Befuddled by possible fraud
December 6, 2010 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Mysterious shipment and possible fraud - would appreciate advice!

Hello, all. I received a really suspicious shipment but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to get to the bottom of it.

Background: A month ago, I purchased Item X on ebay, via Paypal. The seller delayed sending it, telling me that X was backordered at her supplier's. But Item X did eventually arrive from some random company in Colorado.

This week, out of the blue, from another company entirely, I received another of Item X! Via FedEx 2 day air, no less. But while the shipment was addressed to me, the BILL TO: address was to someone in Illinois with a strangely misspelled name. More curious yet, the email address given for this person included my full name, not hers (it was a yahoo account).

I called the company that had shipped it. They told me the last four numbers of the credit card used to purchase it. Not my credit card. (Not even the same credit card company as the card I use on my paypal account.)

I pulled my credit report: I see no fraudulent accounts or activity. I called the credit card company: there are no fraudulent accounts open under my social. I emailed the ebay seller to make sure she hadn't sent a repeat, but haven't heard back from her.

So, questions:
1) Is there anything else I should be doing to safeguard myself against fraud?
2) Should I return this item as quickly as possible to the company that shipped it to me?
3) I'm thinking I shouldn't email this bogus email address that uses my name. Nothing much to gain from that.
4) Do you have any idea what sort of fraud this might be?
posted by artemisia to Law & Government (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think what happened is this:

You bought something on eBay from someone who didn't have the thing in question, which is a giant eBay no-no.

The person scrambled to get you one of the thing in question, and accidentally got you two of the thing in question. The fake email address with your name in it is probably their attempt at a tracking system so that they'll know which of their customers they ordered the thing for; when they're ordering a widget for Jane Smith, they order it from or whatever.

I wouldn't return the second item--I would email the original eBay seller and ask them what was up.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:41 AM on December 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

This just sounds like a crappy seller to me. They dropship, ordering items from somewhere else and shipping directly to their buyers whenever they get an order. They probably screwed up and sent another customer's order to you.

IMHO, most of the dropshipping on eBay is pretty shady, but I don't think this is actually fraud.
posted by sharding at 8:43 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yeah, that was my thought at first, too. But whoever purchased this paid $80 more for it than I did on Ebay. That would make for some insanely over the top customer service!

I guess it's possible, though -- and certainly it's the most reassuring possibility.
posted by artemisia at 8:45 AM on December 6, 2010

Best answer: whoever purchased this paid $80 more for it than I did on Ebay. That would make for some insanely over the top customer service!

It might be well worth $80 to them to keep their current identity and seller feedback on eBay.

It's really the most likely explanation. Far more likely than some elaborate fraud that begins with you receiving valuable items in the mail.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:52 AM on December 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: OK, yep, I heard from the ebay seller, who does *not* outright say that she sent me another one, but says that since I did get another one, I should mail it to her and she'll reimburse me after it arrives.

Her address and name and state of residence are different than the billing address, though.

It still seems sketchy; makes me wonder if somebody is ordering stuff with stolen credit cards and then reselling the products. But at least the sketchiness does not seem likely to affect my own financial record. :/
posted by artemisia at 10:10 AM on December 6, 2010

Huh. Since she's not the one who ordered and paid for this, maybe you should send it back to the dropshipper.
posted by galadriel at 10:26 AM on December 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

I should mail it to her and she'll reimburse me after it arrives.

Do not. She may be using you to facilitate a scam.
posted by Knowyournuts at 10:43 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yep, I would mail it back to the shipper rather than carry this person's water for them. Let the disorganized businessperson (best case scenario) sort it out.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:50 AM on December 6, 2010

Ok, now it sounds like fraud to me -- I take back my previous statement.
posted by sharding at 11:23 AM on December 6, 2010

Response by poster: I'm thinking I'll tell the Ebay seller that I'm sending it back to the company (which offered to send me a FedEx shipping label at no expense to me) so they can refund the credit card that purchased it. Thanks for the advice, y'all.
posted by artemisia at 2:11 PM on December 6, 2010

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