Professor Fraud

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The 12 Scams of Christmas: #6 - Credit Card Refund Fraud

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Professor Fraud

Associate Professor at the Saint Xavier University Graham School of Management; Director, Center for the Study of Fraud and Corruption. CPA, Attorney, Certified Fraud Examiner.

Continuing with Professor Fraud's Twelve Scams of Christmas, here is ...

Scam #6: Credit Card Refund Fraud

 

 

It happens every Holiday Season.  You buy too many gifts.  Or you find a better gift for that special someone. 

So you're back at the store where you bought the item, asking the clerk to apply the return credit to the credit card on which you purchased the gift. 

The clerk goes away, processes the transaction, and returns with a long slip of paper which the clerk has conveniently folded up, and drops it into one of your shopping bags.

Did you look at the slip? 

Carefully?

You should ... because some unscrupulous clerks have been known to process these transactions fraudulently. 

Instead of applying the return to your credit card, they apply it to their own. 

Or they process it as a cash return, pocketing the cash, and handing you just a long, folded slip of paper. 

And if you don't examine the return receipt, you might not realize that you were scammed until weeks later when you get your credit card bill.  And by then, it may be difficult to prove that you were defrauded.

So always carefully examine your return receipts. 

Check to make sure the transaction wasn't processed as a cash return. 

And if it was processed as a credit card refund, make sure it was credited to your credit card.

Follow these tips, and you'll many happy returns this Holiday Season!


Remember, fraud never sleeps! 

So stay vigilant! 

And have a Happy - and Secure - Holiday Season!


(Videos of "Professor Fraud's 'Twelve Scams of Christmas,'" taped on the beautiful Saint Xavier University campus, home of the Center for the Study of Fraud and Corruption will be featured every weekday morning on FOX Chicago's "Good Day Chicago" from now until Christmas.)


Next time:  RFID Credit Cards / Hi-Tech Pickpocketing   

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3 Comments

jack said:

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I'll give you several more of the "you better check your receipt" type of scams. Most involve grocery stores that try to check you out so fast that you can't see the error coming up on the cash register flat screen, or alternate displaying the discounts between when the product is scanned or the end of the transaction:

(1) The "if you buy five" scam. Supposedly, you get, with a consumer loyalty card, a product for $2, "if you buy five." However, one mismatched product is shelved with the others, such as one frozen dinner that has a normal price of $2.00 shelved with all the others that have a normal price of $2.39, but with a shelf tag that looks the same. A similar ruse is to shelve ginger ale with the 7 Up products, and then say it didn't match because it is a Coke product, even though the box says it was bottled under license from the Seven Up-Dr. Pepper Co.

2. The deli switcheroo. The store advertises one brand of turkey or provolone cheese for $3.79 a pound. You ask for that, and they slice another brand at $9.69 a pound. The turkey sliced in an "up scale" store of this kind, which keeps its deli meat on a shelf behind the deli and not in the display case, for $9.69 is a brand that would have cost $5.95 anywhere else. Then, when you look at the package and ask "isn't this supposed to be $3.79," the clerk says "well you didn't ask for [store] brand." To which I tell him or her, "I won't take it." The last time this was pulled, I pointed to the $3.79 turkey and said "I want that," the clerk said "you want home style?" and I said "yes" he pulled the $7.99 one next to it (both were "home style"), but I yelled pretty quickly, "Is that this," so he only had to eat 2 slices that time.

3. The "fishy fish department." Again there is a tag that says $2.00 off with card. The tag doesn't say that, but the fishmonger says it will be taken off at the register. Oh, no it isn't. Then he says that he had an expired price tag stuck into the filet on ice. At least in this case, the service desk honored the "we're right or it's free" pledge, and that store has seemed to clean up its act.

None of these scams is limited to the Christmas season. And, no matter what, anything I buy at Target goes through the customer price scanners on the posts before it gets anywhere close to the checkout.

jack said:

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I was a bit ambiguous with #3. The tag in the display case says $3.97/lb, but the sticker ejected by the scale says $5.79/lb.

Professor Fraud said:

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Thanks for the suggestions, Jack!

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