• BBB Business Tip: Watch for Fraudulent Online Purchases

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    July 14, 2020
    BBB® Tuesday Tip

    Fraudulent Online Purchases

    Could Hurt Your Small Business

    The sharp increase of online ordering, delivery services, and other internet commerce transactions is keeping some businesses afloat through the COVID-19 pandemic. BBB warns that despite the credit card companies shifting to chip-enabled cards to reduce instances of fraud, scammers still find ways to steal shoppers' information. This presents a big issue for any business that processes the stolen card through their credit card payment system. There are a few ways to protect your small business from costly charge-backs.
    One of the best ways to start is to review the agreement you signed with the credit card merchant, and ask for clarification on their policy regarding fraudulent purchases; it's important to know whether or not that is something they cover or if you are wholly responsible. Additionally, determine whether they require a customer to input a PIN or zip code to verify their identity at the point of purchase.
    Take the time to review your own internal policies with employees, and establish a set of steps to identify potential fraud. There are several red flags to watch for to help spot a potential scam:
    • Keep a close eye for unusually large orders, placed through the internet without any contact from the customer
    • Listen for a demand or repeated request for an urgent or rush order for large quantities of high-priced items to be shipped to different addresses or overseas
    • Look for transactions with similar account numbers or using multiple credit cards, all shipping to the same address.
    • Take note of multiple transactions on one card over a short period.
    • Watch to see if there are several transactions on a single card with one billing address, but multiple shipping addresses.
    • If possible, check if there are multiple payment cards used from a single IP address.
    • Orders from internet addresses that use free email services.
    • Customers requesting inventory lists with promises of placing a large order before the order is placed.
    • Orders with missing information, and/or customers who refuse to provide contact information.
    • First-time customers who exhibit some or all of the signs above.
    As a small business, connecting with customers and having a good business reputation is important, but keeping them safe can be just as critical, especially right now.
    Asking important questions and being vigilant about questionable sales can help keep your customers' information secure and keep your business in the black. When in doubt, don't send the order out! 
    Report a suspicious transaction to the credit card merchant as well as local law enforcement.
    Your BBB continues to remain open for you. You can reach us by email (info@nwfl.bbb.org) or by calling 850.429.0026/800.729.9226.
    BBB of Northwest Florida
    912 E. Gadsden Street
    Pensacola, FL 32501
    Tammy Ward, Communications Director
    tammy@nwfl.bbb.org, (850) 429-0002