By: Javi Calderon
on Friday, January 28, 2011
How to Protect Your Business from Credit Card Fraud
The Internet is a beautiful and vast sea of knowledge that brings people and information together at the click of a button. Any product you might possibly want to buy is available on the web, any question you might have, the Internet will have an answer. There’s no more mystery to life, there’s only Wikipedia
For all the advantages and facility the Internet affords us, today’s world of ultra-connectivity is equally ripe with danger and deceit. Unfortunately, the Internet is a two-sided sword, and the very characteristics that allow you and me to connect with friends, locate information, and buy and sell products effortlessly, also give dishonest people an easy vehicle for scamming and defrauding the innocent.
Think about this: the typical American has every conceivable piece of sensitive personal information out there, floating – Securely? Hopefully? – in cyberspace. Your IP address already identifies you, your computer and your address. No mysteries there. If you’ve ever purchased anything online, or paid a utility bill, there’s your credit card number. Have you ever filled out a government or work related form online? Or filed your taxes? Because now you’re social security number is out there too.
Not to mention your Emails! Or the fact that just by looking at what websites you visit someone who have never met you can get a pretty accurate picture of your interests, and even your age, sex, occupation and financial status. As you can see, not only does the Internet make information, products and people easily available to you, it makes you incredibly vulnerable to anyone with a little computer knowledge and a taste for taking advantage of people. These charming people are known as hackers.
Small business owners who provide services to their customers online should be ware that Visa has reported a rise in hackers gaining access to client/ customer information and merchant accounts. In fact, just this week fraudulent scams involving Visa credit cards have been reported in Virginia
. Visa has beefed up their fraud detection practices in response.
Hackers are using a variety of schemes, including sending official looking Emails that ask for login names and passwords, to gain access to user accounts. Then they’re transferring credit from user credit cards to bank accounts and debit cards they have established for this purpose. This technique is called phishing.
Having fishy – excuse the pun – activity going on with customer accounts is sure to cost you business, and added headaches from your customer service line ringing off the hook.
Protect yourself and your business by educating yourself on popular hacking schemes. Also, make sure your Internet security software and anti-virus
software are up to date. Viruses, Trojans and worms can also debilitate your business and pray on customer private information.
Finally, advise your customers to create strong passwords that include a combination of numbers, lower case and upper case letters. The days of “first name” followed by 123 are long gone. Make your customers change their passwords regularly and keep current logs of purchases and amounts so you can tell immediately if any fraudulent behavior is going on.
As an individual consumer and as a small business owner the best way to stay safe is to be careful of whom you share personal information with, stay informed, and be alert.