Internet fraud is alive and well in cyberspace. Internet users around the world are at risk of being scammed by e-tailers who operate outside their own country or jurisdiction, according to a November 2004 survey about online payment fraud conducted by CyberSource, an electronic payments company with headquarters in Mountain View, California. The study found that U.S merchants expected to lose an estimated 2 billion dollars worth of revenue due solely to fraudulent transactions made over the internet last year – which was nearly 700 million more than 2003’s total losses!
According to the survey, midsize companies that make online sales between $500,000 and $5 million are among those hardest hit by fraud. This group expects a 2-2.5% loss of income due to fraudulent activity–a percentage point higher than in 2003 when they were only expected to lose 1%. According to Bruce Cundiff, who has been studying these crimes over time, the reason for this increase is twofold: “One,” he says, “is an increasing organization among the crime community which allows them more efficient perpetration.”
According to recent research conducted by Jupitermedia Corp., hard times have fallen on many midsize businesses as much larger firms take profits from their efforts. These business owners feel cheated because while some blame circumstances. With threats of hacking and malware on the rise, larger businesses are often among the first to implement stricter security measures. This is why smaller companies without sufficient fraud protection mechanisms in place risk being exploited by modern-day thieves who look for easy targets.
You can fight back against payment fraud with the help of basic yet effective tools. One such tool is an address verification system that matches street numbers on a customer’s billing address to those found through your credit card company. Suppose there is any disparity in these addresses. In that case, it may indicate someone who isn’t authorized to make this purchase has stolen or otherwise compromised their card information and used it for fraudulent purposes.
Studies have shown that the best way to prevent online credit card fraud is through verification codes. Verification services require customers to enter their code before making any purchase, so they need more than just your card number to buy anything from you; they also need access to your physical card, which contains a security code on its back and front. These companies offer various levels of protection for an annual fee between $20-60 per month plus setup fees.
Utility Safeguard LLC is a Southampton, Pennsylvania, company that sells construction supplies to industrial companies and distributors. The use of fraud-detection services like Payflow Pro from VeriSign has increased their sales by nearly $2 million in the past year alone!
Inventive entrepreneur Jim Graham has created a new system that radically changes the way small and medium-sized businesses handle credit card transactions. “The idea behind it was to make sure our customers have an excellent experience with us,” says Graham about his creation, which he began using in 2002. This revolutionary software requires all employees at the store (who are not managing other tasks) must be available while waiting for approval of payment from financial institutions before they can move on to their next task. The result? Customers don’t feel rushed or pressured into making purchases during checkout because there’s no need for them to enter any personal information until after they’ve selected what items they want and collected their receipt later when scanning through online banking accounts.”
Many merchants are still taking the old school route in today’s digital age and not investing in advanced fraud protection services. Electronic products are easily resold on sites such as eBay or Craigslist. It is important to use a gateway provider that offers real-time filters for suspicious activity that can be customized based on your needs. The cost ranges from $30-$1500 per month with additional setup fees of up to $1,500 depending on what you need to be done, but I think it’s worth every penny!
Graham has a lot of experience in the business and knows that it is best to make sure your freight carrier obtains signatures before sending out any products. He also insists international customers prepay through wire transfer because it’s hard for them to get their money back if there are problems with delivery abroad.
CyberSource recommends that web merchants design websites that are more fraud-resistant by implementing measures like making the “back” button on a browser no longer work once you press buy and thanking customers without telling them whether their card has been accepted.
Dolcourt says that you should take action before a problem arises. If you want to avoid experiencing any financial difficulties from fraud, speak with your payment processors and get them to train you in the basics of online fraud. It’s also essential for merchants to stay involved with industry groups such as the Merchant Risk Council because this group follows trends in fraudulent activity to lessen it by implementing good practices into their daily routines.