Prevent Online
e-Commerce Fraud   

by Curtis Stevens          


WHEN THE INTERNET WAS BOOMING, media headlines were screaming about consumer safety and the possibility of their credit card numbers being stolen during the online purchasing process. With all of the new technology to ensure consumer safety, we still need to address the risk of the merchantís 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 merchant. Listed below are ten helpful tips ISOs can use educated their merchants about to protect them from online consumer fraud.

1. Carefully Review Orders
Whenever receiving an order, take extra time to review it carefully. Make sure the consumer correctly completed all information. Many fraudulent orders are caught by carefully reviewing things that just donít seem right.

2. Contact, Shipping & Credit Card Information
The consumerís contact information should match the shipping address and the credit card information. If it does not, find out why addresses or credit card contacts are different. This can be 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 consumerís information matches the information on the file with the card issuing bank (The credit card bank). If it is different, then it is possible, among other things, that the consumer has a partner involved with the order. Contacting the consumer to find out the exact reason is highly encouraged.

4. Free Email Addresses
The majority of scamsters will use a free email address to hide their identity. You can very easily find out if your consumer is using a free email provider by just visiting the web site domain that comes after the @ symbol. For example: [email protected], you can go to 1simple.com to see if that web site is an email provider like Hotbot or Yahoo. It is a good idea to require a real email address from their own domain or their ISP when they order. This can be accomplished by stating the requirement on order forms.



   5. Document All Contacts To give yourself greater protection and a bigger fighting chance against consumers, document all contacts you have with them. Keep all voice mails and emails, along with caller ID in order to prove 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 name as the email address. Take the same procedure as explained in tip #4, and use Network Solutionsí database to search for the records. The url can be found here. Their information might not completely match, 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. Very Large Orders Take special caution when receiving noticeably high orders, especially around holiday seasons. Also pay attention to orders that are sent by overnight delivery. Since the scamsters arenít paying for it, they do not care about the extra cost and want the order as fast as possible.

   8. Use Fraudulent Notices Place fraudulent notices, buttons and images on your order forms and your web site content. Let consumers know that fraudulent orders will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law. These notices 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 effective way to clear up all confusion is to call the consumer with the phone number they provided. If they gave you a bad phone number, then try contacting them via email for a valid phone number. Be very suspicious about this though, because most people usually donít give out wrong phone numbers unless it was mistyped.



Curtis Stevens is with Simple Solutions, a web hosting services and ecommerce solutions company, www.sshost.com/cgi-bin/rewards.cgi?tw or visit www.gotmerchant.com for a free online guide to accepting credit cards!