Scam costs Nampa store thousands of dollars

Posted at 10:54 PM, Dec 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-16 00:54:39-05

Thomas Duncan is about as hard of a worker you’ll find.  His Canyon West Guitar store may be small but he makes up for it in customer service and now he’s out thousands of dollars after what started out as a routine online order for a guitar.

“Instinctively my first thought was, ‘Great, I sold the guitar,’ and then as soon as I saw the red flag I got really worried,” Duncan said.

That red flag came from the company he hired to take care of his credit card transactions.

“I filed the chargeback reply through Shopify and they declined it, they ruled in favor of the other party, I don’t know they wouldn’t give me any further information other than I lost the chargeback case,” Duncan said.

Chargeback fraud occurs when a consumer makes an online purchase with their own credit card and then cancels the order and request a chargeback from the issuing bank.  Once it’s approved, the consumer receives a refund, money that comes from the seller’s account.

“It’s a compelling story, especially for a small business owner, and for Thomas to actually experience the things he’s gone through,” said Les Lake, a fraud examiner who’s seen it all when it comes to credit card fraud.

“The scheme could be to take advantage of small business owners who are doing business online.  They’ve got nothing to lose, they’ll put a couple hours into it at most and yet they may do this do this a thousand different times,” Lake said.

Lake conducts seminars for business owners to avoid these types of scams is brutally honest about this case.

“I’m just being blunt, you’ve lost over $5,000 on a $500 deal.”

Duncan isn’t done fighting.

“I think one of the biggest lessons for me is there’s always a new way to get around the system and if a scammer really has in mind he’s going to do his very best to get your money.’

Fortunately, there is a happy ending at least for the guitar that was involved in this fraudulent order.

“The guitar is going to be unwrapped Christmas morning by a delightful little nine-year-old girl,” Duncan said.  “I sold it on Black Friday.”