Written by Beth Kotz
19th April 2017 • 5 min read
With a majority of Americans now preferring to shop online and most adults making an online purchase at least once every month, there’s no question that e-commerce has experienced a period of explosive growth in recent years. Unfortunately, that growth has also made ecommerce a popular target for fraudsters and other criminals.
If you do business online, protecting your customers’ sensitive information is among your most essential tasks. Incidences of credit card fraud have increased by more than 33 percent in the last year alone, leaving customers vulnerable and threatening businesses with lax security standards. To ensure that your business isn’t among them, consider the following security tips below.
Monitor Suspicious Email Addresses
While it certainly isn’t a foolproof approach, keeping an eye on customer email addresses is a good first line of defense when it comes to spotting fraud. In particular, look for addresses that appear to be random, feature a name other than the customer’s given name or otherwise make no sense. Many would-be fraudsters employ randomly generated email addresses that are easily identifiable and flagging these suspicious addresses for further evaluation can considerably limit your risk.
Match Physical and IP Addresses
One of the defining characteristics of most fraudulent activity is that the locations often don’t match up. Be suspicious of any transaction coming from an IP address whose physical location is substantially different from the customer’s billing or shipping address. It’s also a good idea to block traffic coming from IP addresses located in countries to which you don’t ship, further reducing access from illegitimate visitors without impacting your ability to do business.
Use Fraud Profiling
No matter how prepared and cautious you may be when it comes to spotting credit card fraud, it’s always possible for something to slip through the cracks. If you do a large volume of business, or if your business is particularly vulnerable, you may consider enlisting the help of a fraud profiling service. Fraud profiling is a powerful way to identify suspicious or high-risk transactions by verifying IP and physical addresses, assessing customer transaction histories and more.
Require Security Codes
Along with other security features, every major credit card features a three- or four-digit security code located somewhere on the card itself. Called a CVV2, CVC2 or CID depending on the brand of card, this security code is not stored on the card’s magnetic strip and is more difficult for would-be criminals to access without possessing the card itself. Requiring the use of this code for each transaction won’t prevent fraud on its own but it’s a useful common-sense step to make things more difficult for fraudsters.
Update Your Software
One of the most common tactics for cyber criminals is targeting outdated software, which is why it’s essential that your cybersecurity plan includes keeping all software current and up to date. This is especially important if you host your own shopping cart, as vulnerabilities are often quickly identified and exploited. If your shopping cart and processing software are hosted externally, it’s worth contacting your host to verify that they have a strategy for keeping their software updated regularly.
Maintain PCI Compliance
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of standards designed to make processing and storing credit card data more secure for both customers and businesses. Any business that accepts credit cards must comply with the PCI standard even if they use a third-party payment processor, so be sure that you fully understand the regulations and that your business is in full compliance. You should also be aware that PCI DDS features four discrete compliance levels depending on the volume of credit card transactions you process.
Cybercrime represents a grave threat to both businesses and customers. A data breach can ruin your customers’ finances, compromise your business’s trustworthiness and expose you to massive liabilities. Fortunately, despite the seemingly ever-growing risk of cyberattacks on online businesses, fraudulent activity can often be identified and prevented with an appropriate security strategy. Implement the tips above and you’ll be well on your way to protecting your business and your customers.
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