Non-Profit Credit Card Fraud is a Growing Concern: Here’s How to Protect Your Donors

Online Credit Card Fraud concept

Donations are the lifeblood of every nonprofit.

Generous financial support from patrons and benefactors allows associations, membership organizations, and other non-profits to carry out their important missions. With so much at stake, taking robust steps to protect against credit card fraud is essential. Whether it’s securing your donors’ data or implementing measures to prevent scams targeting your organization, it’s your responsibility to make sure effective safety protocols are in place.

Read on for some critically important information about fraud risks and how you can protect your organization and your donors.

Fraud against non-profits is a rapidly growing concern.

You probably consider your non-profit to be vastly different than commercial entities in most ways. But when it comes to accepting and processing donations, it faces the same fraud risks as a for-profit company. Any time you handle people’s credit card information, you become vulnerable to being targeted by hackers and identity thieves. Non-profits are often targeted specifically because tend to be less security-conscious than for-profit entities. In addition, donation systems may be appealing because they are inexpensive, but they also offer little in the way security. And because non-profits seek to streamline the contribution process for donors, this simplicity makes it easy for fraudsters to gain access.

Follow these best practices to reduce the risk of fraud.

There is no foolproof way to completely safeguard your organization from donation form cons, ACH (debit) scams, and other types of deception, but there are steps you can take to lessen the likelihood of a breach and to minimize the resulting impact. Here are five of the best ones:

  1. Require CVV/CVC verification.
    The card verification value (CVV)/card verification code (CVC) refers to the 3- or 4-digit number on the back of credit cards. Check with your payment gateway to ensure that donation transactions are not permitted unless the CVV/CVC associated with the credit card has been verified. This setting can typically be managed directly from your payment gateway’s dashboard.
  1. Include address verification (AVS).
    AVS verifies the donor’s billing address with the address their bank has on file. It can be completed in seconds and if the scammer does not know the correct address, the transaction will be denied and the fraud attempt thwarted.
  1. Use a CAPTCHA.
    A CAPTCHA is a system that distinguishes human input from machine input. Incorporating a quality CAPTCHA on your donation form will help to ensure that a person is actually submitting the donation form rather than a bot simulating human input.
  1. Implement form obfuscation.
    This tactic involves obscuring or hiding forms to make it more difficult for bots to find and exploit them. The process is critical on donation forms but it’s wise to have form obfuscation in any place on your website that collects sensitive information, such as financial details or personal information.
  1. Set a minimum donation threshold.
    To discourage fraud tactics, consider requiring a $15 minimum donation amount. It will deter card testers, as they typically test cards with very small transactions to avoid being noticed. Legitimate donors who would like to make a small contribution to your organization will also have to follow this requirement. However, the average online donation is greater than $15, so the impact should be minimal.

Credit card fraud is a significant and growing problem. Following these simple guidelines can help protect your nonprofit and your donors. If you want to know more about additional security measures for your non-profit’s website, the technology experts at IBC are here to help. Please contact our knowledgeable professionals today.  

About IBC: At IBC, we have a deep understanding of the critical business needs and processes specific to associations, non-profits, and unions. We ‘get’ your culture, your goals, and what drives you, too. Focused exclusively on and dedicated to delivering the most effective AMS, LMS, and Virtual Event Solutions for our clients, we’re well-versed in identifying and applying the integration techniques that will save you time and money. Since 2001, our cutting-edge products, unparalleled responsiveness, and award-winning services have helped organizations like yours increase their operational and financial performance by leveraging best practices and proven solutions. For more information about IBC, please visit the website at or call 443.603.0215.

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