Just imagine yourself posting a used iPhone for sale on Craigslist and instantly receiving an e-mail in just a few minutes from a potential-sounding buyer interested in buying it at full price or even more.
Sounds good, isn't it? However, he has kept a condition of initiating the transaction right away and paying only through PayPal.
Will you be excited to hear this?
Probably no, if you are a bit shrewd seller! Such a condition of haste sale and fixed payment gateway is now a common indicator of online payment fraud.
Well, a trigger to initiate the transaction right away is often a scammer's choice to steal your personal information, merchandise, or money. This is the reason why many sellers have experienced a fraud or scam via PayPal that has been trying to compensate for the same.
This is Just a Trailer! The Scope of Fraud is Much More than You May Think...
However, payment gateways such as PayPal and ecommerce sites such as Craigslist are not the only means through which cyber criminals tend to trick. They attack even through social media sites, e-mails, banks, online gaming sites, and credit cards.
Through these different mediums, the range of attack methods have increased, right from taking the advantage of vulnerabilities existing in almost all apps via malware to clever phishing scams from any region of the world.
The hard fact to accept is that different types of frauds badly affect both the buyer and seller. Reduced sales, lost trust, and unexpected huge financial loss due to stolen merchandise or money are just some to get shaken up with!
A Vigilant and an Aware Eye is Enough to Keep Any Fraud at Bay
Here are some eye-opening facts found online:
- According to a 2013 survey by National Small Business Association (NSBA), half of small businesses have experienced a cyber-attack.
- As stated in a post on Huffington, the National Cyber Security Alliance reports 20% small businesses becoming a victim ofa cybercrime each year.
- Even Forbes report of huge expensive companies undergo after bring a fraud victim.
- A UK based survey in 2000 by Experianreported 9/10 credit card fraudsters flee away from legal implications.
So, what is to be expected in future?
Some experts have estimated a rise in online retail fraud by 106% in the U.S. alone in the next three years.
However, this is something that you and I do not want! So, is there any master key or solution to falsify this prediction?
YES! This is AWARENESS!
The thief is successfully robbing your home only until you are not aware of him. The moment you see him, he is forced to run away, even if he has to do so by leaving behind all robbed things!
Well, that's the power of watchful awareness!
So, the key here is to know your other party involved along with the types of scams and disguises involved online! Below are some awareness-based ways to protect yourself in different situations:
Situation 1: Let's extend the scenario given at the starting of this article. You pretend smart and say that you do not have a PayPal account. The buyer then shares a link via an e-mail for opening a new account.
Solution: Do not click the link, as it can take you to a fake site that is masked to look as genuine PayPal. Clicking the link can install a malware or spyware on your system to get your personal details, even if you do not share anything.
Alternatively, submitting any information on such a site, such as bank or credit card details, is likely to encourage fraud. You are likely to get such phishing mails but PayPal as set up a secure way to get rid of it.
In addition, do report such sites or e-mails to your payment gateway as well as to a government authority.
Bottom Line: Do not click any links in e-mails from unknown people or enter information on sites requested via e-mails. Run an anti-virus in background.
Situation 2: A fake buyer asks to check your email and verify that he has made the payment to your account along with some extra money for shipping. He then tells you to return that additional money through a wiring service.
Solution: Just think why an unknown person will send you extra money!!!Log into your payment gateway or bank account by opening the official site in a new browser window with https in the URL.
Most of the times, such claims are later found to be unauthorized (meaning no money gained) and you end up selling your merchandise for free. So, do check out for safety and security policies of the bank or gateway account. For example, PayPal has its security center and suggestions for the same.
Bottom Line: Get the transaction confirmed from the site owner, before making any returns.
Situation 3: Someone asks you for some personal details such as credit card number, SSN, passwords, PINs, or confidential documents to be shared via an e-mail. This person can be your seller, a bank employee, or a service provider, who appear to be legitimate.
Solution: Say "No" even if they threaten you to stop giving the service or tempt you to take up a good offer, as no genuine people will ask such details in this way.Always check the company's reputation at the Better Business Bureau before taking any of its offers or service.
Actions to Take for Foolproof Security
- Keep yourself updated about new scams and frauds online through some government authority such as the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
- Maintain security-friendly passwords and pins.
- Choose a payment processor or gateway that complies with the credit card security standards of Payment Card Industry (PCI) council, for example, PayPal, Allied Wallet, and MasterCard Payment Gateway Services.
- Consider setting limits for the number of sales or purchases in terms of total dollar value for each day from a single account.
- Take advantage of the payment gateway's Address Verification System (AVS). It is a fraud tool that compares the billing address' numeric parts to the address registered with the credit card company.
- Use the Card Verification Value (CVV) on your credit card, which in no way is revealable to a fraudster unless stolen. This small number is not allowed to be stored with the card owner's name and number, as per the PCI rules.
- Share only what you wish to, through your social media accounts. So, hide your date of birth, contact information, and work details through your privacy settings.
Last but not the least, report a fraud or scam to your friends, neighbors, and relatives who are doing the same monetary transactions as you do online, which are susceptible.
Awareness has the power to make prevention possible, even if the types of frauds are increasing day by day. So, let's get-set-go with awareness to beat online payment fraud effortlessly!