Online fraud: Avoiding the seven deadly sins
by Ori Eisen - Chief Innovation Officer at 41st Parameter - Wednesday, 6 January 2010.
By using the points below, companies transacting online can reduce the threat of fraudulent purchases or unauthorized account access and ensure a safer experience for their legitimate customers.

1. Donít miss the opportunity to log transactions Ė sessions should be designed to do more than just execute or take an order

Online forms can be designed so that they provide clues and signals for use during a fraud investigation. Retailers should ensure they issue a unique 'key' for each transaction. This will make it easier to find a specific order/activity involved in a chargeback claim.

2. Don't ignore the information from browsers and http headers, it can deter or detect fraud

It is fairly straightforward to lift the time zone from a device purchasing a product or claiming a chargeback. This can be compared to where the claim is coming from in order to identify anomalies. Internet tools, such as Google Maps, can easily confirm that shipping addresses match the likely end-consumer.

3. Donít transact with automated scripts Ė have a plan to identify BOTS

Look at session times and orders for clues that it is not a human conducting the transaction. These can include purchases being made at very high speeds or extremely high volumes of orders.

4. Donít tip your hand Ė keep your fraud deterrent tactics covert, don't let a fraudster know you are on to them.

Let all transactions flow as if they will be processed and only review the suspicious ones. Also, forcing data entry to comply to a specific format hurts your chances of recognizing fraud. Many clues on a repeat offender can be recognized by looking at how they complete applications or forms, such as the use of punctuation in street abbreviations.

5. Donít ignore the growth in mobile commerce Ė and the associated risk of fraud

Do not skimp on security layers for a mobile commerce site. Fraud Rings use VMWare to emulate smartphones and gain access to mobile commerce websites. Retailers must create multiple authentication layers on every online portal because fraudsters commonly take the easiest route to the information they need.

6. Donít give them what they need Ė mask sensitive data to deter ID theft

For companies that keep images, such as cheques, contracts or invoices online, they must mask the critical account information and personal information. Legal documents and other filings on municipal sites should also mask the personally identifiable information to avoid facilitating ID theft.

7. Donít allow forms to include "Rubbish"

Set monitors to look for non-words, such as 'asdf' in the name field and donít allow forms to auto-accept an entry just based on it having the correct number of characters, such as six digits for the post code of an area.

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