Fraud and theft are unfortunate facts of life in the grocery business. However, knowing what to be mindful of can help you reduce your potential exposure. As one of the world’s largest card payment processors, we have compiled a list of the most common frauds we have encountered through our time working with the grocery trade, along with how to best protect your business. By Chris Davies, Managing Director, Global Payments.

Chris_Davies1. Multiple cards used and declined attempts: Fraudsters often buy batches of card details and will try to place orders over the phone or online, continuing with each set of card details until one works. If you get multiple declines, be careful with the order.

2. Requests to refer an authorisation request: If the message ‘CALL AUTH CENTRE’ appears on the terminal, you should call the authorisation centre immediately so checks can be made that your customer is the genuine cardholder and they can supply you with an authorisation code. Never accept codes provided by         customers.

3. Split sales: If a transaction declines for the full amount, do not split the total into smaller amounts, or spread it over several cards. Fraudsters are frequently unaware of the available balance of stolen cards and will ask you to try various amounts until they can get a transaction to go through.

4. Mag stripe fallback transactions: Be cautious if a customer says that the chip on their card doesn’t work or that they have forgotten their PIN.

5. Customer distraction: A fraudster may attempt to distract you when they are entering their PIN, so they can enter a dummy auth code. Be wary of any customer who holds onto the terminal for longer than is necessary.

6. Third party delivery addresses: Take care when you are given an alternative delivery address. One option is to send a letter to the billing address requesting confirmation the order is genuine before it is dispatched. Or you can use sites such as and Google Streetview to verify customers and delivery addresses.

7. Phishing calls: If anyone calls your business saying that they’re a terminal engineer or a card company and ask for details of the last few transactions you processed, do not give them any information. This is one way fraudsters get hold of card details, which they use to commit Cardholder Not Present, or CNP, fraud.

By ensuring both you and your staff are alert to these common frauds and working in partnership with your card processor, you will be able to better protect your business from these threats and their repercussions.

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