How to protect your donors from online scammers

If you run a charity that accepts donations online, you probably already know your organization could be susceptible to credit card fraud. Scammers use a host of tricks both online and in person to bilk unwitting individuals out of there money. 

Many thieves will take a stolen credit or debit card number and charge a small amount, between $1 and $2, as a charitable donation to a nonprofit to test if the card is valid and working.

They usually pick out charities' online donation forms because they can make a quick payment in a matter of minutes using the stolen card number. Plus, nonprofits usually have easy and quick one-step checkout pagesfor donors, according to Classy.

"Scammers see fewer charge-backs - people disputing the charges to their credit card company - when a nonprofit is the recipient," John Breyault, vice president of the National Consumers League, told . "Most cardholders assume somebody in their household or business must have made the donation."

How nonprofits can fight back
Besides using certified payment processing and a reputable payment processing company to handle transactions, there are a number of ways charities can defend themselves and their donors from online fraud by beefing up their online fundraising tools.

Minimum gift amount
One practice that'll make it harder for scammers to check the validity of a credit card is to stop using blank online donation forms. Instead of letting someone enter in any sum of money they want to donate, establish a minimum gift amount to your online donation form to keep thieves from charging $1 or $2 to a stolen card.

Require more information
When in doubt, ask charitable givers for more of their information to keep both you and them safe from fraudulent purchases. Ask donors for the three-digit security code usually found on the back of a credit or debit card. According to the Association of Advancement Services Professionals, the code makes it harder for scammers to tumble your credit card. Card tumbling is when a computer algorithm is used to run through a series of possible credit card numbers until it finds one that's valid.

Besides asking for the card security code, also require donors to verify their addresses along with their card numbers. Checking the billing address they have on file with their bank will cut down on any fraudulent donations. 

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