With thousands of new scams every year, it’s hard to keep up with all of them while running a business. As fraudsters find new and inventive ways, fraud protection is becoming more important and necessary. By incorporating these five tips into your daily merchant processing habits, you can potentially avoid scams while protecting your business.

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Consider declining in-person manual payments.

If you are unable to insert the card for chip/EMV processing or swipe it, you can ask for another form of payment. It is recommended to avoid performing manual payments when possible. This will help stop fraudsters with fake or doctored cards from completing their scams.

Install a chip reader.

Since the development of EMV chip reader point of sale systems, there has been a drastic reduction in in-store fraud. Installing one of these systems can help protect your business from fraudulent cards, which often rely on the magnetic stripe.

Implement additional online security.

Determine what security features are available for online transactions that will help protect your business. There are a variety of tools offered by card issuers and payment gateways to help ensure secure online transactions. Simply obtaining the CVV code has not proven to be enough to prevent fraud.

Be cautious.

There are some transactions that can result in trouble if not handled properly. Transactions where the cardholder initiates the call to their “credit card company”, orders placed over the phone, or transactions initiated via email only should be carefully considered, especially for larger than normal purchases, or for purchases where a “shipper” is involved.  Be cautious if they are persistent about getting the transaction done quickly.

In addition, shipping to an address other than the billing address is a potential red flag and could result in your business losing merchandise and possibly money.

Consider only processing the transaction for the sale amount. Be cautious if a customer requests to pay more than their sale amount. Generally, the customer will say they need the “extra” money to pay another vendor or will even request the business to pay the other vendor on the customer’s behalf. If a fraudulent card was used, the transaction will be charged back, and your business may be held responsible.

It may be advantageous to implement a process to verify your customer/order, especially, if more “out of the norm” sales transpire. If the sale seems too good to be true, it probably is.

If EVER in doubt, call your merchant processor or bank.

If you are ever unsure about a transaction, call your merchant processor or bank immediately and discuss the details with them before completing the transaction. This could prevent you from becoming a victim of fraud.

Merchant processing can be a great convenience for your business, if you are careful with transactions. Integrating these tips into your business policies can help improve your bottom line and reduce risk. For information about the benefits included with Arvest Merchant Services, please visit arvest.com/business/borrow/credit-cards/merchant-services.