With the holiday shopping season in full force, check thieves are hoping merchants can be caught off guard amid the hustle and bustle.
Checkgateway, an Ahwatukee Foothills-based paymentprocessing company, is helping businesses fight check fraud through its electronic payment services.
Online shopping is up this holiday season, and amid that increased traffic more people are trying to commit check fraud while hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet, said John Kirchhefer, Checkgateway’s president.
"The more people are feeling comfortable with giving their information out over the Internet, the more you’re going to see this type of crime," he said. "We want to protect our merchants from unscrupulous people out there on the Internet trying to commit theft."
About 75 percent of Checkgateway’s clients are online merchants, while 25 percent are brick-and-mortar retailers. The company’s products verify personal identification and checking account information, and shut down transactions when inaccuracies are detected, Kirchhefer said.
"For example, if someone steals someone else’s checkbook and they try to make purchases online with the checking account, but they don’t have all of the identity information, our system will verify that in real time and just simply decline the transaction," he said. "They may have the customer’s name, but they don’t have their address or Social Security number, or date of birth, and that’s the information that they’re just making up, just trying to put anything in to get a transaction to go through."
Another product provides instant access to more than 200 million checking accounts so the merchant can make sure a check is valid and will clear, Kirchhefer said. "We can verify their checking account information, whether they have pending stop-payments, whether their account is in a negative situation, or if the account number is an exact and valid account number at that bank," he said.