It’s the Holidays, So Here are 7 Ways to Protect Yourself from Online Fraud

Dec 12, 2017 | Stephen Jackson

As we enter the time of shorter days, boozier dinners, and nostalgic tunes from the public domain, anyone who runs their own e-commerce site is also deep in the busiest time of their year.

But while the big guys like Amazon and Macy’s are armed to the teeth with cybersecurity measures, smaller online retail operations might not be as well-equipped to handle the seedy underbelly of the online shopping revolution: online fraud.

In fact, a recent report found that global fraud attempts increased by 31 percent during the 2016 holiday shopping season. This is a trend that’s almost sure to continue upwards. Let’s take a moment to go over some things you can do to protect your online business from those thieving digital elves and their tiny, fraudulent credit cards.

Use a Trusted E-Commerce Platform

To be honest, this is the most important one, since trusted platforms — while not foolproof — have all sorts of security measures already in place, and there are tons to choose from. Shopify seems to be the heavy-hitter these days for small businesses, but you should also look into others such as Stripe and Highwire. Also, Payza is apparently good for international orders.

Tracking Numbers Are Your Friend

The majority of e-commerce platforms won’t make you use tracking numbers with all your orders, and this can allow you to be more agile with your shipping. However, without a tracking number, you don’t have much of a leg to stand on if a customer simply claims a package never arrived, which can sometimes lead to fraudulent chargebacks. But if you push back, and they’re correct about the package not getting there, you look like a jerk.

Know Thy Enemy

While this might not be an entirely active measure, it’s good to know what you’re up against. The two most common forms of e-commerce fraud are:

  • Account Takeover: Bad actors use phishing scams to steal legitimate clients’ usernames and passwords and use them to buy products from you before the victims know what’s happened
  • Identity Theft: You know what this is. Hackers steal credit card information from a database and run up a hefty bill.

Understand PCI Standards

If you go with a major e-comm platform, they are almost certainly following Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards. But if you do have a custom shopping portal built, you’ll want to brush up on some of these guidelines.

Set Limits on Daily Purchases

This might sound crazy, but at the end of the day you know what an insane amount of ordering looks like for your business. Setting limits on individual accounts can give you a moment to take a closer look at potentially fraudulent transactions.

Require Strong Passwords

Follow best practices when you and your employees are developing passwords. Never write them down, change them often, and where appropriate implement multi-factor authentication methods. This will help prevent hackers from going directly after your site and your account information.

Be a Human Being

Lastly, don’t just sit back and let the automation robots do the work. This is a big time of year for you, so you might as well have an even heavier hand in monitoring what’s happening on your site. Keeping a watchful eye over phishy emails and suspicious IP addresses just might save you from an even bigger headache down the line.