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SHOPPING: A sad but true story - Credit Card fraud with PPCW.Net i-Mate devices
Posted by Arne Hess - on Tuesday, 03.02.04 - 16:43:08 CET under 06 - Site News - Viewed 9945x
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Okay, never thought it would happens to me but it recently does. Call me dumb or naive but well - I'm not a shop at all but just a community site which wanted to provide a service for its readers.
As you know I accept PayPal or money transfer for PPCW.Net i-Mate orders only and one reason to accept PayPal but not Credit Cards directly was my fear of Credit Card fraud while I thought PayPal is clever enough to handle this for me; but by no means!

A couple of weeks ago I received an order form "the US" with a delivery address in "Far East" and I was almost ready to ship the device to the recipient. However, before FedEx picked it up I got an E-Mail from PayPal to hold deliveries back because something seems to be weird with the payment and the result of it was: fraud! So luckily I haven't shipped the device and haven't lost anything.
Than - two weeks ago I got another order from "the US" with delivery address in "South East Asia". However, neither the name of the person who ordered the i-Mate nor the name of the recipient comply with the PayPal account name and therefore I've contacted PayPal customer to make sure he really ordered the device or at least he is aware of the payment. The result in this case: fraud. The person never ordered from me nor knew PPCW.Net.
So far so good - also that time I haven't shipped anything! :-)

Today I received an E-Mail from PayPal about payments - made before the first fraud above and the result: these orders (from late November and December) were fraud also! 8O But as you can imagine - November and December orders are already shipped and yes, PayPal refund the money from my account while I already shipped the devices and therefore I'm the looser. No devices, no money, but the bills to pay for (the i-Mates and FedEx shipping). 8O

Well, it really hurts me because some of the devices (i-Mate Phone Editions) were shipped to folks out there who haven't paid for it :evil: while others wanted to buy one when it was sold out within a couple of minutes :roll: you remember? So this thieves hurts me as much as you! :evil:
Also I just had a chat with some other folks from online shops and the feedback I got was more or less "welcome to the club" - good to know I'm not alone but it doesn't makes me feel better at all!

Anyway - because of all the stuff happened above, I have to change the way I'm selling the PPCW.Net i-Mates:

  • I'm not accepting different countries for the customer and delivery address anymore.
  • I'm not selling anymore through PayPal to the Philippines, Indonesia or China (expect for money transfer prior shipping).
  • I will keep the right to reject every order without given reasons.
  • I will keep the right to contact PayPal and PayPal account holders prior shipping to verify they are informed about the order and to prove the Credit Card.
  • I will keep the right to ask customers for a prove of authentication (ID card or Passport only) by fax.

I'm really sorry for all the hassle but it affects you as well as me because next time it might be your Credit Card and still my devices and money!

Cheers ~ Arne


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Posted by Neil on 03.02.04 - 16:58:28

F~ck, those bloody bastards! Sorry to hear! Anything we can do for you?

Your contribution and service is really appreciated and this hurts me, as a customer also! :-(


Posted by Ed Taylor on 03.02.04 - 18:22:32


Sorry to hear about your troubles. I was one of those guys that could not get the device from you early on, twice this happened to me. The first time was very upsetting because I had watched your site carefully for a month. What also upset me was that I believe people ordered many devices so that they could turn around and sell them on ebay, which to me seemed unfair. Not that they were selling them, but that people who were looking for personal use were left in the cold.

Regarding your issue, I'm always amazed at the level people will go for theivery. Very sad.

Posted by Arne Hess on 03.02.04 - 19:44:49

@Neil: Thanks, but there is nothing you can do... Except of buying your software for your Pocket PC and Smartphone through the affiliate links from ( or ( ;-)

@Ed Taylor: You can be sure that everybody received one device only - even if some people ordered more than one (Hehehe... There was even one GSM carrier who had 4 devices in his basked ;-)) but I sold one device per customer only.

Back to the topic - I always wonder if there are fraud mailing lists out there like "hey, there is a new shop you can rip-off". Otherwise I don't know how they found me since my site isn't that well known - compared to the mass of Internet sites out there... So how they find such a dedicated site!?

Posted by smittyofdhs on 03.02.04 - 22:04:30

@arne: that was my exact question.. "how did the find us?". We run trade publication webstites and we used to sell retail books that were associated with our trade pubs. We had a full store running and would have to deal with "charge backs" from some thieves out of Nigeria. Every single day for about 2 years they would try to buy books with stolen credit card numbers. These guys even had some sort of CC# generator, we could tell this because of the sequence of card numbers being used every day. Anyways, after too many charge backs our bank shut down our processing. We had to find a new bank to process the CCs from the store. Bottom line: if you put a store up on the internet, you run the risk of getting cheated. It's an ugly world we live in now. Thankfully, our company decided to finally shut the store down becuase it wasn't profitable. That takes the security risks off my shoulders now....whew!

