Category: Fraud

Force Authorization Scam

From the Santa Barbara Police Department

Information Bulletin
Santa Barbara, CA – 08/21/19
Force Authorization Scam
An authorization code is an alphanumeric password that authorizes a purchase. A force authorization may be required for times when a merchant’s payment terminal cannot connect to the network or the amount of the sale is above a predetermined amount. The authorization code allows a merchant to bypass the process by manually entering a previously obtained authorization code.
Recently, two Santa Barbara downtown businesses fell victim to a credit card authorization fraud scheme. Based on the recent events, we would like to inform businesses of the scheme presented and ways in which to defend your business from such incidents.
Common scams include both over the phone and in person transactions.
Example 1: The suspect/customer enters the store and attempts to make an expensive purchase. When their credit card is denied, he or she will likely pretend to be upset and act as if he or she is contacting the bank. The suspect(s) will hand you their personal phone and have you speak with the (fake) bank representative, who will provide you a force authorization code. A later chargeback will result and the merchant will be at a loss.
Example 2: The suspect/customer will arrange for a transaction and provide the credit card number and an alias. The customer will provide the authorization code once the card declines to force the fraudulent transaction through. A rapport is usually generated prior to the actual transaction to cause the employee to further believe the transaction is legitimate.
Best Practices:
* Never enter an authorization code given by a cardholder to force a transaction. Always contact the cardholder’s issuing bank yourself to obtain the valid code.
*  Ask for identification, especially for expensive transactions made over the phone to verify the identity of the caller. This can be sent to you (the merchant) via fax, email, or text.
* Do not hand your payment terminal to the customer as the customer may enter the fraudulent authorization code themselves without your knowledge.

Mystery shop ’til you drop? Not so fast

by Lisa Lake
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

 

Who wouldn’t love getting paid to shop and dine at cool places and then review them? Whether you’re a student looking for a summer job or someone wanting to start a side or full-time business, mystery shopping sounds like an exciting option. But while some mystery shopping opportunities are legitimate, many are scams that rob you, not pay you.
Read the full article HERE

JURY SCAM ALERT

Santa Barbara County Superior Court officials are aware of a scam in which identity thieves target local residents and threaten them for failing to report for jury service.
These perpetrators then ask for confidential information.
Jury Services staff NEVER ask for Social Security Numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers or other confidential and sensitive information. 
Information such as this is not contained within our database and we do not request this information from the juror.
We urge all members of the public to be aware of such scams and be careful whenever you reveal confidential information over the telephone.
Do not give out such information over the phone to anyone who calls you claiming to be with the jury office of the Superior Court.
The court is aware of such activity in Santa Barbara County.  A similar scam has also been reported in Ventura County.  If you receive such a telephone call please contact your local law enforcement agency.

The Most Effective Ways To Protect Your Small Business From Cyber Attacks

by Jeff Charles
Okay, I’m going to start with a question.
What would happen if a hacker decided to launch a cyber attack against your business? Would they be successful? Would they easily gain access to your company’s sensitive information? Or would their attempt fall flat?
Believe it or not, cyber security isn’t just a concern for large businesses. It’s something that small business owners need to pay attention to.

 

FULL ARTICLE HERE

Businesses’ Core Functions Are More Vulnerable to Hackers

Companies are connecting behind-the-scenes business software to the internet, meaning that the systems that run their accounting, supply chains and other core functions are increasingly vulnerable to hackers.

 

Read the full article HERE

 

 

 

 

How To Reduce Credit Card Fraud On Your Online Store

By Robirt Kong, 
Consumers spent $517.36 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2018, up 15% from $449.88 billion spent the year prior, according to a new Internet Retailer analysis of industry data and historical U.S. Commerce Department figures. Unfortunately, as growth in online payments continues to climb so do instances of credit card fraud. In fact, Aite Group estimates that card-not-present (physical card not present during a transaction) fraud is expected to increase to $7.2 billion by 2020.
Read the whole article HERE

 

Password Risks

After what I witnessed helping a friend the other day, I need to alert everyone.
We can never assume and take for granted that everyone who has an online presence is technically savvy.
A few examples: Doctors, Plumbers, Electricians, Architects, Hair Stylists and many more.
All these people are trying to land customers, and have a LinkedIn account, a Facebook account, a Twitter account and maybe an Instagram account.
The big risk here is the password use. Was helping my friend to update his Facebook page and noticed something that alarmed me.
He was using ONE yes ONE password for everything. His Bank account, his Social Media pages and his email.
I explained a few things and he thanked me for saving the day.
So here are some basic rules for everyone to follow:

 

  1. NEVER USE ONLY ONE PASSWORD FOR EVERYTHING.
  2. HAVE ONE PASSWORD FOR BANKING, ANOTHER FOR EMAIL AND ANOTHER FOR SOCIAL MEDIA.
  3. NEVER USE YOUR NAME, BIRTH DATE, MAILING ADDRESS OR PHONE NUMBER AS A PASSWORD.
  4. TRY TO USE NUMBERS AND LETTERS AS WELL AS SOME *&^%
  5. IF YOU ARE NOT USING LASTPASS, CHROME OR OTHER PASSWORD MANAGER: Open an Excel Sheet and create a password list to remember them.
  6. MAKE IT A HABIT TO CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS A FEW TIMES PER YEAR.
I hope that this will help. If you are unsure, or have questions, please fell free to contact me and I will help you with this very important task.
Stay safe in the world wide web everyone!