Although the old stereotype of a thief sneaking up on an unsuspecting victim walking down the street at night is still very recognizable, criminals have found a new and more effective way to get their hands on valuable credit card information in the Information Age.
Muggings still happen, but a much more anonymous crime has etched its way into the public consciousness in recent years: identity theft. Using an individual’s personal information in an effort to compromise their available funds or credit is a big problem these days and one of the easiest ways a criminal can commit this crime is through credit or debit card fraud.
Fraud can be introduced by someone other than the card owner presenting the card to the merchant or by employees misappropriating card information and using it another time. Internal fraud is partially minimized by taking your employees out of the equation and having the card owner swipe and maintain control of their card.
Just like people need to protect themselves, businesses can also take steps keep their customers free of this potentially devastating crime. According to recent U.S. Department of Justice statistics, a whopping 15 percent of the American public has fallen victim to some form of credit or debit card fraud. While most instances of credit card fraud involve transactions totaling less than $1,000, we all end up paying for credit card fraud in terms of lost bushiness, higher prices and higher interest rates. There are some easy steps, however, any business can take to help protect its customers from fraud:
- Double check – While the transaction is being processed, look at the card’s security features to make sure the card has not been altered in any way. If something seems amiss, there could potentially be an issue. Match the photo id to person presenting the card, is the card signed, has the card expired, does the name match their identification, does the card appear to be tampered with, etc.
- Get a match – Compare the name, card number and signature on the card to those on the transaction receipt. If something doesn’t sync, it’s a big red flag that something could be wrong.
- Code red – If you do suspect fraud, don’t hesitate to make a Code 10 call. This type of authorization request alerts the card issuer to suspicious activity without alerting the customer. In this type of situation, remember to stay calm and speak with the operator in a normal tone. If it becomes necessary to alert the authorities, the Authorization Center will do so for you.
When taking orders online, also called CNP or card not present, there are things that your employees can look for to be aware of possible fraud. These include larger than normal orders, orders made up of “big ticket” items and orders specifying they be shipped to an international address.
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business — helping to keep them free of credit card fraud is in your best interest. In this age of paying with plastic, staying safe from fraud is paramount! It may be time for an employee refresher course in credit card safety for your customers.
For more in-depth statistics on credit card fraud and for more information on Code 10 Authorizations, our sales partner at Sterling Payment Technologies has a nice summary of best practices.
Please share a story on a time your team detected and stopped fraud, etc.