International orders can really help boost sales and donations, but they carry higher inherent risks. To help avoid being the victim of fraud, we recommend shipping products outside of the US only once you have vetted the cardholder and verified their address. Below are some best practices for your organization to follow when accepting international transactions.
- Use AVS (Address Verification System): Always use AVS for eCommerce or keyed transactions. If you are processing with Authorize.net, the default Address Verification Service (AVS) settings will automatically reject transactions placed on cards that were not issued in the United States, and you will see a letter code returned with the decline reason that corresponds to a specific AVS reject reason. If you decide to change those default settings so these transactions are not automatically declined, please take care to not fulfill the order, especially a large order, without vetting the customer first.
- Require copies of the customer’s passport and the front and back of the credit card: Most thieves will not reply, assuming that you are “fraud aware”, and have caught on to them. If they do respond, contact the card-issuing bank using the toll-free number on the back of the card and ask them to call their customer to verify that the charge is legitimate.
- Call the phone number given with the order: It may be bogus or could be the actual number of the person whose card was stolen. Ask the cardholder for the card expiration date, and the details of the order. Fraudsters often lose track of which card they used on which site, and go on a “shopping spree”, not remembering who they ordered from or what they ordered. A legitimate consumer will know exactly what they ordered and will be able to repeat their order accurately.
- Trust your Instincts: At the end of the day, we recommend trusting your “gut feeling.” Only you, the merchant, know your business well enough to determine if a transaction smells fishy or not. Use your best judgment, and when in doubt, ask for additional information from your customer. There’s a good rule of thumb: If your organization can’t withstand the loss of a sale plus the inventory, then we highly recommend either passing on the order, or requesting a wire-transfer. A legitimate customer will be willing to either verify their identity or complete the sale with an alternate payment. If you ever have further questions about a potentially fraudulent sale, give us a ring so we can help out!