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4 Steps Businesses Can Take to Reduce Credit Card Fraud

Gary Satanovsky

As credit cards continue to supplant cash and checks as the preferred method of payment, credit card fraud commensurably rises as well. Hardly a week goes by without a discovery of some large-scale credit card fraud rings. Indeed, the most recent definitive survey of fraud effects on business, carried out by Lexis-Nexis last year, found that credit cards accounted for half of the fraudulent transactions suffered by merchants. The cumulative yearly cost of credit card fraud to merchants comes out to $100 Billion – accounting just for reimbursements to customers and fees to banks. Factor in the costs of replacing stolen merchandise and the loss nearly doubles!

To curb the rising threat of credit card fraud and keep losses to a minimum, here are 4steps businesses can take.

  1. Inform yourself. Stay on top of the latest news and trends within credit card fraud and the commonly associated crime of identity theft. Has there been a virtual break-in to Visa's card customer files? Then expect to see a rash of fake Visa transaction attempts.

  2. Establish an anti-fraud program. Train yourself and employees handling credit card payments on the best procedures to detect and deter would-be fraudsters. Some easily implemented measures can include:

  • Checking customer ID with every purchase (independently test the ID during the transaction using UV)

  • Paying close attention to the signature panel of the card – a smeared, discolored signature or taped-over / glued-on paper usually indicates some kind of tampering.

  • Watching out for suspicious customer behavior. This includes not only the obvious, like unusual nervousness and shiftiness, but also unusual purchasing pattern – multiple expensive items or a wide variety of different valued item
  1. DO NOT assume you can spot the fakes just by looking at them. If you take away one lesson on credit card fraud protection, it should be this. A credit card can be in every way authentic – that is, look official, match the customer ID and swipe through the register just fine – and still be a fake. Fraudsters have gotten very good over the years at stealing customer identities and programming them into the magnetic strips of self-manufactured credit cards. They have a harder time with magnetic strips of ID's, but hardly any store is equipped to scan those, while on the surface it would be hard to tell.

    verify id         financial fraud

  2. Only specialized scanners can reveal anti-fraud features of real credit cards, which typically have writing or watermarks unseen with the naked eyed. Placed under a UV light, those marks are illuminated, showing you are dealing with a genuine article.

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