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Credit Card Fraud & Holiday Season

The business world is officially deep in the craziest shopping season of the year. The amount of transactions that an average business sees during the holidays is astronomical in comparison to the rest of the year. Unfortunately, with the booming sales comes an increase in fraud. If you prepare, you’ll be able to better protect your business and your patrons. This means monitoring your credit card transactions carefully. Merchants should be alert to possible risks and take action to reduce fraudulent transactions.

How Credit Card Fraud Happens

There are two common ways that credit card fraud happens.

  1. The first is known as “skimming.” This is when someone installs malware (a malicious computer program) on the terminal and each time a card is swiped personal payment data is wirelessly transmitted to the individual, giving them access to your account. This brings us to why EMV chips are important and how they can protect you and your customers.

EMV-Enabled Terminals

Since 2015, merchants have been switching to EMV-enabled terminals, this has allowed them keep their transactions safe. Instead of swiping or dipping, EMV cards use near field communication. The card is simply tapped against the scanner and the information is pulled from the embedded computer chip. malware requires the card holder to actually swipe the card, but EMV chips take that part completely out of the equation.

  1. The second common method is from data breaches. Although EMV chips have lowered the amount of credit card fraud, for some this is just a new challenge. Hackers have found ways to breach the security of various merchants to acquire personal payment information. For example, in 2007 T.J. Maxx was targeted and over 45 million consumers were affected. How? Fake websites and mobile apps were created to look identical to the originals. Through many phony purchases, hackers were able to get personal information once the fake transactions were completed.

Is Shopping In-Person Safer?

Yes and no. Skimming is still a threat in places that have terminals that are not EMV-enabled. Places such as after hours ATMs and self-serve gas stations are heavily targeted for fraud. However, major retail establishments like Wal-Mart have employees present at each terminal. This makes it much harder for a thief to access a card reader.

When a purchase is made in-person, the information is stored on an online server. EMV payments are also stored online; however each transaction is given a unique one-time code, so most of the information is completely useless to hackers.

Tips to Prepare and Protect Your Transactions from Fraud

Employee Training

During the holidays, your team will be dealing with stressed-out customer, extensive checkout lines, and larger transactions. The chaos could have a negative effect on being able to spot a fraudulent transaction. The more prepared your staff is, the less likely they will miss questionable behavior.

Prepare your team with these common sense tips:

Customer identification. Don’t be afraid to ask for a photo ID, especially on big ticket purchases.

Track IP Addresses

Merchants should work with a payment processing company to monitor suspicious IP addresses. Having access to IP data allows businesses to block any individuals who have been linked to suspicious activity. This not only keeps merchants safe, but provides valuable data for years to come.

Keep Payment Forms Simple

Retailers should keep the information collected from consumer as minimal as possible. The less information that a hacker has access to the more difficult it becomes for them to make fraudulent purchases in the future.

If your business is diligent and aware of fraudulent risks, you can stop thieves before they gain access to personal payment information. You can protect you and your customers this holiday season (and every season) by taking the right precautions and stopping credit card fraud in its tracks.





Posted in Uncategorized on Dec 06, 2017