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What Types of Businesses are Most Vulnerable to Online Payment Fraud?

  by Isaac Thuku  
  Online payment Fraud  
  image courtesy of  

Online payment fraud refers to a false or illegal transaction by a cybercriminal with the aim of depriving the victim of funds or information. Recent advancement in technology has led eCommerce businesses to rely heavily on electronic money transfers to settle payments and the increase of online transactions has also seen a steady rise in fraudulent activities.

Online payment solutions have made it easier for individuals to make payment across the globe thus boosting the aspect of eCommerce. However, making payments online comes with certain challenges with online payment fraud taking the top position. New technologies have created various platforms and payment options that one can go to when making purchases online.

Businesses are designing new and advanced security measures to help curb online payment fraud but on the other hand, cyber criminals are working hard to circumvent those measures. As a result, businesses have been losing more and more of their annual revenues over the years. It is therefore best that businesses understand the different types of fraud they may be prone to and come up with ways to counter them.

Phishing: Where sites require personal information such as credit card credentials. While there are some reputable sites that retain privacy, other sites may use the information to defraud you or divulge it to third parties.

Pagejacking: This is the malicious rerouting of traffic from a genuine web page to another page with the intent of defrauding the visitor. The visitor is led to belive that they are still using the genuine web page.

Identity theft is common with cyber criminals obtaining personal information from victims and using it without the knowledge of the victim to conduct transactions online.

Advanced fee and wire transfer scams involve hackers requesting for financial favors by lurring into believing that they will get some reward in return once they make the payment.

  While every online business is vulnerable to online payment fraud, some businesses are highly vulnerable and need to install better measures during transactions. Some of these businesses include:  

Digital Goods Retailers


Digital goods refer to non-tangible products such as music and digital gift cards. This will also vary between media and software. Digital goods retailers will sell products that are downloadable for sale. Businesses selling such goods are more prone to fraud because hackers will be found on the same platform selling the similar products in which case the payment ends up being made to the hacker rather than the retail supplier. These businesses will experience even more related crime from the sale of digital gift cards.

In the event that fraud occurs in this type of business, these retailers are bound to lose in two ways:

First, in the event the credit card was stolen, the money will be sent back to the to the card owner.

Secondly, the fraudster who made the initial purchase will later sell out the product to a different individual who will redeem it for merchandise. This means that the retailer will also loose on stock as the initial payment was cancelled but at this point, they will have to supply the merchandise.


International Businesses

  Running an international business also means that the target market is wider and the possibility of online payment fraud is also higher. Selling products overseas “international e-commerce” exposes the business to all sorts of hackers. The key challenges experienced in these type of business will usually include validating and verifying identity.  

Going international makes it difficult to validate and verify information about your client. There is also the aspect of individuals changing addresses from time to time. This has increased the number of fraud cases. Another key contributor is the different varying laws and restrictions in different states.

Different payment forms also increases the chances of fraud due to varying currencies.

It is therefore important that businesses protect themselves against fraudulent payments. Some measures that they can implement may include:

• Encrypting confidential information.

• Encouraging consumers to regularly change login information

• Run security checks on a regular basis

• Familiarize staff on the latest fraud trends to help create awareness

These two major types of businesses are more likely to suffer from online payment fraud than others. First, because there are a number of steps to complete a transaction as well as the fact that they are exposed to right about anyone. This leaves highly exposed to fraudsters. They also have a wide target market, which provides a challenge during instances of validation and verification of information provided when purchases are made. Online payment fraud eats into business profits as well as destroys consumer trust, which in turn cuts down sales. It is important that all businesses protect their reputation by being vigilant and employing highly secure measures in their operations.

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