Six Good Rules of Thumb

Criminals are always looking for easy prey.  For a victim that will make their mission easy as possible. In this case, this means uninformed merchants.

The good news is that credit card security has advanced today with the EMV Chip Card technology. 

Processors  and MSP’s consistently monitor suspicious transactions often stopping crime in it’s place as avoiding point of sale fraud. However, technology is only one part of the puzzle. In store credit card fraud remains to be a menace to merchants and  consumers. Employees often aren’t trained to detect red flags as they happen. As criminals discover these locations they hit a gold mine.

Integrate  these following 6 practices into your own policies and  procedures for avoiding point of sale fraud for your business. It will pay off majorly.

1. Only Accept Cards If The Card Holder Is Present

With credit and debit cards, there are no borrowing privileges, no matter the relation to the cardholder. 

The only authorized user of a credit or debit card is the actual cardholder  whose name is on the front and signature is on the back of the card.  There are no exceptions. By accepting payment without verifying ID, you could be setting yourself up for a fraudulent chargeback. Simple due diligence that takes seconds can save you time, money, and headaches down the road.

2. Be Wary Of Accepting Physically Damaged Cards

A common credit card scam occurs when cards  are presented that are defaced. When criminals intentionally do this to the card, not only the stripe is impossible to read, but the chip cannot  be inserted to be captured. 

Counterfeit cards are usually damaged to bypass their anti-fraud features. If you have a credit card terminal, swipe or insert every card that’s handed to you, no matter how damaged or badly worn. Let it be a red flag when customers let you know right away that their card won’t read. There’s usually something up with that card. It’s your business you need to  protect so simply ask for another card or cash, or just decline the transaction rather than manually key-in information from a damaged card.

3. Beware Of Fraudulent Returns

In 2017, 10.8 percent of all merchandise returns in the U.S. were fraudulent. From the return of stolen  products, employee return fraud, or counterfeit receipts, return fraud  remains a thorn in merchants side.

It’s  extremely important for employees to have the proper training in handling returns. Criminals often know who a weak link is that they can   exploit. Your company’s return policies need to be clear to not only  consumers, but your employees as well. With a little effort, you can  deliver on the legitimate return needs of your valued customers while  keeping guard in the fight against  fraud. If something doesn’t seem  right with a return, put on the brakes.

 Tightening  up some loose ends and implementing common sense procedures and training the people that enforce them will pay off big in reduced chargebacks from fraudulent returns. Making sure that your return  policies are very clear to both your employees and your customers will  minimize this risk. 

4. Do Your Due Diligence

Nobody knows your business as well as you do. When it comes to the payments end of your business, Merchant Service Providers can also identify red flags. Your business transactions are continuously monitored by the processor for fraudulent activity, as they learn the payment patterns of your business.

If you need to run a transaction that is unusual for your business, call your merchant provider’s sales office or after hours help desk first. If you are a full service restaurant that typically does $50 transactions, call your processor before you manually run a $2,500 sale for a catered wedding. If you’re going to run an unusually large transaction, call ahead to let processor know what you’re doing. Knowing why payment red flags are raised will help you use good judgment on  legitimate transactions that fall outside your regular business patterns.

5. Customer Bullies Do Exist

As a business owner, our customers are our life’s blood when trying to become successful. Therefore the adage “the  customer’s always right” is often our motto. However, there are  instances when this doesn’t hold true.  Bullies exist not only on the  playground, but in the business place as well. Bullies sometimes harass your hard-working staff, and they are not only those committing fraud.  Fraudsters will often intimidate a cashier by starting up a ruckus at the sales counter.  Fraudsters will try to rush the cashier with intention to produce a mistake at the register, complain about the service, or anything to keep the cashier’s attention off the credit card authorization. Don’t let customer bullies have their way with your business. Empower your workers to always make sure the correct protocol is followed when authorizing every credit and debit transaction. Customer bullies may not be a front for fraud, but it is definitely a red flag raised. 

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