Spot a Scam: Heads Up to Credit Managers

25 May

Seems there’s no end to the many ways in which scammers will attempt to steal merchandise. And it’s often the Credit Manager who is in the position to put a stop to it.

Knowing the typical scammers tricks will help you spot them early, before the merchandise is out the door. Usually, a simple phone call will solidify your suspicions.

Here are a few tricks to watch for and what to do:


Impersonating an established customer over the phone isn’t too hard to do with enough information. Considering that names, addresses and phone numbers are easy to get online, a caller can certainly sound legit.

Scammers like this usually place an order for physical merchandise and then have it delivered to a trucking terminal or some other location for pick up. They show up in a truck and make off with the goods.

Often times an established customer has a delivery routine that credit professionals become familiar with. When that delivery location suddenly changes, it’s worth a phone call to verify.

Rush orders

Sure, rush orders can be bone fide. But never let a caller create an emergency for you that results in costly decisions.

This is a psychological game of high-pressure deadlines and it works like a charm. With the threat of losing the business if the deadline isn’t met, it’s easy to see why so many would quickly fill the order.

If the customer threatens to take their business elsewhere, it’s worth making a second call to your person of contact, or if it’s a new customer, to the owner. If this is a brand new customer and you can’t locate the owner, it may be a scam.

Inability to contact the owner in any situation should solicit concern.

Influx of inquiries

When an influx of inquiries flood in from other creditors asking for references on a particular customer, it may suggest the customer has overextended. A scammer will do this on purpose so he can score a bunch of products on credit and then turn around and liquidate. The criminal has cash in hand, everyone else get stuck with the bills.

Requiring cash up front will send the scammer running.

No Available Address

New customers are required to supply references that include contact information. The customer who only supplies a phone number or tries to provide a PO Box is one to watch out for.

It’s up to the credit professional to secure the necessary information and a physical address qualifies as necessary. And not just for the reference, but for the new customer, as well. A PO Box simply won’t do and the credit pro must say so.

Use our internal checklist to help verify the information you receive on the credit app!

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