SCAM ALERT- Don't Be A Victim!

Sunday, August 28, 2011
SCAM ALERT - Don't be a victim! 
There seems to be a rash of credit card scams lately - the most common over the past few weeks is one that you can absolutely avoid.  Here is the scenario:
 
A customer walks into your business or financial institution and attempts to make a purchase/cash advance.  When you run the card, you receive an error message - typically  "Call"  or "CIB" which stands for 'Call Issuing Bank' or possibly "Hold Card".  The customer calls their "issuing bank" in an effort to resolve the matter and hands you their phone with the "bank" on the line.  The helpful "bank representative" walks you through forcing the transaction through your terminal, providing you with an approval number.  The transaction completes successfully, and your customer happily walks out with the merchandise/service or cash advance.
 
This certainly sounds like a simple and harmless transaction, however in reality, the above mentioned scenario is most certainly going to come back to haunt you.  Just this week one of our merchants experienced this issue - their customer skipped straight past allowing the merchant to run the card, and immediately "confessed" that they had used the card so many times that day that they already had the "issuing bank" on their cell phone in effort to assist the busy merchant!!  The truth is that the "bank representative" on the other end of the customer's phone was just a party to the fraudulent transaction.  Because the authorization number was not issued by the actual card issuing bank, the transaction eventually rejected and funds were not paid to the merchant.  The merchant lost a substantial amount of product and the money from the transaction as well.
 
DO NOT allow yourself to be a victim - should you receive an error message indicating a challenge with a credit card, MAKE the call to the voice authorization center YOURSELF (this very important phone number can be found on the sticker on the side of your terminal).  If you allow the customer to make the call, you will have NO idea who you are speaking to and you will open yourself up to being ripped off.  Stay in control of the situation and know the actions to take when you get an error response- your bottom line may depend upon it!! 
 
Above all, ALWAYS feel free to call TMC with ANY questions or concerns that arise - we are happy to assist you whether it is providing you with a new terminal sticker (if yours is worn or no longer clearly legible) or in retrieving a VALID approval number should your terminal give any message beyond the usual "approved" response. 
Shannon Fry 8/28/2011

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