Carrollton, TX (Vocus) April 8, 2010
According to a 2009 study, credit and debit card fraud is a bigger concern for Americans than terrorism, computer virus, H1N1 flu and personal safety. (Source: Unisys Security Index: United States, March 2009) The same anxiety is probably shared by businesses who take credit and debit cards, since the fraud costs them money, time and valuable resources.
Merchants are the front-line of defense against credit card fraud. It may not be possible to totally prevent credit and debit card fraud, but setting up verification procedures can help cut down on potential losses. Staff should be trained regularly about preventing credit card fraud.
1. Check the card. Most credit card fraud uses lost, stolen or counterfeited cards, so take a little extra time to examine crucial areas:
- Compare signatures. Insist on a photo identification, then compare the name on the card with the additional customer ID.
- Expiration Date. It takes just a moment, but make sure the card is still active.
- Signature strip. Look for any evidence that it’s been altered. If it’s unreadable or smeared, it could be a forgery or might have been changed. Compare the signature on the card with the one on the additional ID.
- Numbers on the card. Check for signs of tampering. Also, match the numbers on the back of the card.
2. Pay attention to the customer. Some fraud could be prevented by concentrating on a few key areas related to the person presenting the card:
- Match the ID. There have been documented cases when the name on the card didn’t match the gender of the person presenting the card, but because no one checked, the fraudulent charge was recorded.
- Unable to produce additional ID. Be suspicious if the customer has a credit card, but no other form of identification.
- Appears nervous or hostile when asked for additional identification.
- No wallet or purse. Most people carry their cards in a wallet or purse, so if the customer pulls the card from a pocket, that’s a good reason to check further.
- Avoidance. If they hand the clerk a card and walk away, they could be trying to avoid being asked for additional identification.
- Watch them sign the receipt. If they have to write very slowly, it could be a signal that they are trying to copy the signature.
3. Suspicious merchandize purchases. Staff should be train to watch for dubious questionable purchases/transactions that might indicate potential fraud:
- Someone buying numerous expensive items of the same kind (e.g., four flat-screen TVs). These kind of items can be quickly sold outside the store.
- Customers who insist on taking with them products that would normally be delivered, such as large kitchen appliances.
- During busy times or at the end of the business day. Those attempting fraud often use the times when clerks are rushed to avoid the standard identification procedures.
- Those who hurry in and pick up items very quickly, without apparent thought, should be viewed as suspicious.
4. Telephone/Online Orders: These are times when you cannot see your customer, but you can still implement policies which can help prevent fraud:
- Orders are not process if the information is incomplete.
- Be cautious with customers who use free e-mail accounts (e.g., Yahoo, MSN).
- If the shipping address and the billing address are different, call and verify the order with the customer.
- Unusually large orders should be a red flag.
- Confirm rush orders or those to be shipped overnight.
- Be alert of those who use multiple cards for items shipped to a single address.
- International orders.
In addition to working with business to implement the best in preventative practices, merchant services provider can also set up the latest equipment that meets the current PCI security compliance requirements. These new credit card processing machines offer greater security for both the customer and the business.
About Certified Payment Processing
Certified Payment Processing (CPP) is a full-service provider of electronic payment equipment for processing purchases made by debit and credit cards, as well as checks and online purchases, in addition to a range of other specialized merchant services. For nearly 20 years, has helped businesses increase revenue while controlling costs. CPP has two direct sales entities –TransTech Merchant Group and Summit Merchant Solutions and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.