Do You Know How to Identify Suspicious Credit Card Activity?

International ecommerce account

Approximately 76% of college students in the United States had credit cards in 2012, according to Statistic Brain. For the sake of your business you might consider this statistic a blessing, but as a credit card merchant, you know that accessibility to credit cards comes with its own security risks. Credit card processing solutions have become more technologically advanced and secure over the years, but to the same degree, those who would commit credit card fraud have also improved on their techniques and the technology that they use. Fortunately, one of the easiest ways to combat fraud is to be aware of what it looks like. In many cases, it starts with suspicious activity.

What constitutes suspicious activity?

Here are several situations that might tip you off to someone who is using a fraudulent or stolen credit card.

  • A large purchase that includes a very wide variety of product, in varying prices, colors, sizes, and styles.
  • Distracting sales associate, or rushing a sale.
  • Using a credit card and asking for cash back.
  • Attempts at bribing the cashier.
  • Making more than one purchase in the same day.
  • Purchasing product right before the store closes, or just when it opens.

While these are not the only indications of suspicious or fraudulent activity, neither are they definite proof of the same.

What should you do if you notice suspicious use of debit and credit cards?

To a degree, what you do next depends on which cards you accept. If you suspect credit card fraud, you can alert the credit card company by making a coded call to them. For Visa, merchants can make a “Code 10” call to alert the real cardholder as well as the company of suspicious transactions. Your credit card processor may also have some valuable tips. In rare instances, you may want to hold the card and notify authorities.

What else can you do to protect your business and your customers?

Adhering to the regulations and standards set for PCI compliance is one excellent step to take in securing credit card transactions. PCI compliance is actually required if you are a credit card merchant, but many merchants simply go through the motions in order to check off the boxes. By assessing your business practices and technology, and taking steps to correct vulnerabilities that PCI DSS has targeted, you can be better prepared.

A responsible credit card merchant will also know what fraudulent cards look like. As the business owner, it falls to you to protect both your business, and customers. You and your cashiers must be on the watch for fraudulent activities, or attempts to steal credit card information. You can start by being aware of customer behavior, making sure to report suspicious behavior, and keeping PCI DSS compliant. Your credit card processing provider will also have tips to help you maintain security for the benefit of everyone involved. Read more about this topic at this link.