We’ve written several articles in the past on credit card fraud (read them here and here), and it’s unfortunately something that most business owners are all too familiar with. But how much do you know about credit card processing fraud? This is what happens when a scammer gets ahold of your business information instead of your customer’s. They open a fake processing account in your name, set up some terminals, and funnel funds to their own bank accounts. This type of fraud is on the rise. Here’s what to look for so you can protect yourself.
Guard Your Personal Data
The first thing the scammer will do in most cases of credit card processing fraud is steal the personal data of you, the business owner. They’ll get your name, address, SSN, and contact information, then do a little digging to come up with other details to make their scam seem more believable. They’ll pose as you as they fill out an application with a processor, and in some extreme cases will even forge a driver’s license if the processor asks for that. The best defense here is to follow the same best practices you know you should to protect your identity in the first place. Change all your online passwords, and have a unique one for each website. Check your credit reports regularly. Don’t give out your personal information. Shred documents with personal information on them when you’re done with them. Sign up for an identity theft protection service. While these measures won’t guarantee you won’t become a victim, you’ll at least be a pretty tough target.
Guard Your Business Data
The second step in the scammer’s credit card processing fraud master plan is to get as much information as possible on your business. They’ll find out your tax ID number, legal business name, and other pertinent details they need to successfully prove to a credit card processor that they really do have control of your business. Protecting your business data can be a little bit tricky because so much of it is publicly available – even your EIN and business ownership information can be easily found with a simple Google search. That doesn’t mean you should give up the fight, however, and many of the tips to protect your business data are the same as for your personal information. Change your passwords frequently. Invest in a shredder. Limit who at your business has access to legal and financial information. Check your credit reports regularly. The more involved you are in keeping track of your business data, the less likely it will be to fall into the wrong hands.
React Quickly to Suspicious Circumstances
The best way to spot credit card processing fraud before it becomes a major issue for your business is to be vigilant. Shiny terminals just arrived in the mail? Don’t hook them up without calling your processor. We’ve had two clients tell us recently that they received brand new terminals in the mail from other processors. When they called, they learned that these accounts had been set up fraudulently. Even scarier, in both cases the new devices were mobile swipers, not big countertop terminals. That means the scammer was counting on the business owner saying, “oh, neat!” and seeing the new devices as handy additions to their credit card processing strategy. They were further counting on the business owner not asking questions and just starting to process cards on the little swipers. Guess where that money is going? Right into the scammers’ pockets. The bottom line is that if something seems fishy or sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t assume that you just missed an email or that someone else at your business placed the order. Double and triple check before you get scammed.
An Ounce of Prevention….
We’re always on the offense when it comes to credit card processing fraud, arming our customers with the knowledge they need to protect themselves. If your current processor isn’t doing the same, it’s time to make a switch. Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’d love to show you why we’re a different kind of credit card processor.
PS – Should you ask for ID before making a credit card sale? Read this first.
PPS – Do you really need to get a signature on that receipt? Check this out.