Scamming The Globe

Are credit-card orders pouring into your Web site from across the globe? Watch your back. Online merchants--like mail and phone-order outfits--are fully responsible for what are called "card-not-present" transactions. If the card number used is false or stolen, you eat the loss. Domestically issued cards can be checked with an automated address-verification service. That will help alert you if there's a delivery to Berlin on a card issued by a Chicago bank. Cards issued by non-U.S. banks aren't on that system, though. You have to call the issuing bank and check the name, address, and expiration date against your order. Other credit-card safety tips from Web site

-- Beware orders preceded by several failed order entries, especially where the numbers vary by one sequential digit.

-- Don't fulfill orders from free e-mail addresses like Hotmail or Yahoo!; the owners of these accounts aren't traceable.

-- Watch orders from foreign ".edu" domains; it may be kids hacking away.

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