The use of credit card processing by companies is growing as more and more consumers use credit cards. Especially in the last 10 years or so, where a lot of shopping has gone online.

With this increase in credit card use, we have also seen a growth in credit card fraud and identity theft, where especially identity theft is a growing problem that nearly 60 million Americans have been affected by identity theft.

The growing number of online hacks about businesses means that up to 80% of credit cards in use have been compromised. The Equifax hack alone resulted in the stealing of 176 million credit card details.

How is Identity Theft Discovered?

A resident reports a suspicious charge on their bill. The company does some Investigating that tells the person that someone hacked into their account. The hacker used their account and others to defraud those consumers and the company(a situation based on real events).

The good news is that the hacker has been found and charges have been filed against them. This does paint a troubling picture though. Credit card fraud is something that does not just affect the company. It affects everyone involved, including the client.

The reason is that most businesses are consumer-based in some way. In most respects, when you protect one entity you are protecting the others too.

Credit card fraud or identity theft will affect your banking information and your reputation. Example number one is a good example of both.

What Can You Do To Protect Your Business Against Identity Theft?

1) You can start by using an address verification system(AVS). What it does is compare the address given with the one already in the system. The request will be approved if there is nothing to worry about.

However, the AVS will recognize when someone tries to commit identity theft. Computer systems are much savvier than they were 20 years ago.

There could be an instance when a person moves. He or she might not have the time to update everything.

Example Number Two

I moved back home to Florida almost six years ago. It took me some time to update everything that needed updating. I finally got everything straightened out within that first year. I luckily did not have anyone trying to steal my information.

I am using my experience as an example as an exception to the rule. The point is not to rely on no AVS 100%.

2) Chip readers are a new thing that a lot of companies are doing. My bank recently got upgraded to a chip reader with the new bank cards. The chip readers act as a one-time passcode. There is no way to gain access due to the new passcodes.

Every time you make a purchase or pay a bill the system acts as if it is your first time using it. There is no way to trace the numbers because the numbers disappear once you use it.

The other benefit is you will not be held liable if something does happen. It used to be that businesses would bear the brunt of hacking. With the one-time passcode chip readers, your company will be out of the loop.

3) You can start by paying more attention to what your customers are doing. I know some of you like to treat your client’s actions as, “not my concern”. It will be your concern when something happens.

Here are a few things to look for:

Someone might try to pull their card from their pocket to make a large purchase. Now, to be fair, I do that too sometimes. I keep my cards in a small pouch in my pocket. However, what you should be watching for is squirrely behavior.

What I mean is someone constantly look around to see if anyone is watching them.

I noticed that a lot when I worked retail (back in the day). One more thing I noticed (from retail back in the day) is someone who rushes to cash out their order upon closing time.

Say, for example, that someone tells you not to swipe the card from them. They might tell you that it does not work. That means they are hiding something. It also means that they are waiting to strike.

Example Number Three

Back in the day, I worked retail for about seven years. I was not very happy there, but I did learn a lot from the experience. There was one lady who cornered me in the back when I was doing the service desk. She tried to get the others to go look for something for her.

She “claimed” that she lost something. The one manager was smart enough to see through her. She kept me company at the desk while other staff went to look for her. She yelled at the manager for not helping them. The manager knew though she was up to something. My manager saved me from being hacked and possibly mugged too. Strange and cruel things can happen in the retail world, and I had a front-row seat for those years.

The point is, the lady was trying to defraud the business kate at night. It can happen anywhere.

That is why I am trying to help you with what to look for.

Example Number Four

The system for my bank was updated recently. I had to go through an extensive security process to see my banking records. I had to hand over a secure phone number to get a passcode. I do not do texting, so my banking team had to find another way to get me in.

I finally got it, but it does prove one thing. Banks are beginning to get more secure with their login information. Due to increased hacking and fraudulent activity, they want to make sure you are who you say you are.

I had to come into the bank to update my account. The ID they had on file was outdated and out-of-state. That was a red flag in the system, even though everything was on the up-and-up. Had my ID not been expired and outdated, there would not be a problem.

Companies are taking extra precautions these days to ensure safety.

The point is, these are all safety measures you might want to put into practice to reduce fraudulent behavior.

4) You need to secure online access with more encryption. There are a lot of people who have access to information they should not. Limiting access can reduce credit fraud.

You should also put into practice the idea of using separate devices for personal and business. Some people like to combine the two to reduce spam. That is not necessarily a good thing.

Say, for example, that someone hacks into your wifi on your mobile device. They can now get into your business accounts you keep on the same device. One number is all they need to hack into your data.

You are now compromised. It might have happened off the clock, but everything is compromised once your business hours are up and running.

5) You need to watch for malware. Different types do different things. A few examples are Man-in-the-Middle, Man-in-the-Brose, and keyloggers. You have to update regularly. Hackers are not taking a day off and neither should you.

You might have to start using layered security for your business if needed.

One Final Note

You have to report something right away. Do not wait for something more to happen. Some people like to wait until they have enough proof. You cannot wait that long. Hackers will continue to have the upper hand if you let them.

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