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  1. #1
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    Affiliate Marketing and Credit Card Fraud
    I'm curious how merchants address this issue. Two companies I worked with in the last year noticed fraudulent purchases on their card. I took one look at what was purchased and knew it had to be from an affiliate marketer. The items were E-books, cd's nobody would listen too, and other things I recognised as high commision affiliate items that sell for under $10.00.

    The mailing address of the items proved my theory correct, since they even shipped some items to the real company address. Seems the thieves didn't care where they shipped the items, as long as they got their commision.
    I'm guessing that the thieves set up temporary accounts that vanish once they get their commission check, and then make a new account the next month.

    Is this issue of stealing credit cards to earn commision a recent crimewave or did I just do work for 2 unlucky companies? I suspect it must be organized in some way because each attack only netted about $50 at most in profit. Have the police caught on and requested who owns the affiliate ID's that profited from the sales? Would a phone call confirming each affiliate weed out potential thieves?

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    I think this may have been posted in the wrong forum? SAS has such long waits from the time a sale is made until the commission is paid it it would seem impossible not to have been reversed for one thing. The other is that payout doesn't start at $5. The theives would have to sit in one place for quite awhile. But what do I know.

  3. #3
    Speechless OTProf's Avatar
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    "I took one look and knew it had to be from an affiliate marketer" -- ?!??!

    Talk about a hasty conclusion!

  4. #4
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kimchiman
    I took one look at what was purchased and knew it had to be from an affiliate marketer. The items were E-books, cd's nobody would listen too, and other things I recognised as high commision affiliate items that sell for under $10.00.
    Wrong. They were thieves. It's quite possible that they used an available affiliate avenue to defraud the credit card companies and merchants, however, if someone used a police badge to defraud people, would you say that they were police men?

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  5. #5
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    It may be the wrong forum. If so, an admin can feel free to move this post. I'm an affiliate marketer myself for shareasale, so I only read their section. I didn't mean to imply this was a shareasale issue, or that any shareasale merchant or affiliate was in any way involved.

    As for it being affiliate marketing related, of that I have no doubt. No, they were not "affiliate marketers" but "thieves" as was correctly pointed out, who were simply posing as a real affiliate. The CD's and software purchased were so outdated that it was obvious the theft was commission related, and not to gain the item ordered. I forget the exact titles, but seriously, would you order MS pacman for $10 or the latest COD4 game? Better yet, order stuff you could easily resell on E-bay, not some self improvement software and e-books.

    Perhaps that is why shareasale has the $50 limit, so that people can't make one sale and run. It would be interesting to find out who is the front end for them. Here is a partial list of what was ordered:

    Emusic.com $0.99
    Curb Craving $6.95
    Advantage Language $6.95
    IT Education $4.95

    Emusic, curb craving sponsors their own affiliate program. Advantage language does use shareasale. But overall I see no pattern to it.

  6. #6
    Speechless OTProf's Avatar
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    It seems like a lot of work & risk for $50.

    Any chance it was a company employee who made the purchases (i.e. the issue being an employee using a company card for a personal purchase with any affiliate connection being incidental)?

  7. #7
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    No chance an employee would risk it for $50. It happened at 2 different companies 6 months apart, who actually share at least one vendor. In both cases the credit card was rarely used. In the first case the fraudulent charges were the only charges in the last 6 months. In the 2nd case months later, the card was used on occasion but never had any questionable purchases before. There are occasional cleaning crews, temps, interns, and anyone could do some dumpster diving. But at both companies the merchandise ordered didn't look like something anyone would even want.

    My recommendation will be for the company to switch to "one time use" cards. Somebody will have to be in charge of issuing numbers each time a person orders online. The $50 lost is something they wouldn't blink at, but legitimate CC orders were affected because of that cancelled card, which will delay a few projects until a new card is given to our department.
    Last edited by kimchiman; December 8th, 2007 at 05:46 PM.

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