South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, along with the South Dakota Retailers Association, is alerting businesses to be on the lookout for a credit card scam which is impacting the state.
Multiple South Dakota businesses have been contacted by out-of-state entities looking to purchase goods. The orders initially appear to be legitimate, but scammers are attempting to pay with fraudulent or stolen credit cards.
“In today’s world, with online sales and directories, it is easy for anyone to find your business,” said Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. “That’s why it’s important to be diligent with email or phone transactions, especially with out-of-state or unknown clients.”
Cammack Ranch Supply, in Union Center, was a recent target. The ranch supply business received what appeared to be a large order from an out-of-state purchaser, to be paid by credit card. The scammer possessed the credit card number, expiration date, and three-digit security code and the transaction initially did not appear suspicious.
Suspicions were raised when it came time for delivery and calls to the would-be purchaser’s phone were answered by a minor child. The delivery driver, who was unconnected with the scammers, was also expecting payment by the same credit card. The owners called law enforcement and determined the transaction was fraudulent and the credit card stolen.
“Some scam artists see people from small town South Dakota as easy targets,” said owner Gary Cammack. “But luckily, being from a rural area gives us a really good feel for the industry and we were able to spot something that didn’t feel quite right.”
The South Dakota Attorney General’s office has been working with the South Dakota Retailers Association to help identify similar scams and track down the scam artists involved.
Some common traits for this credit card scam include:
– The order is placed from a location outside of South Dakota and the surrounding region.
– The credit card used to purchase the item has an out of state address, different from the location of the purchaser.
– The billing address and the shipping address are different.
– The orders require long-distance shipping.
– The order is scheduled to be picked up by a delivery service or contract driver, selected by the purchaser.
“Identifying the practices used during these fraudulent transactions is a public service for area businesses,” said Retailers Association Executive Director Nathan Sanderson. “By publicizing these harmful actions, we hope to inform the business owners in our state and demonstrate that South Dakota is watching.”
Businesses are reminded to ensure the legitimacy of emailed orders, especially if it is a new customer. If in doubt, verify the identity of the purchaser before proceeding or contact the credit card company to confirm the information on the card and that it has not been stolen. Extra caution should be exercised for out-of-state orders, especially if payment is coming from a different entity.
If you believe you have been the target of a scam, report the fraudulent information to the Attorney General’s consumer protection division at www.consumer.sd.gov or 1-800-300-1986.