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Online scams are the number one hurdle for UK shoppers. Here’s how to build a rapport of safety and security.

By Rafael Lourenco, EVP, ClearSale

Over £16 million was lost to online shopping fraud during lockdown with more than 16,000 people falling victim to scams in the UK. With more and more shoppers heading online during the pandemic, the number of fraud cases has also shot up as hackers take advantage of the influx of new online transactions. 

Surprisingly, the largest group of people falling victim are those in their 20s – a.k.a. savvy online shoppers who aren’t new to the game – but, in reality, everyone is at risk.

In fact, when we surveyed UK consumers, it quickly became clear that the possibility of online scams was the biggest deterrent from shopping online (44%). This was closely followed by “not knowing whether the website is legitimate or not” (40%) and “the website might not have adequate security measures in place” (35%). 

It’s very clear that security is a huge concern for online shoppers.

This isn’t a new concern, though. As far back as 2015, shoppers were keen for ecommerce stores to proudly display their security measures. In one study, three-quarters of British shoppers said they’d consider a website more secure if it prominently displayed payment authentication and digital certification logos on its homepage, but only 8% of stores were doing this at the time.

Add to this the surge in new online stores and the pandemic, which forced a lot of brick-and-mortar shoppers to head online, and you have a recipe for even more skepticism among consumers. 

It’s a no-brainer. Giving away personal and financial information on the internet is a scary prospect that even the most seasoned online shoppers are wary about. 

But what does this mean for merchants on the other side? 

It means they need to reassure shoppers and put safety and security ahead of almost everything else. Showing that you’re a trusted brand will give consumers the confidence they need to buy from you (and keep coming back for more). Plus, it’ll avoid putting a huge dent in your accounts if you fail to stop a fraudulent attack that leaks your customer’s personal information. 

It’s just the big brands that are at risk, right?

Actually, no. Since smaller merchants don’t usually have fraud protection in place (or, if they do, it’s limited), they are often the perfect targets for card testing and fraud attempts. 

The truth is, no brand is safe, however big or small they are. 

And, getting your ducks in a row before you hit the big time can make a huge difference in the long run. You’ll be set up and secure by the time the customers come pouring in, giving you a better chance of landing long-term customers and creating a trusted brand. 

How to make your website safe and reassure shoppers

There are plenty of measures you can put in place to deter fraudsters and keep shoppers (and your business) safe. 

1. Promote secure passwords

While new tech like facial recognition is on the rise, passwords are still the preferred way to secure a shopper’s account. Many consumers will simply use the same password for every account they create. Sure, this makes it easy for them to remember, but it can also make it easier for fraudsters to get access to their accounts.

Encourage customers to maintain password hygiene by creating long passwords that include capitals and lower case letters, as well as special icons, and ensure they regularly confirm and change their password. 

2. Choose a secure platform

There are a variety of ecommerce platforms available today, all of which offer different features and benefits. If there’s one thing you do, make sure you build your store on a secure platform that has security features front and centre. In particular, opt for platforms that provide SSL certificates, encrypted payment gateways, and solid authentication protocols.

3. Use HTTPS

Shoppers look for the little green padlock in the corner of the URL bar when shopping. This indicates the site is safe and secure. Merchants can implement this by using HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), which is the online protocol for secure communications online. The padlock signifies that the website has been certified and is really what it’s claiming to be.

Dorothy Perkins’ website has the tell-tale padlock in the URL bar. 

4. Use a payment expert

If you’re not sure how to handle sensitive customer data yourself – don’t. Instead, employ experts who know what they’re doing to do it for you. This means you don’t have to keep any of your customers’ data on your website and instead use a third-party encrypted checkout service to process payments. Most of the popular payment gateways are completely secure and are well known by shoppers all over the country. 

5. Implement a fraud protection software

Ensure you’re double and triple safe by integrating dedicated fraud protection software. Ideally, software that integrates machine learning with human intervention will comprehensively identify and stop risky orders. As the AI gets smarter, it gets quicker at identifying suspicious orders and can quickly stop them in their tracks, while manual checks make sure nothing slips under the radar. 

Stay ahead of the security game

Hackers are getting savvier by the day and there is a constant stream of new scams threatening the British public who choose to shop online. Your job as a merchant is to stay ahead of the game and address new evolutions in the security space as quickly as possible. The best way to do this is by putting preventative measures in place, like using HTTPS, third-party payment processors, and integrating a dedicated fraud software. 

Doing this will reduce the chances of a costly hack on personal data and ensure customers are happy to come back and shop with you time and time again. 

 Lourenco is Executive Vice President and Partner at ClearSale, a global card-not-present fraud protection operation that helps retailers increase sales and eliminate chargebacks before they happen. The company’s proprietary technology and in-house staff of seasoned analysts provide an end-to-end outsourced fraud detection solution for online retailers to achieve industry-high approval rates while virtually eliminating false positives. Follow on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram Twitter @ClearSaleUS, or visit https://www.clear.sale

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