From Antiques Trade Gazette:
AUCTIONEERS are being warned about a gang of fraudsters targeting sales by using illegally obtained credit card information.
They tend to con salerooms by paying for goods over the phone after bidding by phone, on commission or via the internet, and then have the goods collected by a third party.
Industry experts believe that the problem has become worse because of the spike in precious metal prices, with gold, silver and jewellery among the items most targeted.
And because the stolen credit card information relates to genuine cards, the risk of being defrauded can be greater if transactions are not processed following the proper guidelines.
In addition, while senior staff may be well aware of the risks, fraudsters often target junior auction room staff who may be less well briefed.
ATG published a guide to beating fraudsters on page 2 of issue No 1990, and it can be found online at this link:
To recap, however, it is essential that anyone taking payment and releasing goods follows a few simple security steps to prevent them from being conned:
Ensure that all members of staff are aware of the dangers and safeguards to be adopted.
Do not release goods until payment has cleared into your account.
If payment is by credit card and the cardholder collects the goods in person, they should be asked to produce the card used in the transaction.
Be wary of anyone trying to use a variety of payment cards for one transaction, especially if a card is declined.
Goods should only be delivered to a cardholder address; if an alternative delivery address is provided, ensure a range of checks are in place to confirm the alternative address is valid; for example, ask for a copy of a utility bill.
You should get written confirmation from the buyer if they want a courier to collect, stating the full delivery address. Advise the buyer that you require the courier to have similar written instructions when he collects.
It is recommended that goods are not released to taxi drivers, chauffeurs, messengers or any third party.
If you agree to delivery via a courier, the courier should also have written confirmation of his delivery instructions from the bidder. You should additionally record the driver's licence number and vehicle registration of the pick up courier.
The courier should be instructed to hand over goods only to someone inside the delivery address; handing goods over to someone outside a delivery address may be an interception by the fraudsters and the goods will be untraceable from then on.
Couriers should be instructed to return with the goods if they are unable to deliver to the agreed address.
Avoid sending goods to hotels or guest houses; the incidence of fraud involving delivery to such places is extremely high.
All goods should require signed proof of delivery.
Goods should never be delivered to a vacant or adjacent property.
Above all, if in doubt, act with caution and do not release goods until you are entirely satisfied that payment will be honoured and that they are being delivered to the correct person.