WHAT IS A FRIENDLY FRAUD?
The very first thought that hits our mind about friendly fraud is how can a fraud be friendly! Obviously a fraud can be everything but cannot be friendly.
It’s a universal fact that no one is perfect and we all commit mistakes in some point of our life. Friendly frauds are unintentional. They are committed without the intent to deceive, revenge or to gain something. Basically, chargeback or any dispute filed by customer by mistake is known as friendly fraud.
Following are the key reasons for happening of friendly frauds:
- Forgetfulness: When customer forgot that he made a purchase and misinterprets the situation.
- Unawareness: When someone else from the family has made the unknown purchase and the credit card holder is not aware of it and file a chargeback against the merchant.
- Recurring bill: When a customer frequently purchases a certain product from a merchant, recurring billing happen automatically and charges cardholder. So, in case customer forgot that he has agreed to recurring bills then he might lodge the file against merchant.
- Misunderstanding: Friendly fraud can also occur if the customer has not properly understood the return policy of merchant.
- Improper knowledge: Another main reason for friendly fraud is that people are not aware of the correct procedure. They file a chargeback instead of first approaching the merchant for refund.
How does friendly fraud happen?
To file a fraud claim, friendly fraudster has to first convince the bank that he should get his money back. To do so, a friendly fraudster can claim a variety of problems but the most common claim is that the transaction was unauthorized. They make legitimate transactions looks like a fraud by taking advantage of policies maintained by issuer like zero-liability, CNP (card not present) nature of eCommerce, and acts like Consumer Protection Regulations force issuers. All these things result in time consuming and heavy chargebacks.
What happens when chargebacks take place?
after understanding friendly frauds let’s move on to another big headache of merchants i.e. chargebacks!
Here three things are involved which are as follows.
- Merchant is at fault: It is also known as the Chargeback White Area. When customer is genuine in this case and unhappy with the services or product of the merchant because of any reason, the last option left with customer is to contact his bank or credit card company and issue a chargeback against merchant after trying to resolve the problem with a merchant. Key reasons for filling a chargeback are as follow
- Merchant deliberately not delivering product or service.
- Intentionally lying about the purchase made.
- Charging more than authorized.
- Delivering wrong product.
- Merchant using recurring billing incorrectly.
- Customer is playing a dirty tactic: In recent years many false cases of chargebacks are being reported and they are growing continuously. The cardholder intentionally make a legitimate transaction looks like a fraud with the intention of getting money while retaining the product and service provided. In the end customer gets everything and merchants suffers with great loss.
- Third party is involved: Sometimes neither the merchant nor customer is at fault but the third person is involved. By stealing bank account and credit card information third party commit criminal credit card fraud. Now the victim cardholder can contact issuing bank and report the fraudulent transaction and can seek for money return from the merchant by filling chargeback.
HOW TO SAVE YOURSELF FROM FRIENDLY FRAUD AND CHARGEBACKS?
It is near to impossible to get 100% security from chargebacks. In market many merchant account provider will claim full protection just to gain your trust. As a merchant you have to be very smart and think rationally. Following strategies should be use to prevent friendly fraud and chargebacks.
- Try to resolve disputes: Always first try to resolve the dispute with the merchant. There are new features available in market like Visa Merchant Purchase Inquiry (VMPI) which helps merchant to respond in real time to the issuer. Issuer can now talk to the customer and clarify the confusion with the information given by the merchant.
- Analyse data: You cannot just change the mind of the customer but you can prevent friendly frauds and chargebacks by analyzing the history of such incidents. Look on to the major reasons behind the dispute. For instance, if customers were unhappy because of late deliveries or they are not satisfied with the product then work on your weak areas.
- Make a blacklist: According to an online report it has been found that friendly fraudsters and chargeback claimers are repeat offenders. If they have once got the full advantage then will likely to do it again. Make a record and add such customers who commit friendly fraud. In future if any blacklisted customer will try to shop with you can cancel their transaction. Remember few bucks are not more important than your market goodwill and heavy chargebacks.
- Include payment agreements: This simple change can be really fruitful, add a payment agreement to your checkout process. It will discourage fraudsters and will help you legally in case chargeback occurs.
- Install predictive device identification tools: “Prevention is better than cure”. Use predictive device to identify any suspicious activity. New software solutions are advancing every day. Although you should not completely rely on them as they really don’t predict accurately to CNP (card-not-present).
- Track the size of the order: If the size of order is big, use more security measures like keeping track of the order and shipping.
- Beware of outside country orders: Fraud percentage is higher on international orders than on within boundary purchases. Most of the merchants choose extreme route and eliminate international orders altogether. Security and scrutiny of international deliveries should be extra.
- Clear merchant descriptors: Make sure your business or store name is part of the descriptor. Sometimes when the merchant description is not clear, customer doesn’t recognize where the transaction statement in bank came from and then immediately disputes it. Your identity is important as it make charge identifiable.
- Authentic marketing: Do not show any product material which doesn’t match to the original product customer will receive. Write clear description of product, online ads. Set only realistic expectations for your customer because if later customer doesn’t get satisfied then you might have to pay a big cost for it. Never make you customer feel mislead or cheated.
- Great customer services: There are chances where you can prevent chargebacks and friendly frauds by providing excellent customer services. Reach out to your customer as soon as they try to contact you. Try your best to resolve an order error or an issue with the purchase. 24/7 quick service arrangements should be done by you.
- Fulfil orders on time: Try not to delay order more than usual. Shipping delay may create doubt to customer and then he may claim refund.
- Notify your customer: If you provide subscription and recurring billing facilities, make sure you notify your customer before you charge a customer’s card. Tell them exactly why they are being charged. Maintain a transparent relationship with your customer because one of the common reasons for friendly fraud and chargebacks is unforeseen recurring billing.
- Follow processor protocol: There is set protocol of every credit card processor. While swiping card in Card Present Purchase make sure to check the date of expiry and enter the security code. Whereas, in Card Not Present Purchases your credit card processor need to give permission for processing. To complete the transaction some extra formalities may have to be done like customer’s IP address, digital signature etc.
- Spot warning signs of fraud: If you have noticed any sign of fraud then check AVS, also ask for CVV, use VAU and fine-tune fraud filters. Be very alert check the billing and shipping address. You can even call the customer for the better understanding.
- Have trained employees: Your staff should be well trained and should know how to deal with both card-present and card-not-present purchases. Untrained worker will not be able to identify signs of frauds which can affect your business adversely.
- Fight back only when you are sure: Sometimes it is recommended to not fight every chargeback unless you are sure that you will win the case. You must not devote your time and resources on something not worthy. It will only make your hurt your relationships with your merchant account provider.
- Use a chargeback protection services: If you are a high risk business and prone to large number of chargebacks, chargeback prevention services is the solution. There are companies available in market which helps merchant to prevent and fight chargebacks. They provide with fraud protection tools. It will work as an extra layer of protection.
- Get the best payment processor: Last but the most important thing which you should take care of is to get an authentic and suitable merchant account for your business. As they provide you payment solution with fraud detection and security features. If your merchant account provider is not well experienced then your business at risk. Do all your research and then choose a merchant account provider who can understand your nature of business and risk associate with it. One of the leading merchant account providers in market is iPayTotal which helps you at every step with decades of working experience and professional workers.
With presence of mind and extra efforts you can totally protect your business from friendly fraud and chargeback. Keep the above mentioned measures in mind and you are ready to fight.