For retailers, the battle against fraud is an ongoing challenge, and one particular adversary that continues to wreak havoc is friendly fraud. This deceptive tactic involves customers making a purchase and later claiming a chargeback or dispute on their credit card, citing reasons like non-receipt of items or unauthorized card usage. In a recent article, a new dimension to this problem has been coined as “first-party delivery fraud.” In this blog post, we’ll explore the prevalence of this issue, its impact on merchants, and strategies to prevent and respond effectively.
Understanding First-Party Delivery Fraud:
First-party delivery fraud occurs when a customer falsely claims they never received a purchased item, despite having it in their possession. This form of friendly fraud poses a significant threat to merchants, with statistics revealing that a staggering one-third of Americans engage in this deceptive practice. With 52% of Gen Z consumers admitting they would commit fraud if there were no consequences, it becomes crucial for retailers to address this issue proactively.
The Costly Consequences for Merchants:
The consequences of first-party delivery fraud extend beyond the immediate loss of a sale or product. Merchants face additional financial burdens, including chargeback fees, potential reserve holds, and even the risk of losing their merchant accounts if chargeback rates surpass 1%. In a landscape where profit margins are essential, these losses can significantly impact a retailer’s bottom line.
Combatting First-Party Delivery Fraud: A Three-Step Approach
- Send a Detailed Investigative Notice: Merchants should take the initiative to send customers an official investigative notice, highlighting the potential fraud and its consequences. This notice serves as a wake-up call, informing customers that their actions are actively being investigated by a licensed private investigator.
- Compile an Investigative Report: Create a comprehensive investigative report that includes facts about the reported transaction, emphasizing any inaccuracies in the customer’s claim. Include a visual element such as a picture of the purchased item to reinforce the reality of the transaction.
- Engage in Proactive Measures: Utilize various measures to counteract first-party delivery fraud. This includes reaching out to neighbors in the customer’s area, asking them to be on the lookout for the purchased item. Running a trace route on the IP address used for the transaction and searching social media and online marketplaces for the item can provide additional evidence.
Terms and Conditions: Adding a Layer of Protection
To strengthen the retailer’s position, consider adding terms and conditions to the website that address fraudulent disputes. Include clauses specifying that false disputes may incur liability, along with a potential investigative fee. While the enforceability of such clauses may vary, they serve as a deterrent and a clear statement of the merchant’s stance against fraudulent activities.
In the relentless battle against friendly fraud, merchants must adopt a proactive and strategic approach. By combining investigative efforts, engaging customers, and fortifying terms and conditions, retailers can navigate the complex landscape of first-party delivery fraud. Ultimately, creating awareness about the consequences of fraudulent claims is essential in deterring customers from engaging in deceptive practices. As the retail landscape evolves, staying vigilant and implementing robust anti-fraud measures will be crucial for safeguarding businesses against the rising tide of friendly fraud.