Credit Card Fraud: New Dogs, Old Tricks

Learn about a classic online credit card fraud tactic and how to protect your business.

Visa announced that they have seen a recent rise in credit card fraud from hackers who utilize weak logins and passwords to access sensitive information. Continue reading to learn more and find ways to protect yourself.

Sellers beware. Online fraudsters are on the prowl, and they’re using some of the oldest tricks in the book. In a recent report, Visa shared that they’ve seen an increase in credit card fraud via the exploitation of weak login credentials. Once hackers gain access to your merchant account, they begin issuing credits to their own debit cards.

Wait, what?

Follow this example as we take a trip down Fraudster Lane:

First, a criminal sends you an email that appears to be from your bank or merchant provider. The message says that your account requires an “important update,” and asks you to submit sensitive information, namely your username and password. This fraud tactic is known as phishing, and can take also take place over the phone (vishing).

Then, the fraudster takes your login credentials and accesses your account. Once inside, he/she begins issuing credits from your account to debit cards specifically set up for this scam, often in the thousands of dollars. These transactions essentially look like a credit for returned merchandise, although no merchandise was ever sold. And in extreme instances, fraudsters create fake sales transactions to avoid suspicion for these self-issued credits.

Although this method of laundering seems pretty archaic compared to more advanced versions of internet fraud, it’s still used because it works. So to protect yourself and your bottom line, take a look at some of the following tips:

  • Educate yourself on basic online fraud schemes, such as phishing.
  • Ensure that all of your login credentials are solid, with passwords including capital letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Change your login credentials every three months.
  • Closely monitor your account for any unusual credits, particularly those in which a credit goes to an account overseas.
  • Keep an updated log of all the credits you issue, including their amount and date.

Using your best judgment and common sense is the ultimate safeguard to prevent a similar scheme from happening to you, especially during this lucrative holiday selling season.

Happy, and safe, selling!
-Matt Winn, Online Communications Specialist, Volusion


Matt Winn is Volusion’s Senior Brand Manager, where he helps oversee the organization’s branding and communications efforts. Matt has created hundreds of articles, videos and seminars on all things ecommerce, ranging from online marketing to web design and customer experience. Beyond being a certified nerd, Matt is an avid college football fan, enthusiastic home cook and a self-admitted reality TV junkie.

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