Keeping One Eye Open: These 8 Red Flags Will Help You Spot Fraudulent Transactions

While e-commerce has greatly grown within recent years, the threat of fraudulent transactions is also unfortunately higher. In fact, according to the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), a survey of 700 finance and treasury professionals found that a whopping 78 percent of organizations received at least one fraudulent transaction.

As one can imagine, fraudulent transactions can cause immense losses for business big and small. Although you can never be so safe, there are fortunately ways you as the merchant can spot fraudulent transactions before they occur:

1. Faster shipping requested for high-value items

Especially when purchasing valuable items, fraudsters will want the items as quickly as possible. That said, they may pay for the fastest method of shipping. This ensures that the products ship out and get in their hands before the cardholder even realizes there’s a suspicious transaction on their card and has it removed.

2. Abnormally large orders

While it’s possible a large order is genuine, sometimes this is may be a result of a fraudulent transaction. From a fraudster’s perspective, they’ll want to purchase as much as they possibly can within a short period of time they may have.

3. Several small orders

As an alternative to placing a suspiciously large order, fraudsters might instead place several smaller orders. However, some credit cards will automatically shut off if there are several items purchased within a slim time frame. Of course, not all cards have this level of security.

4. Orders placed to different addresses from the same card

Because it looks suspicious to place a very large order or multiple small orders, fraudsters might think they’ll get away with their fraudulent act if they send orders to various addresses. Be wary of this.

5. Delivery to an office building or P.O. box

To avoid having their personal address on file, thus making if harder to track down them down, fraudsters might have their order delivered to an office or P.O. box instead. Especially if they are placing a large order, having their items sent to an office building might initially look less suspicious as it might merely seem like they would resell the items to the public legally.

6. In-store pickup

There are two reasons a scammer might opt for in-store pickup after placing an order: 1) to get the items they purchased before the cardholder cancels the transaction, and 2) to ensure there isn’t an address tied to their purchase.

7. Mismatched billing and shipping addresses

If a customer’s billing and shipping addresses don’t match up, this is one sign that the transaction is suspicious. Additionally, multiple orders to multiple addresses may share the same billing address or incorrect zip codes.

8. Inability to confirm customer information

If you cannot confirm a customer’s information, or they intentionally fail to provide it, you might also have a fraudster on your hands. Non-scammers should have no problem sharing general shipping and payment information.

While businesses can’t truly eliminate the risks of potentially fraudulent transactions, they can still do everything in their power to avoid such. Fortunately, Netverify offers a total solution to know and trust your customers.

Conclusion

Although at times, fraudulent transactions can be inevitable, one of the best things you can do as a merchant is keeping your eyes peeled for any suspicious orders. By spotting and reporting fraud, you can save your business, and potentially others’ businesses, from dealing with heavy financial losses.

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How the stock markets can help a business grow

In the public mindset, investing in or making use of the stock market is something that only small-scale, individual investors do. However, it’s also possible for companies and organizations to make the most of it: whether it’s by offering your own firm to other investors through an IPO or using company cash to buy shares in other firms, there are a lot of options.

Initial public offerings

Perhaps the main way that the stock market can be used to a company’s benefit is through a market float, or an initial public offering (IPO). Most American companies are owned by private investors, which means that the general public or wider investor market can’t simply buy shares in the way that they usually can for one on the stock market. An IPO changes that: it means that a company offers some or all of its value for the public to buy, which in turn means a big cash injection.

The key to a successful IPO is research, as it’s only by doing this that a firm can find out the right time to strike. In almost every case, a company will choose to employ a specialist who can manage the IPO process for them – but company staff should still be as aware as possible of market movements. A stock events calendar should be used to locate occasions and dates to be avoided, while keeping a keen eye on news stories about previous IPOs in publications such as the Financial Times will help you build up some perspective on how it works.

Cash investment destination

For businesses that aren’t quite ready to float their value on the stock market just yet, one alternative is to invest any spare cash they have in the stock market. It’s not just retail or individual investors who invest in stocks and shares – companies can also do it. Beware of any tax implications of doing this, though: speak to your retained accountant first before making any moves.

Perhaps one of the most obvious ways that a company can invest in the stock market is through its pension funds. When employees pay into a pension pot, it needs to be invested somewhere in order to grow – and the stock market is one option. Whatever your reason for investing company cash in the stock market, though, you should always seek professional advice to mitigate the risk of losses – and when it comes to using employee pension cash, you should only do it through a pensions professional who can manage it all for you.

While it may seem at first glance like investing in the stock market is simply something that only retail investors do, firms can also use this asset class to their advantage. Whether your firm puts its cash to work by buying shares in other companies for speculative purposes or it goes as far as adding its own value to the stock market for general sale, there are plenty of ways you can go.

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Will Skyrocketing Debt Plunge the World into Another Financial Crisis?

