by: Curtis Stevens, GotMerchant.com
When the Internet was booming, the media headlines were screaming about
consumers safety and the opportunity of their credit cards being stolen during the online purchasing process. With all the preventions that have taken place to ensure consumers’ safety, it has neglected the risk of the merchant’s safety from the consumer. Where is the protection of consumers defrauding merchants?
The last person in line of protection when it comes to Internet fraud is the merchants. Listed below is ten helpful tips that you can take action on to prevent yourself from consumer fraud.
1. Carefully Review Orders – Whenever you receive an order, take some extra time and review the order carefully. Make sure the consumer filled out all the information correctly, and that all of the customer’s information matches. If the order is a fraudulent order, in most cases you can catch anything that doesn’t seem right by just carefully reviewing the entire order.
2. Contact, Shipping & Credit Card Information – The customer’s contact information should match up with the information they used for the shipping address and the credit card. If this information
doesn’t match up, then you need to find out why they want the products
shipped to another address or use a credit card with different contact information. This is a very good sign of a scamster, but not in all cases.
3. Address Verification Service (AVS) – Provided by most merchant
processors, you can run the AVS service on all of your transactions to ensure that the information they gave you matches with the information
on the file with the card issuing bank. If this information doesn’t match, then special precaution is encouraged.
4. Free Email Addresses – The majority of scamsters will use a free email address to hide their identity. To find out if the email address they used is a free one, just visit the domain name after the @. For
example: Bob@hotbot.com – Go to Hotbot.com and you can usually tell if that is a free email service provider. It might be a good idea for you to require an email address from their ISP on your orders forms.
This way, you can save yourself time with the free email address. If they did use one, just email them and let them know what is required of them.
5. Document All Contacts – To give yourself greater protection and a bigger fighting chance against the consumers, document all contacts you have with them. Use caller ID, a voice mail box and keep all emails to show as proof in fighting your case.
6. Domain Name Records – One unknown trick is to look up the domain name records of the domain name they are using in their email address to see if it matches with what they provided in the order. This will only work if they have their own web site and used their own domain as
the email address. Take the same procedure as explained in tip #4, and use Network Solutions’ database to search for the records. The url can be found here: http://www.networksolutions.com/cgi-bin/whois/whois Their information might not completely match up, depending if something changed or if they are using a business address verses a home address, but you should get an idea, like in the same state or city.
7. Above Average Order Amounts – Take special caution when receiving
noticeably high orders, the amount of products or services they are purchasing, especially around holiday seasons. Also pay attention to orders that are sent buying over night deliver. Since the scamsters aren’t paying for it, they don’t care how much it costs, and want it as fast as possible.
8. Use Fraudulent Notices – Place fraudulent notices, buttons and images on your order forms and your web site content. Let the customers know that fraudulent orders will be pursed to the fullest extent of the law. By having these notices, it will usually run off most scamsters.
9. Telephone Search – You can purchase a database of phone numbers on a CD or you can use services such as http://www.anywho.com/ that will do a reverse search on a phone number for you. This will allow you to confirm the contact information for the phone number that the consumer has provided.
10. Call The Consumer – The last and usually the most affective way to
clear up all confusion, is to call the consumer with the phone number they provided. If the number they provided isn’t good, then try contacting the consumer via email for a valid phone number.
By using these tips, hopefully you will not experience any fraudulent
orders. If you are scammed, then take serious action, by following the order and prosecute the fraudulent consumer.
———- About The Author ———-
Article by Curtis Stevens, with Gotmerchant.com. Gotmerchant is an online merchant tutorial web site that shows people how they can accept credit cards for their business!