Taking risks is a huge part of owning a business, and those brave souls who aspire to share their dreams with their community know that it can sometimes be trying. For one cookie shop in Florida, their passion for sharing sweets has been challenged by fraud and theft. A recent incident lost them thousands of dollars, but that hasn’t deterred Cookie Munchers' bakery in Tampa from continuing their quest to provide people with tasty treats.
Narcity reached out to Cookie Munchers owner Cassie Aran to get the inside scoop on what happened.
Aran explained that over just a week's period, multiple high-value orders went through for uncommonly large numbers of items, including an array of their new CBD products that sell for $5.99 each.
The transactions flew under the radar until her business got a call from someone out of state who had gotten charged by their shop without having bought anything. This prompted Aran and her team to look into other previously placed large orders.
Only then did they realize multiple orders by the same individual were made with a different payment method each time, using stolen credit card information.
The string of purchases ended up totaling $3,200.
“These kinds of things are hard to catch when you constantly have different supervisors rotating through the store,” Aran explained. "Any business with higher-ticket items is more likely to be targeted."
Cookie Munchers currently crafts massive gourmet cookies, cookie cakes, homemade ice creams, and baked CBD goodies. They specialize in deliveries, which can make it difficult to track order authenticity. And they can’t always ask for IDs at the door, because sometimes the orders are gifts.
Ultimately, Cookie Munchers was forced to choose between refunding the orders in full or waiting for chargeback refunds to be issued by credit card companies.
If they waited, the business would take on an extra $300 worth of fees, but that would have also been the proof Aran needed to take the case to the police and prevent this individual from potentially continuing the scam elsewhere.
Even if the report was filed, Aran's business wouldn't be able to get the $3,200 back. She would also be required to pay at least an additional $300 after fees just to get the police report started.
In the end, that wasn’t a viable option for her — so she took the loss and refunded all the fraudulent orders.
Moving forward, Aran has started implementing procedures to better protect her company, like working with merchant system companies to catch and flag fraudulent transactions earlier. She now also requires ID for deliveries over a certain dollar amount and shared her story on YouTube.
Despite the hit, Cassie says she is taking the incident in stride. “I hope our story can help other business owners and show them what to look out for!”