Credit Card Scammed
It’s not quite as bad as a Nigerian Scammer, but it still hurts business. What do you need to know?
Over the years we have supplied a number of sites with XML feeds for their B2C website. Some have taken security short cuts and paid the price. Here’s how it happens in Australia.
It starts with a letter from a bank
Clients set up a B2C website, jump through the hoops with the bank and go live with their new and exciting travel business online…
What seems like legit transactions suddenly takes a different colour. Most customers first see the issue when a bank sends snail mail raising alerts to inconsistencies.
The problem is in most countries, snail mail is getting unpopular, losing funding, and is much slower. The banks digital services issues templated letters with a request for further details about online transactions which have been reported. As our client recently said “The same team who set up our digital gateway were the same team who were requesting a paper copy proof of a signature. By time the first latter arrived, over 20 transactions had taken place.”
For a start up B2C, that can hurt.
Legal protection? Not really.
In short, when these things happen, unless there is a miracle, the merchant cops the loss. Credit cards bought for $22 each on the Dark web which will work on low security portals. Its often Indonesian scammers or a militant terrorist group raising funds, selling holidays and not paying any bills. Or rather paying with someone else’s card. They also play on the stigma associated with getting ripped off as no one wants to admit they got scammed.
A bank manager said the cleverness was that it’s similar to those scams on “erectile dysfunction” because people wont admit to a sensitive issue and no one shares the experience. It proliferates.
What do banks do?
For a bank, it’s all care, no responsibility as it’s all in the fine print. A local business manager said “You need to ensure your security is good, understand the patterns, be vigilant and know your exposure.” Combined with feedback from customers, he shared some internal memo’s from their experience that would be relevant for anyone looking to set up a B2C website in travel.
What to look out for
- High volume, low value transactions, in a burst
- Sudden pattern of bookings you haven’t seen before
- Contact details which don’t connect, or do, but with lots of delay from a foreign voice
- All short check in/non refundable
Finally, the last piece of advice is “Anything that seems to good to be true usually is. Customers are looking for growth and welcome the sales without considering why.”