The financial damage to retailers resulting from people making online purchases before and during the pandemic has been substantially documented. A recent LexisNexis® Risk study notes that every $1.00 of fraud now costs U.S. retailers $3.36. The cost of fraud for strictly online merchants is even higher.
“These figures focus on larger businesses, but small and mid-sized retailers are not immune to this problem,” says Amy Good, branch banager of Legacy Bank University Park location. “According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners small businesses lose a median of $200,000 before most fraud schemes are uncovered. Fraud is increasing as businesses encourage people to buy online and pick up purchases at the store or get home delivery.
According to Good, retailers seeking to reduce fraud should familiarize themselves with highly used fraud concepts and the abbreviations, jargon, and terminology used to describe fraudulent activity starting with CNP (Card Not Present). This refers to scammers using stolen credit card information to buy products or services online rather than produce the card in a store.
Other top terms include C&C (Click and Collect) which describes the process when someone fraudulently purchases an item online and then visits the retailer to pick it up and POC (Point of Collection) which means the actual curbside or in-store pick up process. Then there is also Friendly Fraud conducted by individuals who order items online, have them delivered and then deny ordering them in an attempt to secure a refund while still keeping the item. There is yet another twist. Sometimes the fraudster will use an individual’s credit card information and order an item to be sent to their home just to confirm that the card is valid before using it again for larger purchases.
“Retailers seeking protection from fraud loss should at least implement a do-it-yourself prevention program and may well consider adopting fraud detection technology if additional security is desired, ” explains Good.
Scammers aren’t interested in small, inexpensive purchases. As a result, retailers should be on the lookout for online purchases of items with a higher than average resale value or perhaps a large bulk order for smaller items that is larger than normal. After all, these ‘customers’ aren’t planning on paying for it themselves anyway.
Another clue is a rush order or overnight shipping request to an international address thus encouraging the retailer to hurry the order processing and not take the time to review its validity.
Curbside or in-store order pickup can be great for both customers and fraudsters. It might be wise to ask for identification when pickups are made. Honest customers understand when the reason for the policy is explained.
If a retailer’s bank sends an alert that a customer is seeking money back on a purchase it’s wise to see if this individual has placed other orders utilizing the same card data, telephone numbers, physical addresses or email addresses. Chargeback Gurus, a firm specializing in this area, notes that 83 percent of people purposely committing friendly fraud do so more than once.
Many small retailers may choose to retain fraud prevention technology firms. Their services can be used to identify suspicious looking transactions which can then be reviewed by store personnel for discrepancies and irregularities. The numerous firms providing this service can easily be identified through an internet search.
Amy Good is the branch banager of Legacy Bank University Park location.
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It’s common today to hear people talking about change, but they aren’t discussing COVID-19 or political unrest. They are talking about actual change like nickels, dimes and quarters, why they are in such short supply and how this is impacting their shopping experiences. It’s also common to see more people acquiring and using debit cards to pay for retail purchases.
To understand both developments it helps to understand how coins make their way through the economy. If you put change in a vending machine, the owner empties the machine and takes that change to the bank. If you regularly empty your pockets at night and put those coins in a jar, you eventually take that jar to the bank to receive paper money or put it in your account. In turn, banks provide those coins to businesses who need them to make change.
“After the pandemic hit, most people stayed away from facilities with vending machines and other coin-based businesses and those folks with jars of coins at home chose not to take them the bank so these sources of coins dried up,” says Amy Good University Park Branch President of Legacy Bank.
It’s logical to ask why more coins were not produced. The answer is that the U.S. Mint’s ability to ramp up coin production was slowed down as the Mint began protecting its employees from the coronavirus infection. Because of the resulting shortage, the Mint made changes in the amount of coins allocated among banks so many banks did not receive their normal supplies.
Retailers and consumers have adapted quickly. All purchases at self-service checkout lines at many large retailers require payment to be made with credit or debit cards. Other stores or cash lines at large stores ask customers to donate the change they have coming to a charitable organization with which the retailer has made arrangements. Some stores may also apply the change to a customer’s rewards or loyalty card if they have one and the amount will be credited to their next purchase.
Shoppers responded as well. Many who have historically used credit cards or cash to buy things, are recognizing that a third method, a debit card, is a convenient answer to the shopping issues caused by coin shortages.
“If you have a bank checking account issuing a debit card is simple and just requires a request from the customer,” notes Good. “Rather than cashing a check or going to an ATM to have spending money, you can use the debit card for those purchases. It helps the local economy and makes shopping easy for both the consumer and the retailer.”
When you make a purchase with the debit card, the bank withdraws that exact amount from your checking account and provides it to the retailer. You can visit your account balance on the bank’s website to confirm the transaction. In some cases the purchase will be noted as “pending” while the transaction is being cleared but the amount has been deducted from your available funds.
For those without debit cards, your bank is a great source of help. “Getting a debit card in most cases is a quick and easy process,” comments Good. “A few steps and most banks can have a card to you in a few days; don’t forget to bring your change to deposit when you come in. Every step helps,” Good says with a smile.
