We are only a few weeks away from the holiday fraud madness. Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas are not only joyful moments filled with peace and calm but also amazing opportunities for fraudsters to refill their pockets with lots of money.

Each year starting November we are flooded with news about companies being tricked into sending expensive products to non-existing addresses or receivers that will never pay as well as customers that have their bank accounts emptied after shopping from a fake website. Yearly, CNP fraud spikes during the holiday shopping season and most likely 2018 will make no exception to this rule. Holiday fraud is one of the largest threats to both customers and ecommerce websites. In 2017, ecommerce fraud increased by 22% during the mentioned interval as compared to the previous year.

Fraud will never be totally eliminated, but there are a few things you can do to mitigate it and prevent being part of the fraud statistics for the season to come.

Ways to help prevent fraudsters from damaging your business

One of the most common types of attacks that occur during the holiday season is friendly fraud. Friendly fraud has a negative impact on your business because it involves lost merchandise, not cashing in and a lot of time spent for delivering and handling a transaction that proves to be fraudulent.

Now, an educated online retailer is a safer retailer, so the first thing you need to do is be aware of the existing threats and start preparing your website. Specifically, here’s what you need to do:

  • Pay attention to the size of the order and track it by country
  • If the buyer’s billing address does not match the address linked with the credit card they are using, it should be a red flag for you
  • Create a clear return policy and make it visible on your website; include details about guarantees, deadlines, restrictions, fees, etc
  • Consider using IP geo-location, device fingerprinting and bad customers lists – where possible, of course. In certain countries, the use of such lists might violate consumer protection laws
  • Constantly monitor your website and transactions; select fraud prevention systems that combine artificial and human intelligence – the chances of identifying a fraudulent transaction is higher in this case
  • Pay attention to your customer services
  • Review and update your internal fraud prevention practices to keep up with technology changes and latest scams

Online shopper? Know your weaknesses

Online and mobile shopping have accelerated over the last couple of years, so logically fraudsters will be there to follow the money. There are a few simple steps you can take to make sure you protect yourself:

  • Pay attention to the URL and website’s name – use only trustworthy and secure websites and login from a known network and safe locations
  • Avoid logging in from unknown devices and do not save your credit card details
  • Don’t click on links on e-mails, they might lead you to fake websites – if you really want to access a URL you’ve received in an e-mail, make sure you type it directly in your browser. Don’t forget to check it looks secure (https and lock symbol at the left-hand side of the search)
  • If you’re going with a new retailer, check online reviews from other shoppers – if there’s something fishy about it, you’ll probably find some details in the comments
  • Choose websites that have clear and detailed return policies and a a good customer service – there are more likely to be legitimate websites
  • Select strong passwords for your accounts, do not use the same one for all your accounts and consider using a password keeper
  • Regularly check your financial data and don’t hesitate contacting your bank or the authorities if you notice something unusual

Chances are you’ll still become a victim even though you take these preventive actions, but without them you’ll definitely not be able to avoid it. Fraudsters can come up with complicated algorithms to scam online retailers and shoppers, however, most of the times they don’t even have to struggle that much. Unprotected websites and careless shoppers are practically leaving the door open for them to come in and take what they want. Awareness and fraud prevention actions can make things more difficult for them and we all have the opportunity to contribute to a decline in holiday fraud.

What’s your plan for this year’s holiday fraud madness?

For more news on related topics follow me on Twitter and Facebook