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This does not ensure that person you are speaking to on phone did not lift card from someone in a store or on street. You MUST do step #3 to ensure your safety.
5. Call toll free number they gave you over phone. Explain to bank that you are a merchant with an Internet store, and you need to verify that order you received was a valid one. You can give address that customer gave you as a billing address to allow bank to verify that this is correct address.
You're STILL NOT FINISHED YET.
6. Make a copy of order from your online store. Make a copy of verification printout that you get or write down authorization number received when you verified that credit card had enough on it to make sale. Make a copy of invoice. File these away in a safe place. You would not believe how many times we've received letters from our merchant account provider that ask us for these things because customer is trying to do a chargeback against us, claiming they never made transaction in first place. YOU EAT THESE and sometimes lose your merchant account if there are too many of them. And there are more than make me comfortable! If you don't save copies of this documentation, you lose!
7. Another method of verification that will protect you: For orders over a certain dollar amount (the amount is wherever your level of UNcomfort is), we fax our customers a copy of credit card slip and have them sign it, then fax it back. We sometimes also have them put their card under a blank piece of paper, scratch over it with a pencil so that an impression of card number, expiration, and name on card show up, then have them sign this piece of paper and fax it to us.
If customer has sent you a check, MAKE A COPY OF THE CHECK. Attach this to invoice and file in a safe place.
Now, I know that Internet online stores seem to be an easy place to make a quick, lazy buck, but as you can see, not talking to who orders from you and not using services of Visa, Discover, Mastercard, and American Express can hurt you.
When I return, Iíll provide you with some resources to protect your online store even further.
Lynne Schlumpf is the CEO of Route 66 Cyber Cafe, Inc., http://www.r66cci.com, a Web hosting and design company specializing in promoting websites for new owners, building affordable e-commerce sites, and providing reliable web hosting solutions as an affiliate of Virtualis Incorporated.