Is It Possible To Avoid Fraudsters?

Posted by Peter Nelson on

Shortly after I launched my website, in fact just a few days I got my first sale. At first it was bitter sweet, then just bitter!!

It was for £100, however I quickly realised when I despatched the goods that I had got my pricing wrong and hadn't actually made a profit. That aside it was my first sale and I was ecstatic. They had paid by credit card and the items were despatched to an address in London.

The following day I was going through the order and looking at the various options and information I can glean from my Shopify order page. I clicked on a drop down menu and it gave me the full history of how the order was placed. It was then that I noticed the customer had used twelve different credit cards before one was finally accepted, this immediately rang alarm bells.

I called my merchant provider who immediately agreed it looked like fraud and that I should stop the shipment. As you can imagine I wasn't happy. Why had they let it go through when it even showed up on there systems as multiple payment attempts? 

Turns out it was my fault for not setting up my security options properly, though I did point out that no one had told me there were options to setup, being naïve I just assumed it was all setup by them.  Apparently not!! It was too late to stop the delivery and a few days later the same customer placed the same order. Again a few cards were used before one got accepted. I rang my merchant provider again and was told the issuing bank had accepted the payment and therefore it had gone through. Obviously this time I cancelled the order, oddly the fraudster got upset at that and sent me abusive emails!! Which I found amusing. 

Sure enough a few days later the chargeback came through, turns out the order was placed and delivered in London. the issuing bank was in Singapore and the card holder was in Canada!! And still the issuing bank didn't flag it up as suspicious. I fully co-operated with the investigation and yet it was me that ended up losing all of my £100!!

They suggested I use 3D Secure for payments which will further prevent fraud. Unfortunately it turned out that there system wasn't compatible with the Shopify checkout, which I found strange as they are a Shopify partner!! Either way I couldn't us it.

So as a result of the failure of my merchant provider to support me I was forced to look for other options. I found a company called Signifyd, they aren't a merchant provider as such but rather they vet each transaction and give it a score. If the score is high enough they will guarantee your money if it turns out to be a chargeback. It costs me extra but well worth it for peace of mind. After I signed up with them there were several more attempts to make purchases from me, all authorised by my merchant provider, yet all of them flagged as fraud by Signifyd. 

At least now I had a reliable defence against fraud. The odd thing is in the early days of the website I got a LOT of fraudulent transactions, so the fraudsters could find my website but genuine buyers weren't so much. This was frustrating and I guess the fraudsters were probably on the lookout for new websites to have a go at, thinking I would be an easy target, as it turned out only the first attempt got through the rest were all blocked. 

So now I am secure, what hurdle do I have to get over next? I will tell you in my next blog

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