Moneris Blue Book of Business Scams: point of sale (POS)

March 30, 2020

Every year, small business owners lose millions of dollars to fraud. With identity theft, chargeback fraud, online, and in-store scams, there are several ways fraudsters can target your business. In this edition of Moneris' Blue Book of Business Scams, we'll cover POS scams and share easy steps you can take to prevent fraud.

Moneris Blue Book of Business Scams: point of sale (POS)

In the previous edition of this series, we covered several scams that target small businesses, from door-to-door to online and beyond.

In this post, we'll be exploring a related topic: POS fraud. Being the victim of fraud can be scary—you often don't know you are a target until it's too late. What's more, new and different tactics that take advantage of small businesses are popping up all the time.

So what's a small business owner to do? Staying informed and vigilant is your best course of preventative action.

Day-to-day activities to prevent in-store fraud

Making each item below a routine part of daily duties for you and your employees is a great way to keep fraud top-of-mind—and ultimately prevent it.

  1. Routinely check the POS (or PIN pad) for signs of physical damage or tampering
  2. Regularly check that there are no additional or unexplained cords attached to terminals
  3. Routinely check the security seals on the PIN pad to make sure they have not been cut or remove
  4. Secure countertop POS devices using fixed stands or tethers, and routinely check that there is no damage to these attachments
  5. Audit device serial numbers to ensure they match the terminal numbers you have on file regularly
  6. When presented with a payment card, look for the following elements:​
    1. Verify the sharpness of the embossing and font
    2. Hologram
    3. Card expiration date
    4. Signature panel
    5. Cardholder’s signature
  7. Ensure that proper card acceptance procedures are included in staff training documents
  8. Clearly display store policies for exchanges and returns

Other ways to prevent in-store fraud

There are several things you and your staff can look out for to prevent fraud during face-to-face transactions

Be aware of suspicious customer behaviours

Any of the following taking place could be an indicator of a customer attempting to make a fraudulent transaction.

  • A customer seeming to randomly picking up merchandise for purchase without care
  • A customer appearing nervous or in a hurry
  • A customer taking their payment card from their pocket rather than their wallet
  • The customer's signature not matching the signature on the credit card
  • A customer making large, random, expensive purchases

Take the proper processing procedures

It can be all too easy to let procedures fall by the wayside when you're processing so many in-store transactions a day.

However, it's more important than ever to ensure you and your employees are treating each transaction with attention and care to prevent fraud. Be sure to:

  • Always check the payment card's security features
  • Insert a chip card into the terminal—only swipe when the chip is not present
  • Always get an imprint of the card for manual transactions,
  • Compare the signature with the back of the card
  • Keep your card reader in proper working order
  • Use Fraud Detection Equipment

Be informed about Code 10 authorizations

“Code 10” is a universal code that allows store employees to alert an authorization department of a suspected fraudulent transaction without alarming the customer.

If you or your employees are at all suspicious of a transaction and think it needs a closer look, call Moneris at 1-866-802-2637 and follow the prompts for a Code 10.

You have the power to fraud-proof your business

While it may seem like dealing with fraud is an unpleasant but inevitable part of being in business, it doesn't have to be. Small businesses have the most to lose as victims of fraud, so it's in your best interest to stay vigilant. 

Ensure you and your employees are equipped with the knowledge and tools to recognize and prevent fraudulent attempts, and you'll be in a much more secure position.


The information in this article is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be legal, business or other professional advice or an endorsement of any of the websites or services listed. 

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