The Indonesian Scam
These scammers usually come from Indonesia or Nigeria, two countries where credit card fraud is considered somewhat of a sport. This scam targets sellers and is less common on TradeMe than other types of scam.
The scammer starts with a Visa number that he knows is good and then operates in partnership with a crooked Visa vendor. He tries a series of numbers starting from his good number.
If the good card has 6335 as the last 4 numbers, he runs up a small charge using 6336 as the last four numbers. He also has to try numerous expiration dates. If that works he voids the charge and knows that he can use that credit card number for a scam. He repeats the process until he has a pile of genuine card numbers. It's a time consuming process that is potentially very profitable for the scammer.
Then he needs to find a sucker to take his order and ship it. That's where TradeMe comes in.
A seller receives a question on their auction: "Hi. I want to buy your laptop for my sister in Indonesia and I want to pay by credit card. Is that O'K?" If the seller agrees the "buyer" wins the auction and the deal is done. Here's a screen capture of an attempted Indonesian scam on TradeMe. Note that the scammer has paid $10 to be authenticated, probably using a stolen credit card.
AN INDONESIAN SCAMMER ASKS A QUESTION ON A TRADEME AUCTION
Since the card numbers are good a vendor might just run the charges - let's say it's a $12,000 purchase spread over 4 cards - and ship the goods via an express service. It can take up to three weeks before the vendor gets a notice from his bank that the charges have been disputed by the rightful card owner. By then the goods have arrived in Indonesia and there's simply no way to get them back.
The largest scam of this kind that we are aware of cost one New Zealander $51,000. For the scammers this is a profitable business.
Spotting an Indonesian Scam
Beware of any questions on your auctions asking for expensive goods to be sent out of New Zealand, particularly to Indonesia or Nigeria, combined with requests to pay by credit card.
If you spot a scam please report it to TradeMe via the Community Watch link at the bottom of every auction page. Unfortunately TradeMe frown upon anyone who warns other traders, so you'll just have to let the victims find out for themselves the hard way. You should also report the scam on our forums.
Main Scams page