How to Spot (and Prevent) Risky Activity This Holiday Season

The holidays are a time for friends, family, and, for many business owners, a spike in sales. Unfortunately, it’s also high season for some shady business, especially when you’re selling hot-ticket items (think: hoverboards, rocket skates, electric scooters). So to protect yourself from scams and buyer fraud this time of year (and year-round, for that matter), here are some key preventive measures:

Only purchase from reputable suppliers.

Your products are your brand. Protect your risk of low-quality merchandise by purchasing goods from reputable suppliers with manufacturer’s warranties. And do your homework, especially when you’re purchasing goods from an overseas supplier. Generally, places that manufacture a bunch of unrelated products should raise some skepticism.

Know how to spot potential bad buyers.

When taking payments, train yourself (and your staff) on potential red flags. Here are the biggies:

  • Be wary of buyers who give you another card after the first one is declined. Make sure you ask for identification and compare the name on the government-issued ID with the one on the new credit card.

  • Look out for people buying large quantities with multiple cards (especially when any of the cards are declined).

  • Avoid deviations from your normal payments process. For example, if the name on the card doesn’t match the ID given, don’t accept authorization from an alleged cardholder over the phone.

  • For more tips, please visit our Protect Yourself from Scams and Fraud Support page.

Take steps to prevent disputes.

Especially at this time of year, take precautions to protect yourself against potential disputes from customers. Here are some best practices:

For in-person transactions, be sure to include your refund, return, and cancellation policies on your receipts. For higher-priced items purchased in person, always compare the signature on the card with a government-issued ID.

For invoices or online sales, be sure that the buyer’s billing and mailing ZIP codes match before shipping an item. Keep all tracking information at the ready and request a signature confirmation at delivery.

For more tips, please visit our Preventing Disputes page.

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