Credit card companies are reporting that they have seen a general rise in fraud during the past six months. Flooring dealers and contractors are not being spared (and in some cases, are being specifically targeted) as victims, with an uptick of reports of recent instances.
There are several different ways this is happening. Being aware of the common scams can help you protect yourself. You’re at risk not only because of the increase in the fraud itself, but to compound the difficulty, the credit card companies, seeing so many cases of fraud, may be less likely to return your money due to their own self-preservation instincts.
One credit card processing company says that ever since COVID-19 hit, they are seeing a sharp increase in chargebacks in general. Compounding this uptick, dishonest people know that if you swipe their card (and do not have a processor that will take chip or tap technology), or if they just give a card number over the phone, they can dispute the charge, and the merchant often has little recourse. So what’s happening is that people will receive their flooring and then dispute the charge for various lame or fraudulent reasons. Because swipe technology is outdated and not secure, the credit card companies are holding the merchant responsible. Unfortunately, scammers have figured that out and are taking full advantage, defrauding honest contractors and businesses in the process.
If you take credit cards, whether as a contractor or at your storefront, you are at risk for this type of scam.
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF?
• First, upgrade to credit card processors with tap and chip technologies. It gives you more recourse for restitution or to challenge chargebacks.
• Require a signature upon delivery, installation, and purchase, confirming that they received the product, it was in good condition, they approve of the installation, etc.
STOLEN CREDIT CARD SCAMS
There is another scam that is trending in the industry. It goes something like this:
A potential customer will call and order the product. They will give you a credit card over the phone that will process just fine, and then someone else will pick up the product a day or two later. Sometime later, the credit card company will come back and tell you that you took a stolen credit card and charge you back for the purchase. Because you took the stolen card, you have no recourse with the processor, nor with the bank, nor with Visa/Amex. The dealer is the one stuck with the loss. We recently talked with a dealer who lost $13,000 in this sophisticated scam. Many others throughout the industry have reported similar victimizations.
We recently shared about this scam with our flooring software customers, and one dealer reported that within hours of reading the email, he was hit with an attempt. He followed the suggestions above, and the thief ultimately disconnected the call. So please be cautious, and do all you can to protect yourself.
Chad Ogden is the CEO/President of QFloors, a software provider for flooring stores, located in South Jordan, Utah. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.