8 Common Sense Tips and Tricks to Fighting Fraud
With the arrival of the Major League Baseball playoffs, EasySeat is in one of its busiest times of the year. In the playoffs, demand for tickets skyrockets, especially for teams like the San Francisco Giants that don’t make the playoffs frequently, and prices typically follow suit. Unfortunately, with rising prices comes an increase in fraudulent orders. Scammers buy tickets using a stolen credit card and then sell them for cash on Craigslist, eBay, or even outside the venue. When the unlucky person who had their credit card stolen finds out and cancels the card, it’s usually the merchant that is left to foot the bill for the merchandise.
Since the New York Yankees making a trip to the World Series can mean big dollars for EasySeat, we’ve learned to be extra vigilant about catching fraudulent orders before tickets leave our office. Here’s a few quick, common sense tips and tricks that we use to avoid getting caught by a scammer.
1) Is their IP address located in the US? A free tool like WhatsMyIpAddress allows you to look up the location of a person’s IP, or internet, address. It’s only approximate; however, customers from Connecticut don’t typically order tickets online using a computer in Thailand.
2) Is the email address from a free service? Free email services like Yahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail require little to no identity verification and accounts can be created and deleted in seconds. Organizational emails, like easyseat.com, aren’t so easy to create or destroy, so thieves will avoid them in order to remain anonymous.
3) Can you find them on social media? With over 1 billion users, Facebook can be an easy way to find out if you’re dealing with a real person or not. If you find a profile, it can either confirm or contradict details about a customer placing a suspicious order.
4) Does the telephone area code match their billing address? A quick Google search for the area code can provide a quick validity check. While cell phone numbers are portable, it’s not very common for someone from Indiana to have a telephone number in a Northern New Jersey area code.
5) Can you reach them on the phone? The internet is the ultimate means of maintaining anonymity by hiding behind public Wifi, proxy servers, and free email accounts. A simple telephone call requires breaking that anonymity. In many cases, a fraudulent purchaser will never answer the phone nor will they have voicemail.
6) Can you find an alternate phone number or email for the person? Try looking up a landline phone on WhitePages.com and then call it. Just like free email services, disposable, prepaid cell phones leave no trace back to the caller, so they are the preferred communication tool of someone placing a fraudulent order.
7) Are they requesting overly expedited delivery? In college, I worked for a florist that made most deliveries in the afternoon. In rare cases, customers could not and would not wait, and they’d request courier service. Many of these orders were placed with stolen credit cards. When someone can’t wait even a few hours, it’s a big red flag.
8) Is price no object? When spending someone else’s money, price is never an issue. However, for real customers, there is always a cost-benefit tradeoff. Even EasySeat’s most affluent clients want to know the proportional relationship between the price of the ticket and the quality of the seat. If the buyer never asks or seems to care about price, there’s a good chance it’s a scam.
Ultimately, there are no hard and fast rules for catching fraud, however, it’s important to try to do due diligence in order to catch fraud before it costs the business money. Sometimes, the easiest thing to do is to use yourself and your friends as a small case study. Ask yourself, “Would I, or anyone I know, behave in such a manner? “ If the answer is no, then maybe it’s in your best interest to pass on the order. When it comes to online credit card fraud, the real victim is you, the merchant, and no sale is sometimes better than a fraudulent one.