Preventing Credit Card Fraud with Goal Setting and Prompting

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D

bSci21Media, LLC

Chris Downing Jr., Nicole Capriola, and Scott Geller recently published a study in the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management on the effects of goal-setting and prompting to increase the likelihood that cashiers would check the ID of patrons.

The team noted the deleterious effects of credit card fraud on the economy, impacting several millions of dollars annually, and requiring banks to pay approximately three times the fraudulent charge when crediting the money back to customers.  Although recent advances in microchip technology has bolstered credit card authentication, stolen cards still pose a significant risk.

In an effort to further ameliorate such a risk, the research team did the following…

The researchers worked with 51 cashiers across two restaurants in Virginia.  One restaurant served as the intervention site, while the other was the control site.  In other words, the intervention site received the goal-setting and prompting procedure, while the control site was used as a comparison to measure the effects of the intervention.

The team used an observation checklist known as the Purchase Observation Checklist to observe and record the extent to which the cashiers were appropriately checking IDs.  Goal prompts were also used, which took the form of signs to remind the cashiers to check at least 50% of IDs during their shifts.  The intervention itself lasted 30 weekdays and was accompanied by reminders from management to remind cashiers to check customer’s IDs.  Overall, the team recorded over 11,000 purchases during the study.

Overall, the team was able to increase ID checking by approximately 30% relative to baseline levels, and higher if the manager was present.  Regarding future research, the team noted that the cashiers may have been less likely to check the IDs of familiar customers, which could have negatively impacted the results.  Additionally, the team suggested that a similar type of intervention be conducted across different types of stores to assess for the generalization of the findings.

To read much more about the findings and limitations of this work, please check out the full article.

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which owns the top behavior analytic media outlet in the world,  bSci21Media aims to disseminate behavior analysis to the world and to support ABA companies around the globe through the Behavioral Science in the 21st Century blog and its subsidiaries, bSciEntrepreneurial, bSciWebDesign, bSciWriting, and the ABA Outside the Box CEU series.  Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar.  He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues.  Dr. Ward has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Ward is passionate about disseminating behavior analysis to the world and growing the field through entrepreneurship. Todd can be reached at [email protected]


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