Credit card fraud topic of meeting
By Matthew Burgoyne
Local merchants and chain restaurants have the highest risk of being victims of credit card fraud according to a workshop hosted by Taylor-Busch Law Firm and the Georgia Restaurant Association.
Charles Hoff, representing Taylor, Busch, Slipakoff, &Duma, LLP, and Ron Wolf, Executive Director of the Georgia Restaurant Association, gave a workshop on credit card fraud in Eatonton on Monday, April 28. The workshop focused on the injustices to small businesses and what these businesses can do to protect themselves and their costumers.
Small businesses and restaurants that use credit cards become victims of credit card fraud because of their point of sale, or POS, systems. When a card is swiped through the machine, the information on the magnetic strip is read and stored into the establishment’s POS system. From there, a hacker can break in and steal credit card numbers and identities.
“Every time a hacker steals, trust is lost. People do not want to return to places where their number was stolen,” said Hoff, who represents a dozen small businesses who are facing this growing problem. Not only are businesses losing money, they are also losing costumers.
Hackers are normally part of a highly sophisticated group. During each compromise, a hacker steals an average of 40,000 card numbers. Credit card fraud costs American businesses $50 billion per year. Because merchants are still held responsible for fraudulence, many have to front this bill or close their doors, Hoff said.
Nearly 60 percent of all fraud cases are a result of an outdated POS system. And in most of these cases, it is not the fault of the business owner. Many owners have the best equipment they can afford, but the problem still persists.
The workshop urged attendees to make their POS systems Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS) compliant. The PCI-DSS compliance is a set of requirements and sub-requirements that will help enable ample protection against credit card fraud.
The workshop also warned business owners of the injustices of the situation. When a business is compromised by a hacker, the merchandise is not the only thing that is lost. Credit card companies, including VISA and MasterCard, charge the business, increasing the cost.
Hoff, who currently represents twelve businesses in fraud cases, said 11 of the twelve businesses could not have done anything differently. The workshop offered pointers to business owners on how to protect themselves from credit card fraud.
Hoff urged all in attendance to become close with their IT specialist. Having someone on staff who can keep the POS system updated would be the first line of defense.
Other protections can come from changing passwords regularly, keeping anti-virus protection, firewalls, and patches on Internet connection updated, and staying educated on new developments on the issue. “If you don’t need it, don’t store it,” Hoff said.