WHILE auction houses are becoming more aware of the threat from credit card fraud, dealers should also take care over payments, a victim from Crawley, West Sussex has warned.
Geoffrey Dexter, whose firm Millais Antiques
specialise in antique arms and scientific instruments, was caught
out after his credit card terminal failed to pick up a fraudulent
He sold a c.1875 four-barrelled Derringer
pistol for £1100 in October last year to a buyer who gave details
over the phone. When he ran the credit card details through the
terminal it did not come up with any alert.
However, Mr Dexter later found out that the
address given - in Edgware, north London - was not that of the card
holder and found himself liable for the money.
He believes his credit card terminal had not
been updated, but the latest machines check the postcode of the
correct card holder and the first line of the correct delivery
address - which was not the spurious address supplied.
"Police investigations showed that the
address given was, in fact, an empty house," he toldATG. "If this
protection had been added to my terminal it is almost certain that
this item would not have been authorised for payment.
"After I was defrauded I was talking to the
Federation of Small Businesses and also other colleagues who have
more recently obtained terminals, and they were all quite horrified
when I said I didn't have this facility."
Mr Dexter said dealers who have obtained
such terminals more recently than him seem to have the postcode
check as standard, and he is now urging others to find out if they
have the latest machines. He has also complained to the Financial
"My item was delivered and signed for, and
the police have a copy of the signature. They traced the original
house owner who had been away about six weeks, and they were
squeaky clean. What seems to happen is these fraudsters stand at
the bottom of the garden, know roughly what time the special
delivery will come, and say 'Oh I'll sign for that now' as they
Face-to-face payment with ID is the best way
to reduce the risk, but that brings great inconvenience for buyers
and can lose you deals. However, Mr Dexter had a suggestion for
"If you feel you've got to do the deal on
the phone, get the person to scan a utility bill, if possible, and
send it to show that is the address with their name on it."
A spokesman for the UK Cards Association
confirmed that it is the retailer who pays the price when things go
wrong. "The very nature of card not present (CNP) transactions mean
there is no opportunity to physically check the card or the
physical identity of the cardholder, so the retailer is responsible
for ensuring that the customer is genuine," he said.
"Our best advice is that businesses make sure they understand
the risks and learn how best to protect their business from CNP
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