As consumers head into the Thanksgiving holiday, many will begin their online shopping. Gearing up for the holidays by shopping online will be especially popular this year. It is estimated that this year will surpass any other year in online holiday shopping. With the credit crunch people will be looking to get the best deals by comparing prices and buying online.
The increased online activity, of course, has not gone unnoticed by online criminals. By looking at research from 2007, PCTools has forecast that November 24th has the potential to be the peak of malicious online activity for 2008. This comes in the form of malware, email spam that invites the user to enter in sensitive details, trojan horses, and a new kind of attack, a file that when clicked will install what is known as a rootkit. A rootkit opens up the users computer to hackers all over the world. It is important for consumers to be especially wary of any email that comes in regarding President Elect Barrack Obama as they have already been linked to a number of Trojan Horses and rootkit attacks.
Increased online fraud attacks on consumers can easily translate into an increase in fraud perpetrated on online businesses. The goal of most online fraudsters is take advantage of the information they have stolen from unsuspecting consumers for their own gain. This information can include pin codes, passwords and login information, financial information, credit card numbers, etc. The easiest place to turn that information into a profit is to turn around and use it at an online store or banking institution. At that point, not only has the consumer been taken advantage of but the online business as well.
With the pending spike in online fraud, it is important for businesses to be vigilant in their online fraud protection. For the sake of the consumers and their business, online merchants need to re-evaluate their fraud protection and make sure it is as tight as possible. Here are some things to consider:
1. Make sure you are using the most up to date methods. Many thieves have learned how to get around many of the fraud protection tools that have been around for awhile. Employ the newest fraud protection tools.
2. A low cost fraud protection tool does not automatically mean an ineffective fraud protection tool. If you are a small business look into fraud protection tools within your budget. There is no use in using tools so expensive that they eliminate any profits.
3. Don't rely heavily on manual review of orders. It takes up time your employees could be working on other things and eats into your profits. As well, it is found that up to 50% of orders that are tagged as fraud are actually valid.
4. Employ fraud protection tools that deter the criminal from ever placing a fraudulent order in the first place. By doing so you will save yourself a lot of time, money, and headache trying to sort orders into the fraudulent and valid categories.
5. Make your fraud protection tools visible to consumers and criminals. It will increase confidence in consumers that wish to do business with you online and deter criminals because they can clearly see that you have taken the steps necessary to block their fraudulent activity.
6. Use fraud protection tools that are easy and quick to implement. The holidays are approaching fast and you don't want to be stuck trying to configure everything you have in place to accomodate new fraud protection tools.
Online fraud is a crime that hurts the entire online community - consumers and businesses. While consumers can take steps to reduce the chances of their information being stolen, it is ultimately up to the businesses to make sure that the stolen information isn't in turn used against them to produce fraudulent orders. As consumers and criminals gear up to increase their online activity, it is time for online businesses to gear up with increased fraud protection.