Christmas, Black Friday, the January sales – a trio of shopping sprees that bring joy to retailers’ hearts. But the season known as the ‘Golden Quarter’ also sees opportunistic fraudsters make the most of retailers being busy – and potentially distracted.
These top tips from Elavon’s Senior Regional Fraud Manager Brian Kinsella are a great way to stay a step ahead of the criminals and avoid your business becoming a victim, whatever time of year it is.
So read on and don’t let your business fall foul of the fraudsters.
Fraudsters try to take advantage of busy shops and will try to distract you when a purchase is being made. While the card is being entered into a machine, the scammer cancels the original sale before it is fully processed, and instead issues themselves a refund. Be wary of attempts to distract your staff and double check the final receipt once it has been printed. If you spot that a fraudulent refund has been processed, contact Customer Services who will show you how to void that transaction.
Any business with a card machine can fall victim to this kind of fraud. But, if your store is particularly busy, you’re more likely to be a target.
Playing on your emotions
In card-not-present fraud, the criminal calls up to place an order using stolen details and pays over the phone. Often, they will appeal to your softer side, spinning a tale about buying in bulk for Christmas or making a charitable donation.
After the items have been supplied to the fraudster, the genuine cardholder files a chargeback request. But by this point, the criminal is long gone – leaving you to repay the cost of the items to the cardholder, as well as the chargeback fee.
A variation of this scam is to arrange for a courier to collect the order, adding a layer of anonymity as no delivery address is given. The outcome remains the same: a chargeback request is raised and you’re left out of pocket.
Likely retail targets
Brian said: “We often see that the targets of these frauds are toy shops, electronic stores or bicycle retailers, with the scammer typically ordering that year’s ‘must have’ gift or gadget.
“Interestingly, butchers also face frequent attempts to defraud, often with a sob story, with the caller claiming to have been let down by a supplier for a party and placing a large order for meat at short notice.”
Retailers who stock alcohol face a similar threat, with fraudsters claiming supplier problems in the face of an upcoming party before ordering large quantities of alcohol, Brian added.
What to look out for
New customers looking to purchase large orders over the phone
Customers looking for goods to be delivered ASAP – they might even organise a courier themselves
Buyers are not too concerned about price, availability or the specific details of the products ordered
They offer up multiple cards when a transaction is declined
Three steps to prevent you becoming a victim
- Think through the order. Does it make sense that they are ordering this volume of a product?
- Ask the customer to call into the store and pay by chip and PIN
- Avoid card-not-present transactions where possible; use Pay By Link instead.
And always think: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.