FBI Portland
Beth Anne Steele
(503) 460-8099
August 22, 2017

FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Reshipping Scams

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week, building a digital defense against cyber shoplifters.

What is a cyber shoplifter? This scam, also called a “reshipping” scam, involves fraudsters who use stolen credit cards to buy items—usually expensive items—online. Instead of having the items shipped to the billing address, the fraudster sends them to what’s called a “re-shipper". At the “re-shipper” location, the items are repackaged and usually sent overseas. There, they can often be sold at a high price on the black market.

The victim business is typically unaware that anything is wrong until the credit card company dings the business for the fraudulent charge in an attempt to re-coup the money. At that point, the business has lost both the merchandise and the money it thought it had earned.

It’s important to note that not everyone using a different billing and shipping address should be considered suspicious. After all, how many times have you bought a present for someone and had it shipped to them directly? And, you should also know that there are above board re-shipper businesses out there. The criminal groups have just figured out how to hijack this legitimate industry and turn it around for illegal profits.

So, if you are running a business with an online ordering platform, how do you protect your bottom line? Here are some red flags to watch for:

  • Transactions that involve different billing and shipping addresses or overseas shipping addresses
  • Orders that include a large number of items
  • Requests for expedited shipping

How do you protect your business?

  • Have a system in place to monitor every transaction for suspicious activity.
  • Pay particular attention to those orders with different billing and shipping addresses. A simple online search may give you the answer as to whether you are sending a package to a re-shipping warehouse.
  • Put daily limits on how much a buyer can purchase.

If you have been victimized by this scam or any other online scam, report your suspicious contacts to the FBI. You can file an online report at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.