Magazine article Business Credit

Sales Numbers Trending Up? Now's the Time to Become Credit Card Fraud-Free

Magazine article Business Credit

Sales Numbers Trending Up? Now's the Time to Become Credit Card Fraud-Free

Article excerpt

According to a March 13 report from the Commerce Department, retail sales increased 1.1% in February, to $421.4 billion, marking the biggest surge in the retail space since last September. Elevated sales numbers mean additional credit card transactions and, as a result, an increased risk for fraud.

A recent report from Javelin Strategy & Research found that credit card fraud has increased an alarming 87% since 2010 and accounted for a cumulative total loss of approximately $6 billion. Despite mounting evidence of this growing epidemic, loss as a result of credit card fraud has remained the proverbial elephant in the room for many businesses.

Organizations need to increase their awareness of this growing threat and the rather simple steps they can take to prepare themselves. Here are five tips for businesses of all sizes to keep in mind as they navigate through the economic climate in 2013 and beyond:

1. Immediately deal with any breach. It's critical to understand that even if all cautious, conservative steps are taken, and the best payment processing security is installed, a breach can still occur. If it does, you must have detailed credit card sales records to refer back to as a means of retracing your steps. This will help in determining when and where the breach took place and therefore mitigate the potential for additional losses. Furthermore, a proper assessment of the initial attack may ultimately provide a trail back to the source of the breach.

2. Maintain PCI Compliance. Not only is it against card brand regulations if you're not Payment Card Industry (PCI)-compliant when accepting credit or debit cards, but it's also an absolute must in today's economic climate. Make certain your payment processing software security is current and is PA-DSS (Payment Application Data Security Standard)-certified, and that your business receives their PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) certification.

PCI certification provides a level of confidence and assurance that a processor has followed and passed a robust set of best practices for securing the information being processed when credit card payments are made. There's no silver bullet here. You have a responsibility to protect your customer's credit card information, just like you should be protecting all of your customer data.

The depth of the audit required will depend on your business volume and systems, but a full PCI audit will offer a scorecard across your business' payments environment, including all connected back-office applications, allowing you to make critical changes before security holes are exposed by thieves.

3. Use end-to-end encryption for all sensitive data. End-to-end encryption (E2EE) essentially boils down to scrambling the data sent from one device to another. …

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