You may have been directed to this portion of our site because you expressed concern about some of the processes we've employed to prevent fraud. Whether that's the case, or you're just wandering through our site to get a better handle as to what we're all about, we hope you take the time to read the following, because we think it's important... not just for PowerMax and our customers, but for honest people all around the world.
It is not being melodramatic to say that there is a large-scale, but not always widely publicized or understood, war being waged in today's commerce. If you own a retail store or provide products via e-commerce, you very likely are familiar with the growing problem of fraudulent purchase attempts by those using stolen or completely made-up credit card identities. If you don't, trust us, the battle lines are drawn and the fight is fierce.
The problem is increasing for a number of reasons. One, it's probably one of the more risk-free crimes to commit. Law enforcement is ill-equipped and under-funded, no one gets directly maimed or killed, and it's hard to prosecute. As a result, crime gangs, terrorists, and just plain scumbags have increasingly turned their attention to technological ways of ripping off honest merchants.
One of the additional problems is the seeming apathy of a large percentage of the public: "As long as my identity is safe, it's someone else's problem."
Crime is everyone's problem. When criminals, gangs and terrorist groups get funding from any enterprise, it will affect you. Either directly or indirectly, it will affect you. Every single honest person out there should be mightily concerned with the topic, on a global scale. In addition, when you have the attitude that if you feel like your information is safe so it's not really your problem, or you just plain don't want to be inconvenienced, you feed into the mindset many companies have that they're willing to absorb some fraudulent losses as long as they don't interfere with their customers' experience.
Again, we think that's a very harmful mindset for all of us, long-term. As an example, at PowerMax, we do some pretty intense diligence on orders from new customers. One of those systems involves asking some questions provided by a company who scours the public records databases and puts together questions that are most likely only going to be known by the person involved. None of it's secret, none of it is anything anyone can do anything nefarious with on its own, but it's a nice additional check we can run. Once in a while we have a customer who gets irritated that we're doing that. But in fact, people should be ecstatically grateful anytime we're making sure that the person we're talking to is the real card holder.
Envision this scenario: Someone compromises your identity. There are lots of ways to do it... no one is ever 100% safe. They use your credit card number (or just make one up) to order from Company A, who doesn't view crime prevention as a social responsibility, and so allocates a certain amount of their expenses to fraud loss, all in the hopes that new customers enjoying a quick and smooth experience in buying will offset those losses. As a result, you end up with charges on your card that you have to dispute, which is quite the hassle, and sometimes even your credit score to deal with since one of the ways the bad guys work credit card fraud is to change addresses with the credit card companies (who are improving, but just about worthless when it comes to true credit card prevention), which means you might not even know your account is showing past due for months.
Now, that same bad guy tries to order from PowerMax. We check addresses. We ask questions. We like to get to know our customers besides. Most of the time, we figure out it's a fraud. Not only do we stop the bad guy from benefitting, but when we're able, we've contacted the genuine card holder to let them know someone is using their card fraudulently. We feel that's our social responsibility, and it's the right thing to do.
We thwart dozens of attempted fraudulent purchases a week. In the U.S. alone, ID theft directly affects over 10 million people a year, and fraud totals are in the billions. This is no small matter. So the next time a merchant asks for additional information to support the fact that you are the actual holder of the credit card, our suggestion is to thank them profusely. Because they are doing their part to prevent fraud. We realize it's a bit of an inconvenience up front. But if collectively, we can hinder these (insert bad word here) from profiting, our lives will get a little easier and a little better. But it's gonna take some collective effort, like any battle with evil, to do so.
Still peeved at the inconvenience? Well, next time you go to your bank, take note of all the precautions they engage in to make sure your money's safe: the cameras, the ID checks, the teller cages. Do you ever complain about that? Well, online merchandising is a lot newer than banks, so it takes a while for folks to learn. Those who don't protect themselves like banks do, will eventually go out of business, which is why you don't see any banks in business today who don't do those kinds of things. Besides, we think it's always a good idea to deal with smart companies, because, well, dealing with a dumb company can really be a pain in the tookus, especially since they tend to not stay in business as long as smart companies.
Thanks for listening; as always feel free to drop us a line with any comments and suggestions. If you're an honest person, we're on your side. We're one of the good guys.