How to Protect Your Business from Fraud

January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009 – Supply Brothers


This will be a 3 step guide for any online merchants that wants to increase their protection and minimize online fraud.

Step 1.  We will cover fraudulent purchase requests by email.

Step 2.  Will cover how to examine an order for fraud; including unique details and parameters you may have not expected.

Step 3.  Will cover additional fraud attempts and ways to be proactive to the issue, rather than reactive.


I’ve read all over the internet concerning fraud, and I have seen a lot of statistics. Some say that online fraud costs companies as much as 2.5% of their total revenue. An article on Microsoft Money said that online merchants expect to lose 4 billion in 2008, due to fraud. Online fraud will continue to plague online merchants in 2009. However, this guide will give you a better understanding of the types of fraud, and it will also teach you how to combat fraud, thus helping you avoid losing money.


You will see fraud come in the form of an email request. Some of these are very easily spotted, while others can become quite sophisticated. They will sometimes attempt to contact your sales force. We all know that our salespeople are always under pressure to perform and reach their quotas.

 Here are some signs to look for in an email. Share this with your customer service, sales, and anyone that receives email interactions. One of these alone is usually not fraud but when you see a large combination of these, it’s almost always fraud.

Let’s break each of these down

  • No phone number in the email 
  • The grammar. (Read it aloud. If there are lots of errors, probably fraud) 
  • The urgency “Help us. Needed as soon as possible”   
  • The items are easy to resell. Examples include; IT products, Toner/Ink, etc 
  • The name of the sender and the company name
  • Claiming to be a business but the email address is AOL, hotmail, etc
  • Shipping location 

1. No phone number – No phone number in the email is usually a giveaway. If you reply and ask them for a number, beware if they hesitate.

2. The Grammar – usually these fraud attempts originate overseas and their English is not good. Look for poor sentence and grammar structure “we would like to order as soonest as possible 100 pieces item abc123. Please let us knows best payment and quickest available.”

3. Urgency – usually they stress that the items are needed quickly, soon, etc. They will often press for a tracking number. Many times they are shipping to an empty house or location, and they need the tracking number in order to reroute & get the goods delivered to a different location.

4. Beware of the email requests for 100 pieces of toner, 200 flash drives, etc. This is especially true when they are pressing for them as quickly as possible. What company suddenly needs 100 of the same toner right away? It would be very unusual.

5. Look for obvious give aways, ex: Rogers Company and the name of the person is Rogers Smith (notice the “s” on Rogers Smith). Fraud attempts will often use strange names. This is usually happens because the culprit is usually from a foreign country.

6. If the email is Rogerscompany@aol… or something like that, again this is suspicious. Question it.

7. Shipping location – Lagos Nigeria is one of the largest places for fraud. I would probably almost never ship anything there, unless I had absolute concrete proof that it was not fraud. If you only ship domestically, pay attention to different billing/ shipping addresses. If someone claims to be from a company but the address looks residential, this should raise some flags. Take all of these points into consideration.


As I said in the beginning, it is really a combination of these rather than one alone. As with any guide, this is only a recommendation. Do your own due diligence before making any decisions. This information is property of Supply Brothers and cannot be used in conjunction with any other author, without the consent of Supply Brothers.