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What Tell Tale Signs to look for in E-Commerce Fraud

  by Isaac Thuku  

Modern society is plagued with cases of deceit and fraud. Before we get into the tell tale signs to look out for, it is best to first define what ecommerce fraud is.

Fraud, loosely defined is the use of deception to obtain something valuable or money. Some individuals use physical fraud method (this is where they interact face to face with people) while others prefer to use online fraud as they are able to orchestrate an attack from behind a laptop or personal computer. E-commerce fraudsters use scheming methods which threaten corporate security and personal information.

In ecommerce industry, fraud has been ranked as one of the biggest problems faced as fraudsters are using latest technology to get away with as much criminal activities as possible. According to EMC’s security division, RSA, one out of every seven payment cards used in the States was exposed in a data breach in 2013.

  It is incredibly difficult to detect fraudulent transactions – approximately 50 percent of online retailers have said that it is difficult to keep up with fraud methods and trends. So, what can one do to protect themselves against such cybercrime? The best thing one can do to identify E-commerce fraud is look out for red flags. Such tell tale signs include:  

Multiple Orders from same IP address

  If you receive multiple orders placed within the same minute, hours, or same day and seems to be ordered from one device, one address, or one user ID, be wary. Most online payment accounts capture IP addresses when a purchase is made. As a business owner, it is up to you to carefully review this information on a regular basis and if you happen to come across many separate transactions from same IP address; this is a tell tale sign of ecommerce fraud.  

Large Orders from New Customer

  Most businesses tend to know who their big customers are or they have contact with a new customer prior to a large order being placed. For example; if your average transaction is $500 and you suddenly see $2,000 from an unknown customer, its best to play it safe and refuse transaction because as they say; if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!  

Lots of Small Transactions with Same Card

  It is normal to see perhaps two different transactions from a customer – this can happen when they either forgot to purchase an item or they purchased something they were not planning to. However, if you start to see four, five, and above transactions with the same card over a short period of time, you should investigate further as this is another tell tale sign of fraudulent activity.  

Conflicting Customer Information

  First thing you as a business owner should do is look closely at customer information. Does it match? Are there any conflicts? Do messages get delivered to the provided email ID? Granted that you might not be a techie person, there are some simple ways to find out whether provided information is authentic. One easy way to do this is by comparing provided email ID with customer’s name. Many personal email ID’s bear some resemblance to a purchaser’s name. Also, if you contact that customer and they respond to your email, this is a good sign. However, be wary if your message does not get delivered.  

Unfamiliar International Shipments

  For example, if you have never had an order from India in the past 3 years and you suddenly receive four or more orders in a week’s time, you should assume that this is not a legitimate order. International shipment tell tale signs can be you receiving multiple orders within a short period of time from a country you have never conducted business in before.  

Unreasonable Shipping Fees

  When you get an order for $50 worth of goods and a customer is willing to pay $120 to ship – does this make any sense to you? It is highly unlikely for customers to be more than willing to spend more on shipping fee than a product itself.  

Declined Transactions

  If you receive multiple declined transactions in a short period of time from the same card, it might be best to block any future transactions from that card.  
  When it comes to tell tales signs in e-commerce fraud, you need to be alert and keep an eye out for any transactions that do not sit well with you. There are many other warning signs but as a business owner, it’s best to follow your instincts if you are unsure about a certain order – you never know if that transaction might be the downfall of your business.  
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