The best merchant account providers offer their merchants not only solutions but guidance. For us, mitigating fraud in all its forms is of the utmost importance. We want to keep your business processing transactions.
Not that e-commerce fraud knows any ‘seasons,’ but we can look at a calendar and pinpoint when certain types of fraud will peak. For example:
- Mid-November is about when the purchase and use of stolen credit card data peaks, with hopeful fraudsters looking to capitalize while remaining hidden in the mayhem of holiday online shopping.
- Late December and January are the months when chargeback fraud reaches peak levels, with online shoppers keeping their wares, yet falsely claiming they were never delivered.
- February to April sees the most instances of tax fraud.
- The summer months find consumers on vacation, shopping or worse, paying bills online using public wifi, with hackers ready to pounce and steal credit card data for a shopping spree.
Recently we read an outstanding piece in Digital Transactions about back-to-school fraud, and it got us thinking about all the types of fraud that escalate this time of year. As the summer days will soon turn a little cooler here in New England, it’s not just back-to-school fraud consumers need to consider, but several other types of fraud.
This back-to-school fraud thing? It’s real
The best merchant account providers know that fraudsters should be treated as strategic, intelligent and crafty thinkers unfortunately applying their trade in a dubious way. They apply their misdeeds more in certain times of year than others. Some aim to score anonymously in the rush to purchase back-to-school items online, similarly to the holiday shopping season. Back-to-school merchants must be intelligent with their fraud screening this time of year – recognizing return customers and IP addresses and flagging IPs located in different countries.
Recently we wrote about a dubious trend called BOPIS fraud, in which criminals purchase items on the website of a large retailer (usually with stolen credentials), opt for pickup at a nearby location, cancel the order in the parking lot, yet retrieve the items before the store is alerted of the cancellation and disappear into anonymity.
While the BOPIS option has provided brick and mortars with a lucrative and convenient option for all parties, criminals are capitalizing too.
European Soccer, NFL and online ticket fraud: ‘Tis the season
Though located in the U.S., Instabill staffers are big fans of England’s Premier League. We’ve also a few staff members who love the NFL (This is Patriots country, after all).
One year ago we blogged about online ticket fraud and how instances of such rose 55 percent from 2014 to 2017 in the U.K. Specifically, U.K. consumers lost $5.2 million in 2015 alone, 26 percent to consumers who ‘thought’ they were purchasing legitimate tickets to sporting events.
Consumers bypassing first-hand ticket sellers such as TicketMaster or LiveNation must take precautions before buying, such as avoiding sites such as CraigsList.com or even Facebook (where fake profiles pop up like weeds). When searching for tickets to a game, show or any event, legitimate ticket resellers – we process payments for several of them – possess the following characteristics:
- Secure website (look for the ‘padlock’ symbol and ‘https’ in the URL)
- Contact information: Having a phone number, email address, live chat option and/or a built-in messaging form are recommended; actually, any online retailer with less than three of the four should be considered suspect.
- Refund and privacy policies: Refund/return and privacy policies should be prominent on merchant websites. If not, we urge consumers to seek a more legitimate reseller or settle for watching the game on television.
Soon, the NBA and NHL seasons will commence, with online ticket fraudsters ready to strike.
Bogus deals for long weekends
We also see travel-related fraud cases this time of year, what with the long weekends of Labor Day and Columbus Day, and consumers in four-season locales itching for last ditch getaways before the temperatures sink. Travel buffs should be on the lookout for bogus weekend packages advertising deals too good to be true. Instead, an inquiry to a travel agent about the best weekend getaways on Cape Cod, the Hamptons or Adirondacks is a smart and safe move.
The best merchant account solutions for e-commerce businesses
With all this talk about seasonal fraud, Instabill offers the best merchant account services for the aforementioned industries – ticket reselling businesses, travel as well as online retail merchant services for school supplies and many others business types. Better, we offer live, one-on-one customer support and will walk you through the merchant onboarding process.
Once approved, our relationship is just the beginning, as our dedicated merchant account managers remain on hand as consultants for the entirety of our relationship. Have that conversation today at 1-800-530-2444.