Watch For Scam Artists

mailbox-2This week we received an email from someone claiming they wanted to order some of our products and asked if we accept “Mastercard/Visa” payments and would be willing to ship to the Netherlands. This turned out to be a scam email and we have since marked each request as spam. We answered the initial email as it came through our CONTACT US form and stated that we would be shipping through the U.S. Postal Service and payments were processed through Paypal. We received a reply asking for an estimate of charges for multiples of items not only listed in our Custom Order pages available on this website but multiples of orders we have listed on Etsy. As a handcraft artist I was very excited to be asked for such a large order and started looking for the materials needed to complete the orders and the costs to make so many of the items requested.

Then I put their address into a search engine and looked on Google Maps for the street view of that address. Turns out it was a warehouse district, the person used a gmail account and wanted the total WITHOUT the shipping charges. Also, the multiple items they ordered using the titles from our Etsy store were unusual. After looking further I discovered that the address listed in the email was listed on a scam report website. Apparently, there are individuals on the web who solicit orders from small companies, charge the order on a stolen credit card and request that the seller use their freight company. The freight company then requests the seller pay a large fee for shipping and by the time your bank finds out that the credit card was stolen you are stuck with the fees for the charge back, the inventory you have created and various other problems as well.

We are so bummed about it but are thankful that I looked more deeply into the request, the person asking for the order and the wording of the order. It seems this is pretty prevalent all over the world and a real heartbreaking experience for us small business people. So, if something sounds too good to be true, then it probable is. And from now on I will only accept Custom Orders from U.S. addresses and continue to use Paypal to process all my payments. It’s not that I wouldn’t like to be a wholesaler for some boutique somewhere but keep your wits about you and use a little common sense when dealing with these types of things. At least they have a very good Fraud division and will assist their customers with any problems when payments are processed through them. They product your customers as well. Also, I will continue to list more items on Amazon Handmade and Etsy and gladly pay their fees for each transaction. It beats the alternative.

Stay aware my fellow handcraft artists!

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BUYING SOUTHERN WOMEN HANDCRAFTED ITEMS ONLINE

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Southern Women Crafts on Amazon Handmade

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