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Accounting Best Practices, Fifth Edition by Steven M. Bragg Englewood, Colorado

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7–35. Verify Customer Locations from Reverse Phone Records and Satellite Photos

The credit department faces the ongoing problem of how much effort to give to the investigation of a new customer who has placed a substantial order—spend too much money on the investigation, and the profitability of the order is impacted; spend too little, and a potentially fraudulent order will be shipped.

A free and fast method for verifying the existence of a customer is a three-step verification process that takes only a few minutes. First, call them back on the number they have provided, to ensure that they are really using that number. Then go to the www.411.com site, click on the “Reverse Phone” option, and enter the phone number. The site will return the address for which the phone number is registered. If the address shown is different from the one listed on the customer order, then the risk of fraud has just increased. Finally, to be very sure that the address has a commercial location and not a residential one, go to http://earth.google.com and download Google Earth. Then open this application and enter the address returned by the www.411.com site. The Google Earth application will locate the address on a satellite photo, and allow a low-level drill-down of the photo, so it will be quite obvious where the potential customer is calling from.

Also, while using Google Earth, be sure to use the “Tilt Down” feature to see structures in a modified three-dimensional format. This added feature will ...

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