BARNSTABLE, Mass. — A Cape Cod bookstore owner says he is a victim of an elaborate overseas credit card scam that may force him to shut the doors for good. Tom Phillips is living through a pretty dark chapter at his small Cape Cod bookstore called Books by the Sea.
"These scammers are so sophisticated that they know how to work their way in," he said.
Phillips claims he was scammed after someone, who gave a fake name, emailed his store asking to locate and ship some very expensive, hard to find textbooks. The scammer placed three separate orders and each time paid upfront, and was approved, with what turned out to be a stolen credit card.
A few weeks later, Phillips' credit card company informed him that the purchases were fraudulent and told him that, when they approved the transactions, they didn’t realize the credit card had been stolen.
"They’re assuming no responsibility, giving me the green light to go through [the] traffic light and get hit," he said.
Phillips appealed to the credit card company, showing 60 pages of documents, emails and receipts, but lost and was on the hook for more than $5,000.
His insurance company was no help either, and he's now worried he may not be able to keep his store open.
"They claim because books weren't stolen from the store physically, they weren’t covering it," he said.
Barnstable Police, through the assistance of Google, traced the scammers’ email back to Nigeria. They say it’s imperative to diligently check your credit card statements.
“These people, they’re not doing it because they’re not making any money,” said Chief Matthew Sonnabend of Barnstable Police. “People just have to be careful what you’re doing. You have to be cautious, you really do.”
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