Protecting Your Online Business From Customer Fraud

Fraud Alert

Your business needs customers to survive, but those very same customers could just be the people who bring down your business. We aren’t talking about those people who pass bad-of-worth mouth about you should you upset them in any way. We aren’t talking about those customers who are always jumping ship to your competitors. We are talking about those people who set out to defraud your business, profiting themselves while causing you financial losses in the process. You need to protect yourself from this threat, finding out possible signs of fraud, and taking measures to secure your business.

Customer threats

The customer can deceive you in a number of ways. If you accept cash, the customer could use forged currency when buying from you. If your business has embraced digital payment technology, you need to be aware the customer could be using somebody else’s credit or debit card details. The customer might also buy from you, ask for a refund, and then fail to return the product they purchased from you. Frustrating? Yes. Damaging? Quite definitely!

Signs of fraud

There are a few telltale signs that you are dealing with a fraudster. Their shipping information may be different to that associated with the payment card. The email address they use may contain a different name to that on their supposed bank account. They may be in a hurry for a transaction to go through, with no genuine reason. You may notice a difference in customer behaviour, leading you to suspect that somebody else is using your customer’s account details. If your senses are alerted, you don’t need to go ahead with the sale. Instead, log their details, and perhaps run a credit history of the buyer before proceeding.

Protecting yourself

Of course, you don’t want to turn down every customer you suspect, as they may very well be innocent. However, there are extra precautions you can take. You might want to ask questions of the buyer before going through with the transaction, or request a form of ID to see if it matches the details they have given you. If you are still unsure, you could meet compliance mandates with identity verification. This way, you can find out that your customer is who he says he is, helping you to catch fake IDs and wrongful payment details before the transaction goes through. Your bank will also have verification tools in place to give you extra peace of mind when making online transactions, so book a meeting with an advisor to find out how they can help you. If you are dealing with a previously trusted customer, but there are irregularities in their shopping behaviour, you might ask them to go through a few security questions, or reach out to the customer on email or social media for confirmation that they are authorising the sale.


In some cases, you can retrieve money stolen from you if you have been the victim of fraud. You need to report your case to both the police and to your bank as soon as possible. However, you can mitigate the risk by following our advice. Any loss can be damaging to your business, even in the short-term, so remember to take precautions before the worst-case scenario happens.

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