Prevent Online E-commerce Fraud!

Posted on October 10, 2000

by Curtis Stevens

When the Internet was booming, media headlines were screaming about consumer safety and the possibility of their credit card numbers being stolen during the online purchasing process. With all of the systems being put into affect in order to ensure consumer safety, it has neglected to address the risk of the merchant's safety from the consumer. Where is the protection of consumers defrauding merchants?

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The last person in line of protection when it comes to Internet fraud is the merchant. Listed below are ten helpful tips that you can use to prevent yourself from consumer fraud.

1. Carefully Review Orders - Whenever you receive an order, take some extra time and review the order carefully. Make sure the consumer filled out all of the information correctly and that it matches. If it is a fraudulent order, in most cases you can catch anything that does not seem right by carefully reviewing the entire order.

2. Contact, Shipping & Credit Card Information - The consumer's contact information should match up with the shipping address and the credit card information. If it does not, then you need to find out why they want the products shipped to another address or have a credit card with different contacts. This is a very good sign of a scamster, but not in all cases.

3. Address Verification Service (AVS) - Provided by most merchant processors, you can run the AVS service on all of your transactions to ensure that the information they gave you matches with the information on the file with the card issuing bank (The Credit Card Bank). If it is different, then it is possible, among other things, that the consumer has a partner involved with the order. Contacting the consumer to find out the exact reason is highly encouraged.

4. Free Email Addresses - The majority of scamsters will use a free email address to hide their identity. You can very easily find out if your consumer is using a free email provider by just visiting the web site domain that comes after the @ symbol. For example:, you can go to to see if that web site is an email provider like Hotbot or Yahoo. It is a good idea to require a real email address from their own domain or their ISP when they order. This can be accomplished by stating the requirement on your order forms.

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5. Document All Contacts - To give yourself greater protection and a bigger fighting chance against consumers, document all contacts you have with them. Keep all voice mails and emails, along with caller ID in order to prove your case.

6. Domain Name Records - One unknown trick is to look up the domain name records of the domain name they are using in their email address to see if it matches with what they provided in the order. This will only work if they have their own web site and used their own domain name as the email address. Take the same procedure as explained in tip #4, and use Network Solutions' database to search for the records. The url can be found here: Their information might not completely match up, depending if something changed or if they are using a business address verses a home address, but you should get an idea, like in the same state or city.

7. Very Large Orders - Take special caution when receiving noticeably high orders, the amount of products or services they are purchasing, especially around holiday seasons. Also pay attention to orders that are sent by overnight delivery. Since the scamsters aren't paying for it, they do not care about the extra cost and want it as fast as possible.

8. Use Fraudulent Notices - Place fraudulent notices, buttons and images on your order forms and your web site content. Let the consumers know that fraudulent orders will be pursed to the fullest extent of the law. By having these notices, it will usually run off most scamsters.

9. Telephone Search - You can purchase a database of phone numbers on a CD or you can use services such as that will do a reverse search on a phone number for you. This will allow you to confirm the contact information for the phone number that the consumer has provided.

10. Call The Consumer - The last, and usually the most affective way, to clear up all confusion is to call the consumer with the phone number they provided. If they gave you a bad phone number, then try contacting them via email for a valid phone number. Be very suspicious about this though, because most people usually don't give out wrong phone numbers unless it was miss typed.

By using these tips, hopefully you will not experience any fraudulent orders. If you are scammed, then take serious action by following the order and prosecute the fraudulent consumer.

Article by Curtis Stevens, with Simple Solutions. Offering web hosting capabilities, e-commerce solutions and domain name services, Simple Solutions can help you get setup or transfer your online storefront within a matter of hours from now. Get your very own web site today, because Simple Solutions is your simple and risk free solution! More Information: -


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