All of a sudden, you receive a chargeback from a tour operator, consolidator or an airline. Why? There has been a claim of an unauthorized use of a credit card which was provided by you for the payment of a client’s trip.
It is for $10,000 and the supplier wants to be paid immediately! Even worse, it is related to transactions for someone you thought had great potential for a lot of new business. Maybe there will be more chargebacks!
You never thought it would happen to you!
You don’t know anyone else who has had this problem?
Don’t worry you are not alone, it just seems like it.
Let's talk about fraud
When we talk to travel agencies, fraud is something that happens to someone else. In the 2017 ATOQ/ACTA/CATO fraud survey, 8 per cent of respondents admitted to having experienced fraud in the last 12 months but almost 40 per cent stated they new of someone who had experienced fraud.
However, when you talk to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), they will tell you that as part of their fraud disruption program in 2018, the CAFC sent off over 7,000 cards suspected to be used in fraudulent transactions to financial institutions for verification and any action as they deem fit. Many of the people reporting the frauds were travel agents! Does it seem a bit less lonely? And on top of it, the CAFC figures they only hear about 5 per cent of the actual cases.
At the Association of Tour Operators of Quebec (ATOQ), the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) and Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO), our members decided that we had all suffered in silence long enough so we started sharing information as fast as possible about fraud situations we were facing. By simply talking together and sharing information, we have avoided tens of thousands of losses. We have also protected many travel agents as the fraudsters tend to go from agency to agency trying the same tricks.
Speak up, report
The criminal fraudsters know that most people do not speak out as they are ashamed that they were so “stupid” to get robbed. All your silence does is make it that much easier for the criminal to rob your next door neighbour. It is important to speak up in order to protect others!
Fraud is a common business risk so there is no shame if you get hit. Report the problem to the CAFC (What to do if you’re a victim) and let your business associates and/ or the management of the chain or consortium that you belong to know what happened. Review your policies and learn, make changes so it will be more difficult for a fraudster to get you the next time they try.
Only one thing is for sure, someone will try to fraud you again. It is only a question of when, so be prepared, make sure you really know your customer!
For more information on Fraud Prevention Month in Canada, click here.