The owner of an East Coast convenience store thought he had landed a great new customer last year. The shopper came in every few days, charging hundreds of dollars worth of purchases with each visit. But after a few weeks of this, the store owner was shocked to receive a pile of chargebacks adding up to about $5,000. All were purchases made by this same customer, who by now had become a familiar, friendly face. It turned out that the credit card used was stolen, and the real owner had reported an identity theft to the police.
The thief didn’t know yet that anybody had caught on. The next time he came in, however, the store owner pressed a button that called the police. But the thief saw the move and bolted out the door.
The store owner called Chargeback Gurus looking for help. We asked him about his due diligence procedures, starting with the settings on his card terminal. “What settings?” he asked. He had never learned about his equipment, and didn’t realize he could have required customers to enter their ZIP codes when they presented a credit card.
He never checked driver’s licenses on large purchases to see if they matched the customers’ credit cards. And he hadn’t educated employees on any security protocol. How could he? There wasn’t any security protocol. The owner’s suspicions hadn’t even been raised when a new customer started showing up several times a week to make huge purchases.
Worse yet, when the store owner received the chargebacks, he didn’t realize what was happening and missed the deadline to fight them.
Which is why all we could do was to explain the steps that would stop this kind of fraud from happening again. Because the card is present, the protocols are different from online transactions:
• Switch to EMV card chip readers as soon as possible.
• Learn the security setting options on your payment equipment.
• Check ID and card signatures.
• Don’t automatically trust customers just because they come in often.
• Blacklist customers who present invalid cards, so that you can recognize them and avoid serving them in future.
• Educate your employees on card security and make sure they are following the guidelines.
• Monitor your employees to make sure they’re loyal and honest.
• Fight chargebacks as soon as you can.
Convenience stores shouldn’t be convenient for fraudsters. Taking a few steps can reduce a retailer’s risk without putting a big burden on legitimate customers.
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