Most consumers do not check their credit card or bank account transactions regularly. Even with the capability of accessing this information remotely from their own home computers or cellphones, many in Georgia will simply pay their credit card bills without a thought or assume they have a general idea of the balance in their checking accounts. Fraudsters can take advantage of this, sometimes using someone else’s account for months before the consumer discovers the theft.
If you have recently reported a discrepancy on your bank or credit card statement, you may be surprised to learn that you may also be the subject of an investigation when authorities look into the matter. In fact, investigators may suspect you of committing one of several types of e-commerce fraud.
Intentional fraud or honest mistake?
E-commerce includes any purchase or transaction you make electronically, such as buying items from Amazon, paying your credit card bill or selling items on eBay. Many people enjoy the anonymity of shopping electronically, but there are downsides. For example, without the face-to-face interaction with you, a sales clerk or other recipient may have no way of verifying that the user has the authorization to make the transaction.
Another drawback to buying online is that you may not get what you think you ordered, and this may mean seeking a refund. If this happens often or with expensive items, creditors may suspect you of chargeback fraud. This type of fraud occurs when consumers seek refunds for items they have purchased, but they keep the items anyway. Some elements of this type of fraud may include:
- Intentionally buying items with the goal of getting them free after obtaining a chargeback
- Regretting a purchase because of the cost or other reasons and seeking a chargeback by claiming they never received the item or the item was damaged
- Seeking chargebacks on items in order to lower the balance on their credit cards
- Claiming they did not order items they received, either because they legitimately forgot about the order or because they don’t want to pay for the item
It is also possible that investigators may suspect you of chargeback fraud when you seek a refund for items someone purchased through the unauthorized use of your card. However, if you request chargebacks frequently, merchants may alert authorities. If you should find yourself facing accusations of e-commerce fraud, you would be wise to obtain legal counsel as quickly as possible. Chances are that investigators have been examining your purchase history for some time, and building a strong defense may be crucial to your future.