Small business owners and entrepreneurs are among the most critical players in Canada’s economy. But for every new business that starts, there are risks that may not have been considered – or risks that they may not even be aware of.
Fraud is an ongoing concern for businesses that accept payments, all over the world. Personal financial information is valuable to fraudsters, and they continue to be creative in the ways they attempt to obtain it. My role at Visa is focused on fraud risk and includes helping Canadian business owners learn how to guard against fraud that can impact their bottom lines.
Small businesses are among the top targets for hackers and fraudsters, because they represent a large population of merchants and they may not have the same security controls in place as large chain operations. The good news is, we can help. Visa has developed several layers of fraud prevention and detection systems and programs, giving merchants multiple checkpoints for security to protect their businesses and make transactions more secure.
Fraud prevention: where to start?
A key element of our strategy is ensuring that small businesses know the tools that are available to them. These tools can come from a variety of sources – for example at Visa, there are tools available through your merchant acquirer such as Verified by Visa, CVV2 (the three-digit code) and address verification – all ways for a merchant to authenticate a purchase in a card-not-present purchase. There are also broader industry standards, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, which sets parameters for how card information should be treated once it’s obtained in a purchase.
The merchant’s role in preventing fraud
Merchants play a key role in fraud prevention, particularly in the e-commerce space. An issuer’s authentication and approval of a transaction does not necessarily mean that the transaction is legitimate. This is why we make tools available to help merchants identify their customers and help verify that the transaction is legitimate. We also share best practices to help combat fraud. You’ve heard the expression ‘if something seems too good to be true, it probably is’? Well, that’s often the case when it comes to attempted fraud. If something seems too good – for example, an out of the blue huge order from a brand new customer who wants to split the purchase across several cards – well, it’s definitely worth a second look. While some purchases will be legitimate, often times suspicious requests like rush delivery, multiple transactions on a single card, different addresses and names stemming from a single IP address are red flags that you need to pay attention to.
Where do I go for information?
I’m pleased to be participating in CFIB’s ‘Protect Your Business From Credit Card Fraud’ . We’ll be covering the basics of small merchant security, from data security to payment terminals, from software patches to employee training – we will be covering off the best practices that can get you started on the road to preventing fraud. I will look forward to speaking with you then!
Gord Jamieson is a Head of Risk Services at Visa Canada and is responsible for Canadian Issuing and North America Acquiring Risk Services. His goal is to differentiate Visa from competition, reduce risks of regulatory impact and support core growth by engaging North American clients to minimize payment system risks.
Prior to joining Visa, Gord served as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for 20 years. Gord has over nine years of experience investigating organized crime involvement in forged credit card manufacturing and distribution. Gord is recognized by the Canadian courts as an expert in this field of investigation.