Being a business owner has certain advantages, but it also carries risks. Having started my own business is really something that I always wanted to do and although it includes a lot of long hours, stress and headache, it is definitely a decision that I have never regretted.
However, a couple of weeks ago I got a little nervous. We received an inquiry from a person who wanted to buy something from our site. It was a little strange from the start, because they wanted to buy an expensive item in large quantities. That was obviously great news, but the strange part was that they wanted it to be shipped to an orphanage in Africa and did not give us a lot of time to get so many items together. In fact they wanted to pick up the merchandise as soon as the next day.
Then it got stranger…they wanted us to use a specific shipping company saying they used them in the past and trusted them. We did some investigation and this alleged company did not have a website, phone number or a valid mailing address. We contacted them by email and received a reply 5 minutes later from the director of marketing. — Okay, how many of you have ever received an email within 5 min from a shipping or moving company and especially from their “director of marketing”!!!
After doing some more research we realized the address that we were supposed to ship to in Africa did not exist. At this point, armed with enough data, we decided to contact the bank who had issued the credit card used by this client. Because …. get this… they had sent us an email with all the important information such as credit card number, address, name etc …. not sure if the buyer had ever heard about protecting your credit card information and not send it through an email, but okay! The bank informed us that the credit card was not reported stolen yet. So they would block the card and notify the real owner.
After this whole ordeal I started to worry. What if they figured out that we were the ones that blocked the card? What if they decided to start harassing us or our families? It was suddenly a scary thought. There was no question about trying to help the person whose card had been ‘stolen’, but what if it was on the expense of our tranquility?
We ended sending them another mail stating that we were more than happy to provide the large quantity of items requested if they could send us a cashier’s check. This mail received a reply that was not very courteous but that was the last time we heard from this person.