How to spot a chargeback scam

Chargebacks are simply payments a seller denies. These transactions are often invalid for one reason or another. For example, if a shopper claims that a price for a product has changed after the order was placed, or that a product does not match the description, or if the size is wrong. When there are so many reasons to deny a sale, sellers can often avoid fulfilling the order.

The transactions are usually done by a phony shipping company. They will call you and claim you have a fake order and they will refuse to process it. In the case of the fake company, they will keep you on the phone to pressure you into moving forward.

The fact that the seller claims they are a shipping company does not mean they are.

Why are they so successful?

In most cases, scammers succeed in getting the victim’s payment by creating the illusion that it is a protected transaction. Fraudsters will usually create a “chargeback” on the chargeback system (ACS) or website (such as Google Play Store). They will claim that the sale is illegal and they have reported this to the fraud prevention group that monitors the system. The payment was not legitimate and the seller wants their money back.

False promises to the victims:

“The team is deleting your app immediately.”

“If you don’t pay right now, the system will remove your game from the market.”

“We will email you the product key so you can activate the game immediately.”

“We have taken down your profile and your account, so you cannot send more payments.

What are the consequences for victims?

Many people are not aware of the conduction of cybercrimes and frauds and they tend to get duped without realizing their folly. They unknowingly share their bank details with fraudsters. This invariably results in your bank account getting blocked by your financial institution. This could lead to severe financial problems and hard times if not timely refunded.

How does a cybercrime scam originate?

Cybercrime often occurs when someone compromises another person’s computer, or personal device to install malicious software that can be used to steal private information or to divert victims’ money. They might compromise an online payment system, card or email account.

How to protect yourself when shopping online

• Check that the seller is verified by Google before making a purchase.

• Always pay with a credit card.

• Never send money, codes, emails, or personal information to unknown people online.

• Don’t click on the send email or click on any links in messages from unknown people.

• Always open messages from people you don’t know and never agree to wire or buy products from them over the phone.

• Register and login to your account before completing a transaction.

• Never pay for an item by wire transfer or prepaid card.

• Make sure you never give your email address or financial account details to someone you don’t know.

• Never purchase gift cards or iTunes cards for strangers.

Purchasing for Christmas gifts?

On Cyber Monday last year, consumers spent $3.


Scams and scams are a serious matter that can easily devastate an unsuspecting or uneducated victim. This may lead to sudden bankruptcy, loss of physical wealth and worse, to physical death. When you become aware of such scams, it’s advisable to report them to police or an NGO, as they have the ability to investigate and trace and refer the case to relevant agencies for proper action.

Be careful, educate yourself, share the information with friends and family and guard your personal and financial information closely.