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10 Ways to Protect yourself from E-Commerce Fraud


The internet is a wonderful place.  Where else can you quickly toggle between adorable pictures of cats, breaking international news, and Facebook status updates from your weird college roommate?  It’s fantastic!  But the internet can also be a bit scary – especially if you’re an online business.  When you are  not standing face-to-face with your customers, ensuring the safety of your online store can be a bit more involved.  From PCI compliance to shopping cart protocol, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.  That’s why we’re bringing you 10 ways to protect yourself from e-commerce fraud!  We’ve poured over our databases and checked with the big-whigs at Visa, MasterCard, and Discover to provide you this one-stop shop for online security.  Let’s dive in!

  1. Always maintain PCI Compliance.  This is most important step you can take to ensure the security of your online store.  Most PCI programs come with data breach insurance to protect not only your business, but your customers’ confidential credit card information.
  2. Utilize the appropriate AVS (Address Verification Service) settings.  AVS helps to reduce the risk of fraud in card-not-present environments.  In most cases, simply requiring a zip code match is sufficient to present fraudulent charges.  If you’re not sure what settings are best for your business, just ask!
  3. Require customers to provide their CVV code (that small 3 digit number imprinted on the signature panel of credit cards).  Since a true customer would have to be physically holding their card to provide this code, it greatly reduces the risk of fraud.  If the code doesn’t match, don’t authorize the transaction.  Period.
  4. Be particularly cautious when you encounter larger-than-normal orders.  Because stolen cards or account numbers have a limited life span, crooks need to maximize the size of their purchase.
  5. If you’re shipping a physical good, it’s a good idea to ask for your customer’s signature upon delivery.  In the rare case someone would initiate a chargeback, you’ll have all the proof you need that the charge was legitimate.
  6. As an footnote to #5, be wary of shipping to international addresses.  A significant number of fraudulent transactions are shipped to cardholders outside of the U.S.  No need to cancel all international orders, just exercise a bit more caution with international shipments.
  7. Noticing multiple transactions attempted on one card over a very short period of time?  Could be an attempt to “run the card” until the account is closed – keep a close eye on those.
  8. Compare new orders with current customers with some of their previous purchases.  If the order differs drastically from their past purchasing patterns, it wouldn’t hurt to reach out to them and confirm the transaction – they’ll likely be happy to hear from you!
  9. Only ship the product to the billing address.  Though this is a rather stringent policy, most thieves have products shipped to addresses different than those registered with the bank.  Shipping to the billing address ensures that the actual cardholder is receiving the product.
  10. Trust your instincts.  If something looks fishy, smells fishy, and sounds fishy – it’s probably a fish.  Call the customer, send them an email, whatever you need to do to verify the charge is not fraudulent.

Have questions or want to add some tips & tricks gleaned from your own experience(s)?    Shoot us an email at  We’d love to hear from you!