Spotting an e-commerce scam

Spotting an e-commerce scam

Opening an online store is a great way to connect with consumers across the globe. However, having a presence on the internet can expose your business to cybercrime.

While an e-commerce store removes the risk of physical shoplifting, there are still some opportunistic individuals who have developed ways to take advantage of unsuspecting online business owners.

Protecting your store from cybercriminals is not difficult when you take the necessary precautions. Here is a quick guide to identifying and avoiding e-commerce scams.

Spotting a scam

Knowing how you could be targeted is crucial for recognising and removing the risks. When operating an online store, there are a few key indicators you can look out for:

  • Unusually large orders – Be cautious if someone has purchased a significant amount of an item that can be easily resold and is difficult to trace.
  • Alternative shipping methods – When a customer asks you to use a third-party shipping service, they could be directing you to a fraudulent company.
  • Different credit card and delivery addresses – Mismatched details could indicate a stolen credit card is being used. Similarly, look for a single IP address making multiple orders from different cards.

What to do if you suspect fraud?

If you are worried about a purchase or a buyer's request, you should follow a few simple steps to protect yourself and your business:

  • Look up the buyer's address – Check out the location on Google Maps. Does the shipping address look legitimate?
  • Trust e-commerce analytics – Use real-time reporting to judge the buyer's behaviour. Are they making multiple purchases in quick succession or using different cards on the same day?
  • Contact the buyer – If you have a phone number or email address, get in touch to talk to the buyer and ask to speak to the cardholder.
  • Get in touch with your payment provider – Speak to your provider about the transaction and suspicious details, so you each have it on record if the purchase is contested.
  • Track the parcel – If you are still concerned, try sending the purchase through tracked post. This way, the item can be traced if there is a dispute.
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