FraudAs a sales guy for Spry, I see almost every new order that comes through our system. It’s my job to catch the fraudulent orders and make sure they don’t get activated and that the actual cardholder gets his or her money back. I sometimes feel like somewhat of a superhero; sticking it to the bad guys and preserving the good names of the innocent (okay, it may be a stretch, but I like what I do).

Credit Card fraud costs consumers and businesses millions of dollars each year and, even if we’re not victims of credit card or identity theft, we all pay for it with increasing interest rates and monthly security fees.

Spry is doing it’s part to help thwart credit card fraud by taking the time to look over each and every order. Our Fraud Guardian software is stellar at flagging obvious fraud, but there are some very crafty phishers out there that know how to make a fraudulent order look very real. There are no perfect software applications designed to catch fraud, hence the reason that I have a job. Human intervention is a big part of catching the guys that commit credit card fraud. Software can catch the glaringly obvious, but a real person can see subtle details that a software package can’t. Having real people double checking orders adds a layer of protection for both Spry and the card holder.

There are many times that I request verification of a customer’s identity due to discrepancies in the information provided at time of signup. Often, my instincts are correct and I’m able to void or refund a charge to a credit card before much damage is done. There are times, however, that a customer is really a valid customer. Most are very cooperative and will provide the requested verification without question, some are militant and won’t budge without an explanation. Some will even say to cancel the order because they refuse to provide the requested information (I’m pretty sure that most of these are fraudulent, as well).

What folks need to realize is that we’re not asking for verification on a whim. Likely, there was one little detail that made the order look suspicious. We’re not trying to be jerks about it, we just want make sure that it’s really you placing the order and not some scammer in Nigeria or Malaysia that has your credit card information. Spry takes your privacy VERY seriously. We will never share, resell or otherwise distribute any information used to place an order, and any information sent to us for verification purposes is destroyed or deleted after the verification is complete.

We’re interested in protecting our company from the costly effects of fraud. More so, we’re diligent about protecting the consumer from damaging fraudulent charges that can destroy credit ratings and ruin one’s financial well being. If we ask for verification details, please don’t make us out to be the bad guy. Instead, think of us as the first line of defense against those that would otherwise use your good credit to obtain services for their own gain.

Here are a few tips to keep yourself protected from credit card fraud:

- NEVER give your credit card information to someone you don’t know or can’t be verified.

- If you receive an email from your bank or PayPal, check the authenticity before you click on any links. Banks and PayPal will never ask you to give them your password. If you see something like this, report it immediately.

- Always check your accounts for fraudulent activity. Most transactions, even if they have not been fully processed, will show up on your account details online.

- Know the company you’re dealing with. Do a Google search and see what others have to say before you place an order. The BBB is also a good resource for information on reputable companies.

- Update your passwords regularly. Make sure they’re strong passwords that use a combination of letters (in a combination of upper and lower case) and numbers. Even better, if your financial institution allows use of symbols, toss a couple in your password for good measure.

- Never carry PIN numbers with your credit cards. Commit them to memory and change them every 6 months or so.

- Keep your antivirus and spyware protection software up to date. Many scammers employ the use of keyloggers that can assist in capturing your private information. Good protection software will catch the majority of these malicious programs.

If you feel that you are a victim of credit card fraud, contact your bank immediately. They can help you get your information secure and give you some insight into what went wrong. If you see charges from Spry, call the sales or billing department so we can look into the problem for you and try to get it corrected (after you contact your bank, of course). Please know that we cannot give out details such as originating IP or email address of the individual that commits fraud without a subpoena from the authorities, so make sure to report the incident as well.

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