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How To Protect Your Business From Credit Card Fraud

Hand reaching for a credit card to illustrate credit card fraud tips
September 30, 2016

As a business owner, you’re constantly putting large expenses on your business card every month, either online or at retail locations. So you can’t afford to have your credit line run up by fraudulent charges—or be without your card if you have to cancel it due to fraud. So it’s crucial that you take preventative steps every day to steer clear of common traps.

What You
Should Know

Cybercriminals have multiple ways of stealing your credit card info.

What You
Can Do

Keep software updated for spyware protection and watch out for credit card “skimmers.”

Traditional credit card fraud:

In the past, credit card fraud happened one of three ways:

  • Thieves would “dumpster dive” (going through companies’ trash) to find information to open fraudulent credit card accounts.
  • They would simply copy your credit card numbers at the point of sale or just steal a card and use it until it was canceled.
  • They’d make fake telemarketing calls (“vishing”) about “free” cruises or other giveaways, where victims were asked for their credit card account number and other personally identifying information (“PII”) to “guarantee” their spot.

Credit card fraud today:

Now cybercriminals often conduct credit card fraud through a type of malware called “spyware” (read more on that here), which records everything you do online—even your keystrokes, so it can save your passwords. Thieves then use this information to open accounts in your name or sell it to others. Credit card info can also be caught by devices thieves install called “skimmers,” which attach to credit card swipers such as at ATMs and retailers’ checkout counters.

Watch:How To Spot and Avoid Credit Card Skimmers
Runtime: 00:01:31

41 Action News (video)

How to prevent credit card scams

Keep computer software updated
Installing the latest OS updates on all company computers and devices will keep your protected from malware so info can’t be syphoned off your machine.

Use chip-enabled credit cards
Also called EMV cards or “smart cards,” these newer cards protect consumers with higher-level security and are much more difficult to fake than a magnetic-stripe card.

Back up your account numbers
Keep a record of all business account numbers, expiration dates and the customer service numbers for each company in a secure place. An easy way to do this is to simply photocopy all of your ID and credit cards (including drivers licenses, passports, Social Security numbers and birth certificates) and then store those copies in a secure location.

Don’t lend your card to anyone
Even your kids could end up losing the card or having it stolen.

Don’t leave your cards, receipts or statements lying around
When you no longer need them, shred these records before throwing them away.

$35 billion – Global losses from credit card fraud by 20201

Treat your credit cards and account numbers like cash
Today, your credit cards and account numbers can be used as easily as cash, so protect them as you would a wallet full of cash.

Don’t give your PII and account numbers to anyone
Don’t give out your PII to any unrecognizable caller. Make sure websites you do business with are reputable and have “https:” in the URL for a secure connection.

Carry your cards separately from your wallet
This can minimize your losses if someone steals your wallet or purse. Also, only take the card(s) you need for that outing.

Never sign a blank receipt
It’s best to draw a line through any blank spaces above the space for the total transaction amount. Save your receipts so you can compare them to your statement later. Saving receipts will also show any would-be thieves you are watching.

Check your statements
Open your credit card bills promptly or, if you don’t get paper statements, check them online often to make sure there are no unusual or unauthorized purchases. Report any questionable charges to the card issuer immediately.

Report suspicious activity
Call your credit card company as soon as you realize your card has been lost or stolen so you will not be responsible for charges over $50. The law states you have no additional responsibility for charges you didn’t make.

The biggest known credit card theft ring was busted by the FBI in 2014, where 7,000 fake identities created thousands of credit cards to steal $200 million in goods, services, and cash.2
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