Last updated - September 28, 2021
As you know, WooCommerce makes it extremely easy to create an online store anywhere in the world. And that is one of the reasons behind its great popularity. Since large number of businesses are making use of the platform, fraudulent activities are also on the rise. If you own an online store powered by WooCommerce, you would want to know more about detecting and preventing fraudulent activities on your store. In this article, we will discuss all the important aspects about WooCommerce Fraud detection and prevention.
What are the common fraudulent activities on an online store?
Before we get into the strategies to prevent fraudulent activities on your eCommerce store, it is important to understand the common fraudulent activities you may notice in the eCommerce world. Here is a quick overview:
Credit card fraud
Credit card fraud is one of the common fraudulent activities on an eCommerce store. A fraudulent transaction using a stolen credit card can be considered as a big problem for online store owners and customers. Once the customer reports the fraudulent activity, it is the store owner’s responsibility to pay back the amount. However, WooCommerce is extremely secure as the customer’s credit card number and other details are not stored by default. If you are using one of the integrated payment gateway plugins of WooCommerce, the credit card details of customers will be stored as tokens. That is, a string of information including the last 4 digits of the card number along with some other details like card expiry date. Tokenized payments are extremely secure and you need to ensure that your site is meeting all the security guidelines recommended by the payment gateway.
Phishing is an activity by fraudsters to get hold of sensitive information of a website or its users. On a WooCommerce site, attackers may first hack the site, and then send phishing emails to your customers using your site. There are also strategies where site admins are lured into illegitimate links that look like site notifications. Awareness of different types of phishing activities is key to identifying and preventing such threats.
Customers resorting to unethical strategies
A lot of eCommerce merchants may fall trap to illegal or unethical practices by customers or those impersonating as customers. There are several places where fraudsters get hold of customers’ accounts and then place orders on their behalf. This could lead to a lot of inconveniences to both customers and store owners. Stealing somebody’s credit card information, and then using it to place orders on an online store is another common tactic.
Experts also warn about something called ‘friendly fraud’, where customers place and order, accept the delivery, and then claim there card was stolen. Similarly, there are also attempts to exploit the return policy of an eCommerce store, by sending back unauthorized products as returns. All these could create significant losses to an eCommerce store owner in terms of finances and reputation.
Fraudulent tactics by vendors
If you are running a multivendor marketplace on your WooCommerce store, this type of fraud could create problems for you. A vendor on your store may showcase a product, and never fulfills them when customers place orders. This could lead to a lot of negative publicity to the store, and could majorly affect the store reputation.
How to prevent fraudulent activities on WooCommerce?
There are several approaches that you can take to detect and prevent fraud in your WooCommerce store. Here we look at some of the important measures that you can take to prevent WooCommerce fraud.
Install an anti-fraud plugin
There are several anti-fraud plugins for WooCommerce that will save you from fraudulent activities. Here is a look at three popular options.
This plugin will help you instantly detect fraudulent activity on your WooCommerce store. The plugin ensures that all transactions made on your store are scanned and assigned a score based on fraud risk. For higher scores, the possibility of risk too will be higher. This will enable store owners to easily cancel fraudulent transactions and prevent further hassles. Moreover, the plugin has an option to automatically pause or cancel potential fraudulent transactions. If you don’t want to configure the plugin settings further, you can simply activate the plugin and use with the default settings.
This is another plugin that assigns a risk value to all your store transactions, and has the ability to keep fraudulent transactions on hold. The store admin will get a notification offering them an option to verify if the transaction is genuine or not. You will be able to configure varied aspects of risk assessment such as risk limits, rule weights, higher order amount checks, etc. Moreover, you can use different parameters such as country, IP address, email address, etc., to detect possible fraud attempts. Also, the plugin will let you automatically cancel orders that pose high risk.
This is another service that you can rely on to reduce chargebacks and disputes on your WooCommerce store. You will not have to spend a lot of time configuring this plugin as it has quite good features built in. The advanced risk scoring process is aided by machine learning and you will get access to solid analytics insights as well. Also, you will get great support in inventory management, policy fine tuning and in the manual review process.
It is not impossible to run a WooCommerce store without an SSL certificate, if you are using offsite hosted payment options. However, for most integrated payment solutions, having an SSL certificate is a mandatory requirement. Also, WooCommerce recommends all stores to have a valid SSL certificate. You can learn more about SSL certificates from our article – Reasons to get an SSL certificate for your store.
For all WooCommerce sites that store, process or transmit credit card holder information need to be PCI compliant. Some of the important requirements of PCI-DSS compliance are as follows:
- Maintain a firewall to protect the credit card data of your customers.
- Ensure usage of secure passwords.
- Encrypt transaction data through public networks.
- Update anti-virus tools regularly.
- Access to credit card data should be restricted.
- Ensure strict monitoring of access to cardholder information.
- Maintain an information security policy.
Two factor authentication
Two-factor authentication will provide extra security to your online store from unauthorized access. Basically, in addition to the regular login process, users should verify their login attempt by answering a security question, or by providing a code sent to their mobile device.
By providing shipment tracking information to customers, you can prevent unauthorized chargebacks. You and your customer will have the unique tracking code, and there is no way for any confusion later. Most popular shipping carriers offer shipment tracking as well. You can check out some of the interesting options in our article on WooCommerce shipping plugins with tracking.
We hope this article has provided a good understanding on WooCommerce fraud detection and prevention. Please leave a comment in the below section, if you would like to share some insights on this topic or have any queries.