Posted by Michael on 03.02.04 - 22:26:23

I am really sorry that you have been a victim, especially because of your entushiasm and helpfullnes to all of us.

Many credit card companies refuse to approve transactions if the shipping and billing address is not the same.

I would probably enforce two policies:

1. Shipping to billing address only

2. Shipping to people with proper e-mail adresses - no hotmail accounts etc. If you can afford an i-Mate, you should be able to sign up with a proper service provider. Most people conducting fraud will probably use a free account which will be shut down after the deal.

Possible also ask for a phone number to confirm delivery.

Good luck in the future

Do you sell the thumb keyboard, buying from you could add a (very) small amount of revenue back in your basket.



Posted by Bert M.P. Jansen on 03.02.04 - 23:09:28

Hello Arne,  I am really sorry that this kinds of things happens to you! I don't understand that only you have to pay for it. Is PayPal not responsible for tracking the right information? If so, is there no better ( reliable) institute that can handle your orders and the payments?  Regards, Bert M.P. Jansen

Posted by Matt P. on 03.02.04 - 23:19:42

Hi Arne,  Sorry to hear about the fraud.  I almost learned the same lesson the hard way, thinking that PayPal would be safe and do all the credit card checking etc.  The long and short of it is that I will never use PayPal again for anything vaguely pricey, in fact check out some of the risks you bear here:

Regards, Matt

Posted by Ed Taylor on 04.02.04 - 00:01:23

Arne, Thanks for setting me straight, that makes me feel better about the first two go arounds with your sales. Sorry for off topic.

I think that the safe guards you mention should greatly limit your risks. I know that many ebay sellers will not ship to the countries that you have listed. Obviously they have been scammed as well.

The human race has a very dark side. As we advance in technology there are those that use the technology for ill purposes, from simple thievery to viruses. If it comes as any comfort, you can be assured that we do not get away with anything, "What we do in this life echoes for eternity"


Posted by Arne Hess on 04.02.04 - 03:06:40

Sad but true...

Here in South East Asia, where numerous large Credit Card companies exist... laws against Credit Card fraud are not being upheld by the law or the authorities simply being incompetent about their jobs...

Handango is an example of one of the victims of Credit Card fraud... and South East Asians, a victim of such instances too... They have blocked countries such as the Philippines or at least... unless sufficient data is transmitted to them to verify the validity of the card, no transaction will be processed.

Arne, I'm really sorry to hear that.


Posted by Chris Paulin on 04.02.04 - 03:34:09

Sad to here that... I hope everything will be better in the future. God will bring it all back to you... seven folds.

Posted by Dale Reeck on 04.02.04 - 04:05:24

Recently, I sold a lot of my old electronic stuff (old PDA's, cameras etc) via eBay. I upgraded my main video camera and sold my Canon XL-1 DV camera for $2,500 to a realtor via eBay. But the number of emails I got from Indonesia requesting use of a credit card (because Paypal won't take them) was incredible. Most of them offered to pay double of what I was asking to do the transaction. Obviously, I didn't bite and its unfortunate too for legitimate buyers from Asia. But I received about a dozen suspicious emails over 7 days just for my camera. About 20 overall for the stuff I sold. I can just imagine the number of emails from Asia that are fraudulent for all products sold on places like eBay. Now, my eBay payment screen actually says that I don't accept buyers from Indonesia. I never did get an offer from the Philippines or another Asian country.

Also, I've heard it from others that Paypal won't do a thing to help you. They just take the money back without asking or warning. I always immediately withdraw all funds to my personal bank account, where I believe they are safe from Paypal's itchy fingers. I believe there are some similar Paypal vendors that have protection against fraud for users and many have gone with them and have told Paypal to bugger off.

Posted by Heinz Burkart on 04.02.04 - 08:47:36

Hi Arne,

I'm really sorry to hear about this.

My first reaction was, to shut down my account at Paypal. I think, as long as Paypal charges you for their service they are responsible for the transaction. Or why are they getting money for?


Posted by Jacob Saaby Nielsen on 04.02.04 - 08:49:48

Arne, it's understandable that you make a change of rules, I'm sure everyone understands. Good luck with nailing those bastards.

Posted by Filip Norrgård on 04.02.04 - 09:17:03

Hi Arne,

That's very sad to hear. Let's hope that what comes around goes around for those bastards.

As for PayPal, they should get their act together! What kind of so called service is that?<img src="

Oh well, I'll do some additional banner clicking to support your website meanwhile... wink *hint* Others can join in too! smile

Posted by Howard Shortt on 04.02.04 - 12:57:16

Hi Arne,

Do not feel required to hide the names of the people to whom the devices shipped and defrauded you.  Publish these names so that other sellers (I sell things on EBay) can also know who to look out for.  People like this unfortunately ruin the good community feelings.  You are right to change your policy, an honest and willing buyer will be happy to provide you with any information you need.


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