Best Practices For Reducing Fraud and Catching Common Scams This Holiday Season

The holiday season is almost upon us.
Unfortunately, credit card fraud and holidays always seem to go together.

In the United States, data breaches are a serious and lingering problem. It puts businesses at risk and endanger’s customers’ financial details.

Data theft takes identity fraud goes 100x.

The scariest part in all of this is that North America is one of the worst places in the world for incidences of data breaches.

In fact, 72% of data breaches in the world happen in North America. For example, here are some of the largest breaches of recent years:

  • Ebay was hacked and 145 million records were accessed.
  • JP Morgan and Chase had 83 million records accessed.
  • Home Depot has 109 million records accessed.
  • Domino’s Pizza experienced 650,000 records accessed

This shows no company is immune from cyber crooks and they’re willing to target anyone. And it shows that merchants need to take data breaches seriously, they need to implement security and protection processes that prevent data breaches.

Data breaches affect any merchant, big or small. Given that the holiday season is fast approaching, you can be sure that hackers are going to be looking to breach merchants.

In fact, it’s typical that fraud attempts and data breaches in general increase during the holiday season so merchants need to be ever more careful about fraud and take precautions to prevent it and protect their customers.

Did You Know: 40% of each year’s online credit card fraud occurring during the months of October, November, and December.

The good news is there are specific steps you can take to reduce both of these types of fraud in your business.

Here are 7 Best Practices for Protecting Your Business

  1. Make sure your POS terminals are EMV compliant.
  2. Encourage customers who use EMV cards to use their PIN.
  3. Train your employees on how to spot suspicious looking credit cards.
  4. If in doubt, ensure employees check the ID of the customer.
  5. (Online or Phone) Keep an eye out for multiple transactions from the one card in a short period of time.
  6. (Online or Phone) Make sure you always ask for the CVV2 number
  7. (Online or Phone) Be aware if too multiple orders cards are being used from the same IP address.

And for consumers, Here are the most common scams to look out for

Gift Card Scams

Gift cards are incredibly popular during the holiday season especially around major holidays like Christmas. And this has made them a very popular target for cyber criminals especially because many gift cards by retailers contain lax security procedures.

Most gift cards have a magnetic stripe on the back just like with the old-fashioned magnetic stripe credit cards we were all so familiar with. And just like the magnetic stripe credit cards, the magnetic stripe gift cards are also incredibly easy to hack into.

Cyber criminals only need to access the digital information from the gift card and once it has been activated by the unsuspecting consumer, they then start emptying it of all its funds. Most of the time, consumers have no idea what has even happened.

There are a couple of methods cyber crooks use when targeting gift cards. One is to collect the information in store on gift cards with a mag scanner. The other is via email. They’ll send emails telling consumers that they can purchase a gift card at a discount if they reply to the email with their credit card details.

Delivery Scams

Delivery scams catch many unsuspecting victims off guard.

This is one is primarily executed via email. Scammers will send an email saying that your holiday package has arrived at the postal office. Then it will say that a courier was unable to deliver it to you and you need to print off a label then go into the postal office to collect the package.

What they do is include a link at the bottom of the email When you click on the link, malware hacks into your computer and steals your financial and personal information.

The reason this specific scam is successful is because obviously during the holiday season, consumers are going to be expecting to receive gifts in the mail. Many don’t even question such an email and they often ‘appear’ to be from shipping companies like FedEx and UPS.

The key here is to NEVER click on the link if you receive any of these emails.

Loan Scams

Many people end up short of cash holiday season and this makes them easy victims to cyber crooks using loan scams.

This is a very simple one that has a high success rate simply because of the time of year it occurs in. What happens is that scammers will send you an email claiming that they’re a representative of a big bank. The email will tell you to click a link where you can then apply for a short term loan.

You’ll be taken to a legitimate looking website and prompted for your personal details and credit card information. As soon as you enter this information, you’ve been hacked. Sometimes, the scammers will even contact you via phone as well to get an upfront deposit.

This is a very cunning scam that is very effective because of the way it’s framed around the holiday season. The bottom line is don’t click on links in any emails claiming it’s from a bank.

If you can follow these  best practices and look out for common scams you and your customers will greatly reduce any fraud this coming holiday season.

To learn more additional payment security solutions to protect your customers and business- Contact MiCamp Today!