WhatsApp Fraud: How to Keep Your Brand and Customers Safe While Using WhatsApp Commerce

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Learn how to prevent WhatsApp frauds to keep your brand and customers safe.

As eCommerce brands start to use WhatsApp Business at scale for marketing, sales and support functions, there has also been an uptick in the number of fraudulent cases being reported on the messaging platform. 

From receiving spam messages to promotions and payment requests from accounts that seem like legitimate businesses and bank accounts getting hacked, there have been several cases where both the brand and the consumers have suffered. 

While consumers lost money, brands lost credibility - and this started to kill the sales coming in from WhatsApp as a sales channel. 

So we started to explore how the WhatsApp Business and the WhatsApp Business API capabilities can be used to secure both the consumer and the brand. 

What is a WhatsApp fraud? 

WhatsApp is a messaging platform that is actively used by smartphone users across all demographics. As businesses start to explore the potential of the messaging platform with the help of the WhatsApp Business API, there has also been an increase in a phenomenon called WhatsApp fraud - which is similar to what an eCommerce fraud means; but in this case, the damage can be both to you and your customer. 

A WhatsApp fraud, depending on its type, can be targeted at fleecing the customer or targeting the business in the name of which the fraud is being run. 

How to keep your brand and customers safe from WhatsApp frauds?

While we’re still exploring more Shopify fraud prevention tactics with partners, here are some ways in which you can reduce WhatsApp frauds: 

1. Set up a WhatsApp Business profile 

Instead of using a personal account for business purposes, we recommend setting up a WhatsApp Business profile. This requires you to go through a set of questions, verifications and compliance checks by the messaging platform itself, which indicates your credibility to the end consumers. 

Remember to also build out your profile completely. This includes adding a profile picture which displays your logo, adding a business description, contact information and website link. 

2. Apply for green tick verification 

The thing with fraud WhatsApp Business accounts is that they will not last for too long. They also will require changing their numbers quickly as consumers start to report them to WhatsApp. To stand out and show your legitimacy, we recommend applying for the green tick verification which requires you to complete a few business details with Meta. Similar to the blue tick on social media, this acts as a reassurance to the customers on your WhatsApp list. 

3. Set up a WhatsApp catalog 

A WhatsApp catalog displays the products available with a brand, including their name, description, pictures and pricing. A fake account will not have access to details such as your SKU number and pricing, which also become a differentiator for a legitimate business on the WhatsApp messaging platform. 

4. Integrate with payment gateways 

Popular payment gateways come with their own layer of security built in. When you work with payment gateways, integrating your WhatsApp Business API solution provider to send checkout links for receiving payments on the messaging app, you can be sure that the transaction is secure. 

5. Confirm order requests 

It’s not just your customers at risk; your business is equally prone to fraud on WhatsApp. That’s why we suggest setting up an automated message to follow-up on the order requests you receive on WhatsApp. This can include a quick message that requests a customer to respond to your message to confirm their order before it is processed. 

Hey Jane, 

We just received an order for <product name> on our store. In order for us to start processing your order, we request you to please confirm the request.

Click on yes to confirm the order. 

Yes | No 

6. Confirm customer details 

Once an order gets confirmed, the next step is to confirm the customer details that have been provided alongside the request. This includes confirming their phone number with a triggered IVR call for the same through WhatsApp, delivery address confirmation and OTP verification. 

Hey Jane, 

Thank you for confirming your order with us. 

We just wanted to double check your contact information and delivery details. 

For us to do the same, please click on the button below to trigger an automated IVR call to verify your contact number and delivery address. 

Yes, call me! | No 

Doing this will also help you tackle RTOs and NDRs more proactively, reducing the logistics costs and product damage costs your business may have to incur because of them. 

7. Convert COD to prepaid orders 

A lot of fake orders are made using cash on delivery (COD) as the payment method. To tackle this, we recommend setting up an automated workflow on WhatsApp to reach out to your customers and encourage them to prepay for the order placed by offering a discount or benefit on top of the cart total.

Hey Jane, 

Thank you for placing an order for us. 

We’ve shipped your order and it will be reaching you in 5-7 business days through our trusted partner. 

To ease your delivery experience, you can now prepay for your order and also get an additional 10% off on your cart total. 

Pay for the order | Continue with cash on delivery 

8. Secure your returns, refunds and chargebacks 

Another aspect we recommend covering is the instance in which a consumer may request a refund, return or chargeback in a fraudulent manner. For example, requesting a chargeback on receiving a faulty product or a refund on an order alongside a compensation for receiving a wrong order. 

In this case, you should have a WhatsApp automation set up to validate the request. For instance, when they request for a return and refund, don’t risk receiving damaged or untagged products. Ask the customer to send you product pictures that highlight the attached tag and non-usage along with the original packing. This can act as a qualifier for the refund requests you approve. 

9. Use WhatsApp to send OTPs

Consider this one a pro tip. 

If you have received an order on your online store instead of WhatsApp itself, we recommend verifying the same by triggering an OTP request on the messaging platform

Simply ask the customer to check WhatsApp for an OTP valid for 10-15 minutes, and enter the value received on your online store, or as a response to the same - similar to how CAPTCHA works.  

Ready to tackle WhatsApp frauds head on? 

If you look into WhatsApp frauds, there is a new fraud reported almost every month across the globe. 

This has not just made businesses skeptical about using the platform to grow their eCommerce business, where they need to integrate it with their CMS holding all their information, but also consumers who were choosing the app to communicate with brands before making a purchase from them. 

By not tackling WhatsApp frauds proactively, you lose the opportunity to sell more via a channel where your target audience is the most active. 

Worse still, the damage done in your name could result in a negative word of mouth, leading to a drop in your brand image as well as sales! 

Not sure how you can secure your business and customers on WhatsApp? 

Book a demo of QuickReply.ai today. 

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