Although it may sound like a new dance craze, slamming is the furthest thing from a dance. Slamming is a new take on an old scam.
Setting up your merchant accounts, you likely spent some time deciding which company to work with and possibly even asked for and followed up with references. After all, this is the firm you’re trusting to process your accounts that land your profit in the bank.
With EMV, Europay/Mastercard/Visa chip card readers, the new machines are supposed to make your processing more secure. This is recent, so why is this merchant account rep calling so soon?
Watch out for a Plausible Scam
You probably wish for merchant partners who are reliable and willing to provide personal attention. So, if you have a call from someone claiming to be from your provider firm, you are probably receptive to their conversation.
Step back and think first before offering the “representative” any information. The scammer suggests that your terminal needs an upgrade or reprogramming to be compliant. And, of course, they’ll be happy to arrange for that at no cost to you. They just need to verify some information from you.
They are fishing for information. Wouldn’t it make sense if they worked for your company they’d already have your information? It’s another case of “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.” And you might rue the day you listened to their oh-so-smooth pitch.
If they do convince you to agree to their scam, the funds will be diverted to their account. That’s bad, as you won’t be seeing the funds from your sales. In addition, you just agreed to violate your contract with your contracted merchant processor. That could be even more devastating to your company, your time, and your bottom line. Litigation is costly.
Stay strong and think about these points before agreeing to anything:
Be a Skeptic
Sure you want everything to be compliant, but the new EMV terminals haven’t been around that long. Is it logical that you’d need new programming so quickly? And, why have they called you when all your other merchant processor details have come by email since you’ve signed the contract?
Likely they will give you a name, maybe even their supervisor’s name. They could have a friend at another line who will give you assurances that they are legitimate. Don’t settle. Ask for their emails and department. Listen to their responses. Do they get edgy and break into your questions with patter to lull you into a sense of confidence?
Watch out for Jargon
If the rep is giving you a headache by using technical jargon, slow them down. Ask for an explanation. Don’t let them intimidate you. That’s not how good companies work. If they become even slightly insulting, hang up. Ditto on how good companies work or don’t. Stop them if you are uncomfortable about what they say. Remember, you are in control!
Don’t Agree to Changes on the Phone
Money processing is a highly regulated industry. You signed a contract. Why would you agree to anything that you cannot see in writing? Online contracts are fine, but if the rep only approaches you verbally, put up your hand and push back.
Ask for their contact to call them back. Likely, they will say they will be unavailable. That’s when you hang up, call your company contact and ask about the poser. Again, you don’t want to be in violation of your contract.
Report the Offenders
Once you’ve hung up and called your company to verify that you were almost the victim of a scam, go a step further. Contact your attorney general and report the scam. Organizations track these scams to protect everyone.
Make a point of explaining to staff and others you know who use the new EMV terminal how it works and what they should watch out for from slammers. The new chip cards can be more secure than past approaches, especially for customers. But without you, as a merchant, securing your part of the transaction you won’t have the results you’re expecting. Be strong and, when in doubt, hang up!