Local businesses beware of email order scams, Better Business Bureau warns

Credit: MGN

Better Business Bureau Serving Acadiana is warning local businesses to order scams involving credit card scams by way of fake purchase orders.

One local flooring business owner recently called BBB inquiring about a suspicious email he received for an order of premium flooring to be shipped out of the country.

The international scams involve pressuring a transaction as quickly as possible before the business owner catches on to the scheme.

These sudden, unexpected emails for international orders are usually scams where fake consumers or businesses pay with stolen credit cards.

The payment may clear immediately, but is usually retracted later by the card company after they realize the card was stolen. Of course, the seller is left without the merchandise that has already shipped.

To avoid phony purchase orders, BBB advises business owners and purchasing agents to:

  • Watch out for unusually large orders. Scammers often target smaller businesses and place large orders, hoping the chance of profit overrides their victims’ judgment. Large orders – particularly from new customers – are often a red flag.
  • Be leery of email-only solicitations. Many scams have roots overseas. Watch out for situations where email is the only form of contact. Also, be on the lookout for misspellings and grammatical errors in solicitations you receive.
  • Do your research. Visit bbb.org to research businesses looking to do business with you. Keep in mind that business identity theft is a growing issue. Fraudsters often impersonate legitimate businesses in the hopes of defrauding unsuspecting businesses.
  • Confirm everything. If you receive an order from a potential new customer, even a business with an established track record, it is a good idea to verify the order directly with the company. Make sure you are using accurate contact information and do not just use the phone number on the purchase order you have received.
  • Trust your instincts. A business owner who received a fake purchase order recently said the size of the order raised a red flag. So did the fact that they were not asked for a competitive bid. BBB regularly hears from business owners who state they ‘just knew something was wrong,’ but failed to heed that instinct. If something seems off to you, pay close attention to that feeling.
  • Have a process in place. When it comes to handling orders, make sure you have a reliable system in place to vet and verify those orders, and that all of your staff are fully trained to follow this process.

Please contact Better Business Bureau at (337) 981-3497 24 or bbb.org 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America. Consumers can also sign up for our free BBB “Scoop” eNewsletter by visiting bbb.org and clicking on the “Programs & Services” tab.

BBB Serving Acadiana covers the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.



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