By HSBC Merchant Services

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, such as yahoo, hotmail and gmail. There 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.If you are delivering the item, ask to see the card upon delivery and confirm that it is the same card as the one used to order the goods. If the customer advises that they will send someone to collect the goods, be very wary and ask them to bring the card with them so you have sight of it.

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

7.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.

8.Use a website such as http://cqcounter.com/whois/ to determine where an 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.

9.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.

10.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.