Less than a decade ago, unsustainably high debt fueled the worst recession since the Great Depression, and millions of people all over the globe are still in various stages of recovery. But lest we think the worst is over, consider the fact that world debt overall is now far above the levels it was in 2008, and rising at a rate far higher than income. It appears that collectively and individually, we may be spending ourselves right back into another financial crisis, which could very well end up being worse than the last one.

debt

Where is all this debt coming from?

Among the egregiously overextended are numerous governments – Economist Intelligence said that total government debt has doubled since 2008 to $59 trillion – but governments aren’t the only offenders. Add household, corporate and bank debt, and the grand total was $199 trillion in mid-2014: an increase of 40 percent since 2007, according to a 2015 study by McKinsey Global Institute.

And one of the most dramatic increases has been in United States student debt. According to data collected by the Federal Reserve, outstanding student loans have swelled from to $589 billion in 2007 to $1.35 trillion in 2016, a 130% increase. This leaves 2016 graduates with an average student loan debt of $37,172, a 6% increase from the previous year alone. Graduates’ average earnings for the year are $50,556, which represents a 5% increase over the previous year, and a slight decrease from the $50,900 the average graduate earned in 2007. Despite having done exactly what governments and central banks wanted them to do to help end the Great Recession– take advantage of historically low interest rates to borrow and spend – more than seven million are in default on their student loans, and the economic picture for 2016 graduates overall is bleak.

Students aren’t the only ones whose debt levels are surpassing their ability to repay. Overall, the U.S. debt-to-GDP percentage increased from 217% in 2007 to 233% in 2014. Other countries, notably Greece, Italy, Spain, and Japan, have seen their debt-to-GDP ratios swell even further. In all these cases, the skyrocketing debt levels have left many people with little money left over for spending beyond basic necessities, which can only hurt economies that are dependent upon consumer spending to thrive. Still, governments continue to hold historically low interest rates to encourage spending, despite the fact that doing so sends a clear vote of no confidence in their economies.

Even the student debt crisis isn’t insolvable

The U.S. government could make student indebtedness much less of a burden by taking a couple of straightforward measures, as other countries have done. First of all, reducing the interest rates charged for student loans would make a marked difference. As it stands now, the rates applied to student loans are higher than those applied to business and mortgage loans. Some suggest that there is a moral as well as economic imperative to cease treating student debt as a profit center, and that it would be appropriate for banks to charge at or near the base rate that the Fed charges them for working capital, currently near the 5% level.

In addition, extending the time period between graduation and the onset of student loan repayments would significantly ease the burden on students, who typically begin their careers at low wage levels, and for whom the almost immediate burden of student loan repayment cripples their ability to become consumers.

Also consider that student loans in the U.S. must currently be repaid within ten years, with monthly payments much higher than those paid by students in Germany, where the debt repayment is spread out over 20 years, or in England, where repayment of student loans is stretched out over 30 years. In Australia, students get an even bigger break, as they are not required to begin repaying their loans until their income reaches roughly $40,000. Once that income level is achieved, the student pays approximately 4% of their income until the loan is repaid. In addition to offering lower payments and longer payoff time, the Australian model is structured so as to increase or decrease the required payment amount in sync with the debtor’s income. This minimizes the burden in the event of decreased earnings. Students in the U.S. are given no such latitude, and are required to meet the established payments regardless of any fluctuations in their earnings.

In short, the burden placed upon students in the U.S. are onerous in comparison to that which students in other countries face. By treating an educated populace as long-term assets rather than shorter-term profit centers, the economic health of the country would be improved, as well as that of the graduates themselves. Without the crippling burden of massive debt hitting them during their early years in the workforce, students would become more capable consumers, driving the need for additional products and services, and expanding the workforce. It is possible – even likely – that the inevitable surge in the overall economy would reduce the need and temptation to go further into debt, thus avoiding the financial brinkmanship in which not just the U.S., but the world as well, finds itself at the present.

Current global trends aside, what can you do to avoid a personal financial crisis?

Making smart choices can keep you out of trouble

Although student loans are a big albatross for many, particularly in the U.S., it’s pretty clear that other types of debt – credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, small business loans – are problematic for millions who may still be financially fragile from the last global crisis. Debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of course, and in fact it’s often necessary to fund a business, make a major purchase or simply to build a credit history. But many people have found to their dismay that debt is a two-edged sword and can quickly become unmanageable if not handled properly.

Fortunately there are numerous resources to help consumers avoid problem debt or find a way out of a debt hole once they’re in too deep. For instance, online resources such as loan-comparison site and credit brokers provide much more than comprehensive side-by-side comparisons of lenders; they also include honest reviews from real customers, as well as abundant moneysaving tips and information about managing personal finances.

There is no reason for any prospective borrower with Internet access to make an uninformed choice. Being well-informed is a prerequisite to making intelligent choices about borrowing, saving, investing and anything else that will affect your bottom line. And ultimately that will be good for the global bottom line as well

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