Protect Your Nonprofit from Fraud This Giving Season

With Giving Tuesday and the holiday season fast approaching, many nonprofits are preparing for their busiest time of year. However, with increased giving, comes an increase in fraud. To ensure your organization and donors are secure, follow our best practices to understand what makes your nonprofit vulnerable and how to maintain security.  

What to look for 

Unfortunately, fraudsters often unfairly target nonprofits since nonprofits tend to have fewer fraud prevention tools enabled to encourage giving. This results in increased fraudulent activity in the nonprofit industry, and can lead to negative implications for your organization such as funds being held, chargebacks, and loss of revenue. The types of fraud that nonprofits need to look out for include:  

  • Online Auction – Fraudsters purchase items using stolen credit cards, and then the true cardholder disputes the charges and requests a chargeback. 
  • Illegitimate Transactions – A Fraudster poses as a donor, makes a large donation then asks for a part of it to be refunded to a different credit card. Always be wary of a request for a refund to be made to a different card, and if you’re unsure, call our Customer Care team for advice.  
  • Card Tumbling – Fraudsters test stolen card data on nonprofits websites, as they often have reduced security tools in place. You can spot Card Tumbling by watching for a large number of small transactions amounts, as the fraudster is looking for an approval to then use that stolen card information elsewhere.  

Best practices to protect your nonprofit 

Since online donation pages are a common target of fraudsters, remaining vigilant and alert in monitoring transactions is vital to preventing fraud. Best practices for nonprofits include: 



  • Check for small, random donation amounts 
  • Require a minimum donation amount  
  • Look for transactions using the same name for many different card numbers  
  • Require CVV2 for online transactions 
  • Compare addresses 
  • Enable Fraud Tools, and ensure you have adjusted the settings to match your organization's unique needs  
  • Be wary when donors ask for large refunds on contributions 
  • Enable Captcha in your online donation form as the best defense against tumbling (Google version is free) 
  • Work with your form provider and the iATS Customer Care team to ensure you’re protected 
  • Detection – especially at busy and popular times of the year 


Since we only process for nonprofit organizations, we built our fraud tools especially to suit your needs. Our goal is to help protect your organization and donors’ credit card data by providing free and easy-to-use protection tools. In 2018 our fraud tools prevented $42,980,000 USD in potential losses from fraudulent transactionsOur most widely used fraud tools are: 

  • Bank Identification Number (BIN) Checking  
  • Card Number and Name Tumbling 
  • IP (Internet Protocol) Blocking and Velocity Checking 

Educate your team  

In order to prevent fraud, ensure your team knows what to look for, and how they can enable the tools to maintain security. Share our two-minute fraud tools demo video with your team, and print off our fraud cheat sheet infographic to display in a communal space. If you need assistance with enabling fraud tools on your iATS account, contact our Customer Care team at or 1-888-955-5455 Option 1.    

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