Here are the 3 victims of the Consumer Triangulation Scam:
- Victim 1: is the person who owns the stolen credit card
- Victim 2: is the online store (eBay, Amazon or Walmart)
- Victim 3: is the winner of the bid who pays for the items, purchased with the stolen credit card
How the Consumer Triangulation Scam Works
The scammer creates an online auction, displaying items to be purchased on Victim 2 (eBay, Amazon or Walmart) website. This online auction is setup to attract Victim 3 to bid for the displaying items. When Victim 3 wins the auction, this victim sends the scammer the payment either by Western Union, Money Order or Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT), in order to receive the items he or she bid for.
Note: Once the money is sent using one of the above quick payment methods, there is no way to get a refund.
After receiving the payment from Victim 3, the scammer uses Victim 1 credit card to purchase the items on Victim 2 (eBay, Amazon or Walmart) website.
The items are shipped to Victim 3 address marked as a gift, to prevent Victim 2 from placing Victim 1 billing information in the package. After Victim 1 finds out about the unauthorized charges on his/her credit card, a report is made to the bank. The bank will then discover that the card was stolen and report it to the police. The police contact Victim 2 (eBay, Amazon or Walmart), who provides them with the shipping address of Victim 3, who the items were shipped to. The police will then visit Victim 3 and confiscate the items he/she received. Victim 3 will be left with nothing and will lose the money he/she spent to purchase the items.
A refund for Victim 3 will not be possible because the payment was made using one of the quick payment methods: Western Union, Money Order or Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT). This scam is hard to spot because the online auction websites setup by the scammers look legitimate. But, if you are asked to pay with any of these quick payment methods, Western Union, Money Order or EFT, this should raise a red flag.
Try making your payment with a cheque instead. A cheque will take sometime to process, thereby, giving you sufficient time to check and verify everything.