More and more e-commerce merchants are sharpening their customer service skills. About 83 percent of them — up 12 percent from a year ago — are conducting manual reviews on sales made through their websites.
Customer support has always been an important part of any e-commerce business. With rising instances of friendly fraud and CNP fraud, it is now a necessity; particularly, when there are instances of questionable purchases.
At the 2016 CNP Expo, we sat through a track titled Optimizing the Manual Review Process, in which a panelist of experts from the likes of Game Stop, Lowes, MacSales, Forter and CyberSource detailed precautions merchants can take when purchases are seemingly fraudulent.
Firstly, it’s all about identifying the red flags:
6 Signs of Fraudulent Purchases That Require Manual Reviews
- Purchases at 3 a.m.: It signals the purchase is coming from overseas – which is entirely possible – and warrants investigating.
- Bulk Purchases: Sudden purchases made in bulk, with expedited shipping, indicate the ‘buyer’ wants a lot of the goods — and fast. It is a red flag sign of a counterfeit or stolen credit card, where there is a short window to buy.
- Speaking of Expedited Shipping: We’re not saying that every item purchased with expedited shipping is fraudulent, but it does warrant a second look.
- Different Shipping Addresses, Same Credit Card: Again, there is a short window for a credit card that is stolen or counterfeit. The fraudster is trying to maximize that window.
- Same Address, Different Credit Cards: This tactic indicates the fraudster purchased stolen credit card numbers from a rogue online site and is trying to capitalize.
- Multiple Forms of Payment: When the buyer has exceeded his credit limit and offers to pay the remainder with another card, a cash advance or other method.
5 Manual Review Tactics to Ascertain Fraudulent Purchases
1. Have a Conversation
‘How’s the weather there?’
‘What will you use this for?’
‘Just wanted to confirm the shipping method you requested.’
Each is a very effective question/statement when a merchant suspects a fraudulent purchase when conducting manual reviews. Before contacting a customer by phone, it is a good idea to look up the weather in the location of the buyer. If the customer has a different answer than yours, it is likely they are in a different location than they’re saying.
Likewise for the other two statements. A merchant’s intuition from a simple conversation can decide between fraud and validity.
2. Ask About the Shipping
One tactic for a merchant is offering faster (more expensive) shipping. If the customer indicates indifference, it raises a red flag.
3. Require an ID for Pickup
If a customer cannot produce valid identification when retrieving the goods at a merchant site or shipping location, it is likely the purchase was made fraudulently.
4. Do You Think They’ll Call?
When a suspect order is declined on the basis of fraud, customers are free and encouraged to call the phone number on the merchant’s website. If they don’t bother to call, said one of the panelists, it is very likely a failed fraudulent attempt.
5. Never Do This
When conducting a manual review, merchants should never admit to the buyer that they suspect fraud. Instead, merchants should offer to expedite the shipping and verify information such as the address, e-mail and phone number of the buyer. With that, merchants can gauge the legitimacy of the purchase.
What are your tactics for underwriting purchases on your e-commerce website? Let us know with your comments below.