By Claire West

Online shoppers in the UK are forecast to spend a record £537m today — or £22.4m an hour — in what has been dubbed ‘Manic Monday’, the busiest online shopping day of the year. This represents a rise of 29% on last year, according to a recent study by the Centre for Retail Research.

In order to guard against a possible rise in fraudulent transactions, HSBC Merchant Services’ have offered top 10 ways to avoid the cost and complication surrounding fraudulent transactions.

HSBC Merchant Services’ top tips against online fraud

1.Whenever possible, take a landline rather than a mobile — this can be checked out using Directory Enquiries (unless it is ex-directory).

2.Ensure extra care is taken for alternative delivery addresses, particularly where the delivery address is in a completely different location to the billing address. Some merchants send out a letter to the billing address asking them to confirm that the order is genuine before the order is dispatched.

3.Take care with free e-mail addresses, as they are much more likely to be fraudulent than subscription e-mail addresses such as btconnect or tiscali.

4.Be on your guard if a customer wants you to send the goods out urgently, or keeps contacting you to chase the order. This is often because they want to get the goods delivered before the transaction has been identified as fraudulent.

5.Beware of orders that are a higher value than your usual order amounts, or multiple orders for the same item.

6.Have a look at the items/services which have been purchased fraudulently — if there is a trend, be very careful when orders are placed for these items.

7.Use a website such as http://cqcounter.com/whois/ to determine where an Internet Protocol (IP) is originating from. Fraudsters sometimes use proxy IP addresses, which mask the actual country or town from which the payment was actually made. You can check these proxy addresses on Google.

8.Have a look at all orders processed, rather than just the approved ones. You may find that different cards have been attempted until an order was approved.

9.Use validation services like www.192.com, to confirm whether your customer is, or has ever been listed, on the electoral roll at the address quoted.

10.Don’t forget that if the transaction is subsequently identified as fraudulent, and subject to a chargeback, you will lose not only the sale, but also the stock item — it therefore makes sense to ensure that you make all available checks before releasing the goods.