This is the second article in the series about fraud which is presented by ATOQ, in partnership with ACTA and CATO and made possible by the support of PAX. Click here to read part one.
Most people are honest, so as simple as it sounds, your best protection is to know your client, and I mean really know your client.
The minute you start to deal with someone new, you are at risk; no matter how friendly they appear to be.
A natural question would be: how can I protect myself? What tools can I use? Unfortunately, the level of protection travel agents have at their disposal right now is similar to the protection given to Adam and Eve... not much! Your best defense is to remain suspicious until clients have proven their reliability over an extended period of time.
There are some simple and publically available tools that you can use to protect yourself from some of the most blatant attempts of fraud. BEWARE: Attacks can come from ANYWHERE!
Many times, there are cases of fraud that could have been avoided by checking some simple data. For instance here are some free tools you can use to:
1) Avoid transactions with foreign credit cards
Use a BIN checker to verify which bank issued the credit card (enter first 6 digits)
2) Ask for the client’s home address and then look it up on Google maps to see if it corresponds to what you have been told.
3) Ask client to provide you with a landline telephone number to use for contact purposes.
Do a reverse lookup to verify if addresses match
4) Check out the client's social media to see if their profile looks “normal”
5) People Search engine
6) IP lookup
One tool that you need to pay for but is reasonably priced for larger organizations:
This software will do a risk evaluation of the email your client is using. For instance, it will check how old the email is and if it has been used in other fraud activity in the past. The newer the email, the higher the risk. Cost is $108 USD monthly for 1,000 email verifications and it can be used for manual verification via browser extensions. Remember: fraudsters prey on our trusting nature, so don’t believe anything until you prove it!
Basic validation of information given to you by clients will help you reduce fraud!