Online Skimming and Ensuring Security for Online Payments

What is online skimming / e-skimming and how can I prevent attacks?

Online skimming (also “e-skimming”, “web skimming” or “digital skimming”) is a form of online payment card fraud. There has always been a risk of card data being accidentally disclosed to fraudsters when entering payment data for an online purchase. While various safeguards have made this less likely, the fact is that online fraudsters have also upped their ante.

The number of online purchases has increased dramatically over the past twelve months due to Covid-19 and concomitant shop closures. And not only are more people buying online, the number of online shopping sites has also skyrocketed over the course of a year. To accommodate their customers, in particular quite a few small merchants have established online shops in addition to their brick-and-mortar stores. And my suspicion is that some have done so with undue haste.

This article is about online skimming, what this entails and precisely how you – as a merchant – can protect yourself and your customers against it.


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8 Tips for Merchants: Protecting your customers’ card data

Protecting your customers’ card data, sensitive as it is, is one of the top priorities when it comes to payment processing. The new reality that Covid-19 has brought is forcing many small businesses to rethink the payment methods they had in place up to now.

Until the beginning of 2020, cash was often the main means of payment in smaller retail shops (in Germany) with plenty of foot traffic. To survive weeks-long store closures and subsequent shopping restrictions, many retailers were obliged to offer their customers online and telephone ordering options.

To help contain the spread of Covid-19, customers also increasingly resorted to contactless payments. Card-issuing institutions quickly responded to this trend by raising the maximum contactless transaction limit – without authentication – to up to € 50.00.

This article is meant for small(er) to medium-sized retailers or companies.


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