business Counsellors and others to share some cautionary tales about common scams and to provide tips on how our members can further protect their businesses.