In an international sting operation seemingly pulled straight from the movies, the FBI has arrested 24 people involved in financial cybercrimes including the buying, selling, and exchanging of stolen credit card and banking information online. The arrests resulting from the two year long “Operation Card Shop” spanned the United States, Canada, and 11 other countries across Europe and Asia, and brings to mind some basic concerns that most consumers would have for conducting business online.
As a publisher, marketing credit cards with robust, state-of-the-art and even outside-the-box security protections, solutions and even good, old-fashioned “money-back-guarantees” in case of fraudulent activity can go a long way to restoring consumer confidence and recoup conversions from amongst your site traffic which can potentially be lost when events like this one come to light.
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Much like protecting a home, protecting online activity is a matter of common sense and self-awareness. Things like never using “password” as a password should go unsaid, as should using any website with multiple unwarranted pop-up ads- a common precursor to infectious programs. Mere online presence is no longer a selling point for credit cards from major issuers, but the protective services provided are points of major contention, especially for those who have been wronged in the past.
For those consumers hesitant to enter their information online, promote cards from issuers that provide live over-the-phone assistance and online liability protection. Fraud is an unfortunate common occurrence on the web, but there are quite a few issuers that protect cardholders from unsolicited charges made in their name. Better still, some credit card companies offer “virtual” credit card numbers for use in online transactions. Though tied to the main cardholder’s account, these one-time use numbers become null and void after the fact, essentially burning the bridge that hackers and their scripts cross to infiltrate accounts- if not entire systems.
Having experienced this firsthand, I was quite pleased that the credit card I had applied for online was able to reimburse the cost of the lawn furniture illegally purchased in my name. Aside from the minor inconvenience of calling my issuer, my highrise apartment has no lawn to speak of.
“Operation Card Shop” was considered by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to be “the largest coordinated international law enforcement action in history.” In a world that takes the automation set forth by computers for granted, I suspect scare tactics like these to become as commonplace as drug raids and other heavy-handed public actions carried out by law enforcement to curtail ongoing operations and deter future ones.
Promoting credit cards and products in general to your audience that provide explicit protection in case of illegal online charges can help ease their worries and keep headlines like these from affecting your online business.