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 MSPs consistently monitor suspicious transactions, often stopping crime in its 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 the point of sale fraud for your business. It will pay off majorly.

  1. Only Accept Cards If The Card Holder Is Present

This applies to face-to-face transactions only. There are no borrowing privileges with credit and debit cards, 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 card’s back.  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.

  1. 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 is the stripe 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 decline the transaction rather than manually key-in information from a damaged card.

  1. 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 on merchants’ side.

Employees need 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 your valued customers’ legitimate return needs 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. Ensuring that your return policies are very clear to both your employees and your customers will minimize this risk. 

  1. Do Your Due Diligence

Nobody knows your business as well as you do. When it comes to the end of your business’s payment, 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 an unusual transaction 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 manually running a $2,500 sale for a catered wedding. If you’re going to run an unusually large transaction, call ahead to let the 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.

  1. Customer Bullies Do Exist

As business owners, 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.  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 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 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. 

The international fraudulent landscape is ever-changing. Keep up to date with the latest information to protect your business. If you have any questions that your current Merchant Service Provider is not answering, you can always contact me. I will help steer you in the right direction or clear the smoke in any situation you may have or may have had. We also offer tools to prevent chargebacks that would be very helpful to your business.

Carlos Hernandez
Merchant Consultant
(888) 700-6516 ext300
carlosh@rsmerchantservices.com
rsmerchantservices.com