Management & Finance

4 Safeguards to Prevent Credit Card Fraud

Ecommerce merchants can minimize credit card fraud by following a few basic safeguards.

Ecommerce merchants can minimize credit card fraud by following a few basic safeguards.

Ecommerce merchants continue to rely on credit card payments for orders. Credit cards are convenient and fast, but they also come with risk. Merchants in the United States lose approximately $190 billion a year to credit card fraud. In this post, I will explain how to minimize credit card fraud.

The best approach is to identify a fraudulent transaction before the order is consummated.  Credit card companies provide their own rules and checklists. And there are many third-party fraud-prevention services — see our Vendor Directory for providers.

Additionally, help prevent credit card fraud with these four basic safeguards.

Verify Credit Card

First, determine if a stolen card is being used for the transaction.

Check address. Address Verification Service confirms the billing address provided by the shopper. If the address from the shopper does not match the card issuer’s records, the transaction terminates.

Check card code. This is also called a CVV or CVV2 code. The shopper must enter the correct code before completing the order.

Validate password. Some fraud prevention systems, such as Verified by Visa, require a password before a transaction is approved, to protect shoppers. Shoppers using such as service can validate passwords in real time.

Check credit cards on multiple accounts. If the shopper’s credit card is linked to multiple accounts of the merchant, it might be an indicator of fraud. Accounts that have existed for a while and use the same shipping address are typically not a problem But be cautious of newly created accounts that use the same card number and each ship to a different address.

Verify Customer

If the credit card checks out, perform the following steps.

Review shopping behavior. Are the shopper’s products unusual for his purchase history? Did the shopper search for unrelated products before adding items to the cart? Both could indicate credit card fraud.

Checking contact information. When shoppers update their email address or phone number just before entering the order, the odds of fraud increase. Merchants should store a customer’s historical profile information — email address, phone number — to verify, if necessary.

Checking the addresses. Be cautious if the billing and shipping addresses don’t match. Also, if the shipping address is new, the likelihood of fraud increases. In those instances, call the shopper to verify the order before finalizing.

Verifying the IP address. Every computer worldwide has an IP address. These addresses can change but it usually follows a pattern. Checking a shopper’s current IP address with the historical IP one helps flag a transaction as potential fraud.

Check the shipping method. Take notice if a shopper requests fast shipping when the cost of shipping is high compared to the cost of the products in the order. Shoppers engaging in fraud will often try to get products as soon as possible, and since they are using a stolen credit card, they aren’t concerned about shipping costs.

Verify Order

If the shopper’s credit card number and profile info look acceptable, check the transaction itself.

  • Is the order value greater than usual?
  • Does the order have big ticket items?
  • Does the order have several units of the same item?
  • Is this order placed more frequently than usual?
  • Are there other orders using different shipping addresses?

Post-order Check

Be wary of customers who follow an apparent normal order with a change request, such as the following.

  • Adding more products.
  • Adding big-ticket items.
  • Changing shipping addresses.
  • Changing the payment method, such as replacing credit card numbers or using a credit card when no card was used on the original order.

If any of these requests occur, repeat the above checks. Merchants with in-store pick-up might ask the customer to make the payment in the store using a physical card reader. While this shifts the liability away from the merchant, legitimate customers could be put off by the inconvenience.

Gagan Mehra

Gagan Mehra

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