The best way to avoid fraud is to memorise the red flags that could indicate a scam and double-check any customer who shows ‘red flags’.
However, here are some tips and tricks that you can use as a travel agent to dodgy those dodgies:
Google is your friend
Although not foolproof, Google Maps will help determine whether an address is real or just an empty lot. The information might not always be 100% perfect, but at least a review of the cardholder’s information can assist in your review of whether or not the transaction may be suspect and require further investigation.
Credit Card must-dos
- Never process payments on a credit card without having the card/s present at the time of the transaction
- Check signature against original card/s
- Obtain required authorisation
- Take an imprint of the card – A FAX COPY IS NOT AN IMPRINT
- Ensure validity of expiry date and check that security features appear on the card
- Please be warned: Any invalid expiry dates entered for approval through one of the Global Reservations Systems that results in a fraudulent transaction, will be charged back to the agency
- A great way to check whether the card is valid is to check the issuing bank of the card on https://www.bindb.com/bin-database.html
Authorisation alone is not enough
Although travel agents should always obtain an authorisation code for a credit card transaction, this code only indicates that the cardholder is in good standing with the bank (and is usually supplied automatically) but is no guarantee of payment.
It simply verifies that there are sufficient funds in the account. It can’t confirm the identity of the cardholder, or guarantee that the card and/or transaction are genuine.
Having said that, travel agents should always get an imprint of the credit card as well as obtain an authorisation number. Failing to do so will result in charge backs and the travel agent will then be liable to settle the loss due to fraudulent transactions.
This warning extends to the larger travel agencies issuing on behalf of agents who do not have IATA licenses. Failing to comply with the above will also result in the issuing agent being held liable for any loss incurred.
Don’t skimp on the paperwork
Never get complacent when it comes to paperwork. It could safe the agency a lot of money. Travel agents should always ask for an identity document or passport and take a copy of the document.