We’ve had several booksellers let us know of suspicious customer inquiries about listings on Biblio.com. In at least two of the cases we know of, the text used by the customer is identical:
“Hi, I would like to ask you a question regarding this item. Can you get back to me with the last asking price and the cost of shipping the item to Hawaii. I am looking forward to reading from you.”
The customer subsequently asks to complete the order directly by paying the bookseller by check.
We highly encourage booksellers to approach similar inquiries with extreme caution. While many legitimate customers prefer to pay by check, there have been many instances of scams involving checks.
A few things to consider when evaluating fraud potentials on DealerDirect payment orders:
- The customer is trying to avoid Biblio’s checkout. Biblio employs a fraud prevention system to detect potential fraud. A fraudster may try to avoid detection by contacting booksellers directly, circumventing the fraud protection systems in Biblio’s checkout.
- The customer’s inquiry is non-specific. Vague wording asking about ‘the item’ or ‘this book’ can be a tip-off that the person making the inquiry has no actual interest, or even knowledge, about the title they are asking about.
A few notes about check payments.
- Make sure you know that the funds are secure before shipping any items of value.Your bank may credit your account for a check deposited well before the check has actually been verified. Booksellers falling victim to check fraud may have shipped a book, and even sent money for overpayment to a fraudster well before they are notified by their bank that the check they deposited has been returned.
- Never accept third party checks. Your customer should be able to write a check on their own account. Third party checks may be stolen, or written on an inactive bank account.
- Be skeptical about offers for more than you are asking. Fraudsters may try to entice you to fulfill an order against your better judgment by offering you a fee for your trouble. Most legitimate customers are willing to pay a fair price, but don’t typically offer more than the asking price.
Thanks to those of you who notified us about this issue early on. Please keep letting us know about any fraud potential. Any information you share with us may well help protect the entire Biblio bookselling community. Also, remember that asking your customers to use Biblio’s check out will allow our fraud prevention systems to do their work.