As more businesses open and consumers again start using vending machines and visit the laundromat or coin-operated car wash the amount of coins in circulation will increase. Consumers who have jars of coins in their cupboards are encouraged to take them to their bank as often as possible. Many bank lobbies are now open to handle this transaction but if not, they will make an appointment to come to the bank and turn in coins.
Amy Good is the University Park branch president for Legacy Bank. Good has extensive experience ranging from government to the public sector. An avid Pueblo County volunteer, she has spent 15 years of her career in finance advocating for local businesses and residents.
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Juniper Research, which serves the digital technology industry, predicts that more than 3 billion people worldwide will be banking on a mobile device by 2021. eMarketer, another digital marketing research firm notes that 115.6 million folks in the U.S. already use mobile banking at least once a month.
If you are one of the millions of mobile banking advocates, you must have occasionally wondered just how safe and secure is this app-based technology? Is convenience worth the risk of exposing your bank accounts and essential financial transactions to a hacker?
“From a banking perspective, mobile services offered directly from banks and downloaded through APP stores are highly secure and utilize a variety of technology to protect end users from any outside interference,” said Legacy Bank Chief Information Officer Chad Pfeif. “Safety is always the primary concern for finance providers large or small. Banks across the country are investing in security and watching daily for any rapid change in technology that could put users at risk,” added Pfeif.
“With so many different mobile banking apps and varied types of technology, it really is difficult for someone to hack into a person’s mobile account,” commented Pfeif. “Actually, the biggest security risk faced by mobile banking users comes from the user themselves. What you do and don’t do on your own to protect your account from being compromised matters. It’s no different than taking precautions to protect your home from intruders.”
According to Pfeif, security starts by downloading a registered mobile banking app through an iPhone or android app store. Interested users can typically find information about how to access their bank’s app on any sales literature or social media promotion offered by their bank. Link’s to download secure banking app’s can also be generally found on bank websites.
“It just takes a small amount of effort to become a diligent mobile banking user. A few easy precautions like password protecting your mobile device, using complex passwords, and not banking while on public WiFi can easily counter most of the more popular techniques used by unscrupulous hackers,” Pfeif adds. “These measures take just a few seconds but go a long way toward denying anyone access to your money and financial information.”
He cautions against following a link or any information that is sent to you via text message or email to access your bank account. Conversely, never text or email your account information or password to someone. Banks will not ask you to access your account through these methods. If you do text or email private account information, you may have given access to your bank data to people you don’t want to have it.
Chad Pfeif is the chief information officer of Legacy Bank with 13 years in banking. Pfeif completed the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado and oversees nine Colorado branch locations. He is an active member of his community and takes pride in being a resident of Pueblo County.
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Buena Vista, COLO - Legacy Bank is excited to announce the ground breaking of a new 3,100 square foot banking facility in Buena Vista that happened on Wednesday, October 7 at 2 pm. The event took place at 430 East Main. The site is across the street west from the Heritage Museum and is located on a property formerly belonging to the Lambert family, longtime residents of Buena Vista.
The bank, which formally opened in Buena Vista in December 2018, is the next step in strengthening community banking in the cozy mountain town. “Buena Vista is about people and so is Legacy Bank,” states longtime Buena Vista resident and Senior Vice President Dave Reyher. “Since our opening we have been welcomed warmly by both residents and businesses. We are thrilled to be adding to the development of Main Street and bringing even more banking services to the community.”
This new facility has been in the works for over a year, with bank owners looking to invest in real estate just four short months after moving into the community. The property, purchased in April of 2019, was part of a deeper community oriented objective that aligns with bank culture.
“Legacy Bank is built around community. That means our ownership and staff believe in investing in the residents and businesses we serve. From volunteering, sponsoring, and just lending a helping hand, you can see Legacy employees in every part of our community working to have a positive impact,’” adds Reyher. “Investing in a brick and mortar facility that adds to the development of critical business corridors in Buena Vista solidifies our commitment to this community.”
Legacy Bank and the Buena Vista Historic Preservation Committee, have been working in partnership to ensure the bank design respects and honors the historic nature of Main Street. Diesslin Structures, Inc., serving at the local contractor, was selected for their proven success record on projects throughout Chaffee County.
The main entry for the bank will be on North Court Street with a walk-up ATM prominently located on the corner of the building at Main and Court. A two-lane drive-up and a night drop at the rear of the building are part of the design. The bank’s 3,100 square feet of interior space will also offer fresh retail/office rental space with several street level opportunities facing Main Street.
“In an effort to be mindful of our community, Legacy Bank has opted to construct additional parking spaces across the alley to help improve downtown parking and a staging area for cars if the drive-up facility is at capacity,” adds Reyher. “We understand that being a good neighbor is equally as important as being a valuable business provider.”
With that in mind, Legacy Bank worked to protect local landscaping around the project as well. Due to zoning requirements, the old apple tree located on the corner had to be taken down. Analysis showed that any prospect of relocating the tree to protect its survival were non-existent. To honor that tree, Legacy Bank will be planting a new apple tree at Turner Farm.
Legacy Bank hopes to open shortly after Memorial Day, 2021. Until then, bank operations will continue at their current location on 413 E. Main Street. Operational updates can be found on the company’s website, www.eLegacyBank.com or on the Legacy Bank Facebook page.