Proceed With (Credit Card) Caution

Online credit card fraud can harm any e-commerce site, so know what you can do to fight it.

Reducing credit card fraud can save your company thousands ofdollars. Here's a list of eight sure-fire strategies anyentrepreneur can use to reduce credit card fraud, according toAudri G. Lanford, an Internet scams expert and co-editor of thenewsletter Internet ScamBusters (http://www.scambusters.org):

1. Take extra steps to validate each order. Don'taccept orders unless complete information is provided, includingthe full address and phone number of the customer.

2. Be wary of orders with different "bill to" and"ship to" addresses. Require anyone who uses adifferent "ship to" address to send you a fax with theirsignature and credit card number authorizing the transaction.

3. Be especially careful with orders that come from freee-mail services, such as hotmail.com, juno.com and usa.net.There's a much higher incidence of fraud from these servicesbecause it's easy for a scamster to open a free, anonymouse-mail account in another person's name and then send you anorder using a fake e-mail account and a fraudulent credit cardnumber.

4. Beware of orders that are larger than your typical orderamount and orders requesting next-day delivery. Of course, somepeople have reasons for placing large orders or using next-dayservice--but you should still be cautious. Crooks don't carewhat it costs since they aren't planning to pay for itanyway.

5. Examine international orders carefully. Do everythingyou can to validate the order before you ship your product to adifferent country.

6. If you're suspicious, pick up the phone. First,obtain the phone number that's listed with the billing addressof the cardholder. Then call the cardholder so you can determinewhether he or she placed the order.

7. Use software or services to fight credit cardfraud.

8. If you have the misfortune of being scammed by a creditcard thief, contact your merchant processor immediately.

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