Outsmarting Cyber Criminals

Mar 27, 2014

Cyber criminals and data hackers are constantly finding new ways to defeat retailers’ data security and fraud prevention systems. Sometimes these criminals come in a swipe thousands of dollars at once, or just a few dollars. Regardless of the amount stolen, the fact is that it should not happen. However, there are new technologies on the horizon to help stop these cyber thefts.

Fraudulent transactions are not the only threats posed by criminals to retailers. Part of what makes retailers highly attractive targets to criminals is the amount of credit card account data running through their systems. Many cyber criminals are skilled in intercepting that data as it travels through the merchant’s system to its processor and back. Once the data is breached, it can be resold to fraudulent rings and websites. This is what happened with the Target data breach back in December 2013. Information was available to purchase online from various websites that sell stolen credit card and personal information.

While troubling, this is not the only way that cyber thieves steal information. Merchants that have developed shopping applications with one-click checkout, such as Amazon.com, have inadvertently created a weak spot that criminals can exploit with malware. While a one-click checkout is fast for loyal shoppers in a hurry, the fact that the information is easily stored is one of the things that cyber hackers look for. One solution to this problem is to require mobile users to sign in to the retailer’s app before it launches. It may seem like a hassle to consumers, but this method helps deter malware and cyber hackings.

Given the ongoing evolution of fraud and data security threats, retailers can never rest on their laurels when it comes to safeguarding their web sites. Indeed, the threat of online fraud in the United States will only worsen in the next few years as Visa and MasterCard issuers roll out mandated chip and PIN cards. Those chip cards use a standard called EMV, which has become shorthand for the move to the more secure credit and debit card technology. These cards are the norm in Europe, and are virtually hacker-proof. However, like all technological advances, hackers learn new ways to advance their work.

Cyber criminals and hacker are perceptive. They know the ways consumers shop, and it makes it easier for them to hack accounts. The Target data theft, for instance, showed that even foreign hackers knew the businesses US shopping season. However, as terrible as this seems, there are rather simple ways that retailers can limit the ease hackers can have.  In addition, the upcoming chip and PIN cards are sure to limit damage, as well. Regardless, all consumers and vendors must be cautious when dealing with credit card transactions.


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Having a merchant account allows an account holder to take advantage of merchant cash advances. When a merchant is approved for an advance, the business agrees to receive a lump sum of cash in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of future credit card sales.

Pricing varies depending on the merchant’s industry, past credit card processing history, the type of business seeking the account, average ticket sales, and average transaction volumes.

Yes, EMB works with merchants who are building their credit, as well as those who have poor credit. EMB also approves merchants that have no credit card processing history and businesses that have lost their merchant accounts due to high chargebacks.

Several factors influence a merchant’s risk level. Though only one factor likely will not get a merchant classified as high risk, a combination of these may: business size, location, and industry, credit score, credit card processing history, a industry’s reputation for excessive chargebacks, a prior history of high chargeback ratios, and whether a merchant exclusively sells online.

Virtual terminals are stationed on a merchant’s website, making it easy for customers to make a payment or purchase online. Merchants or a payment processor can easily set up virtual terminals, so online businesses can accept credit and debit card and e-check transactions.

A merchant account is a business account with an acquiring bank. Without this business account, which actually works more like a line of credit, a merchant cannot accept and process credit and debit card transactions. Businesses need a merchant account to accept major credit cards via a static point-of-sale terminal, mobile card reader, or through a virtual payment gateway.

After filling out EMB’s simple online application and submitting any necessary, requested documents, many merchants get approved within 24 and 48 hours.

EMB specializes in working with high-risk merchants. EMB works with many merchants, including but not limited to businesses in these industries: gambling and gaming, adult entertainment, nutraceuticals, vaping and e-cigarettes, electronics, tech support, travel, high-end furniture, weight loss programs, calling cards, e-books and software, and telecommunications.

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