Is Your Gift Card Program Protected From Fraud This Holiday Season?

Tis the season for shopping, gift-giving and holiday cheer. It’s also the season for gift card fraud! By the year 2018, gift cards will be a $160 billion-dollar industry and savvy criminals are creating new and inventive ways to exploit retailers who fail to implement safety measures to protect themselves from gift card fraud. While there is nothing like the holidays, the following tips can ensure your holidays remain full of cheer so you can minimize financial risk to your business while still providing the experience your customers are seeking.

Cards and data generation:

  • Print PINS with scratch-off over pin for enhanced PIN privacy
  • Data generation method should be random (with fixed prefix if necessary) to protect against scripting attempts to gain active card numbers
  • If necessary, increase PIN length from standard 4-digit PIN to 6-digits.

Card Production:

Added security features when producing cards are options to explore if you are concerned about plastic card counterfeiting. While this will impact your per card cost, it will also ensure that cards are more difficult to replicate.

The following options are available:

  • Holograms. We’re all familiar with holograms on our driver’s license and credit card. The same concept can apply to gift cards as well. A holographic logo or symbol printed on your card will require no additional equipment to read and is very difficult to replicate. Be aware there will likely be additional set up cost and quantity minimums.
  • UV printing. UV printing is invisible to the naked eye. It can be added to a card front or back and will require the clerk to view the card with the aid of blacklight to detect and confirm the card’s authenticity.

Website Balance checker:

  • Protect online balance checker with PIN verification and Captcha.
  • Implement a “three strikes” or similar rule on site front-end to restrict attempts from a single IP address. Shut down repetitive attempts to check a balance or redeem cards with incorrect card number or PIN. Provide messaging directing user to contact customer care.
  • Set up alerts for balance checking activity outside normal limits to enable early detection and shut down of IP address making such attempts.
  • Require PIN for all eCommerce gift card redemptions and balance checks.

Additional considerations:

  • Research feasibility of capturing PIN number for redemption at POS – will likely require development, but would add a layer of security to detect counterfeit cards that might have been printed with an incorrect PIN number.
  • If POS development is not feasible, consider implementing a procedure for on-line balance check with PIN validation prior to in-store redemption @ POS. Would require cashiers to have access to a web-enabled device and online balance checker that utilizes PIN verification.
  • Consider collecting demographics for purchaser or recipient to allow for verification of ID upon redemption – this may require development on POS side, but also adds the benefit of allowing you to market via email to the gift card holders in your brand.

If you’d like more information about fraud mitigation contact us today! We’re here to help!

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