Often times a vendor will sign up for an account and start placing orders into the account using fraudulent credit cards. If that frauder is really good, he knows how to mask his IP. Let's say all orders show as all U.K. or U.S. He will make the IP address match up to the billing address of that order. So this looks legitimate to us and we will start passing those first few orders. But after he gets a few orders in, he'll place an order that may connect to another order. That is when we will investigate a little bit deeper into the account and these orders and start checking the PC print; which basically is device identification.
We try and ID the device of each one of these sales. And often times we find the device placing all of these different sales is the same device. We then try and liken it up to the vendor. And that is when we often times will find that it's a possibility of money laundering. Last week we had a case where we were able to connect this vendor to an OFAC SND (Office of Foreign Asset Control's Specially Designated Nationals List). It is a list of names and aliases of known terrorists. We were able to link this vendor to that list and get them shut down before ever paying him.
What about counterfeiting or stolen items?
Is that an issue you see often? Yes, absolutely. That falls under our risk department. We are reviewing every account and reviewing the products and services they are selling. We see a lot of copyright issues; whether it's music or movies and people trying to sell movies or music. Or a vendor trying to sell Coach handbags where they don't have the approval of Coach, or Louis Vuitton is another big one. We do have a prohibited products list that contains things that a we can't sell because we dont have ownership of it or because in the past we have had fraud experiences.
We had a case a few years ago where a guy was selling computers for what appeared to be a good price. We contacted the customers and found that what was arriving was not computers. Inside the box was ripped up phone books. The vendor kept insisting on payment because the products had been shipped. But fortunately we were able to get in touch with the customers first and, of course, stop payment and refund their money.