How To Block WooCommerce Customers

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Without good WooCommerce security, your site can have frequent chargebacks, never-ending returns, and refund requests? You may want to block WooCommerce customers that create spammy product reviews and manipulate your store’s ratings. Maybe you’re tired of constant store policy violations. Maybe you’ve even noticed numerous small transactions that sugges card testing. All these issues indicate fraudulent actions that can wreck your inventory and disrupt your cash flow.

Fake orders can cost you money, drain your resources and impact your business operations. The frustration of dealing with these problems day-in-day-out can leave any store owner feeling overwhelmed and helpless.

Don’t worry, there’s a way to fight back. This article will show you different methods to block troublesome customers, ensuring your WooCommerce store remains a safe, profitable, and hassle-free zone.

TL;DR: Set up WooCommerce Blacklist Manager to block customers by email or phone number. Use MalCare to block IP addresses automatically or enable geoblocking.

When running a WooCommerce store, dealing with problematic customers is an unwelcome, but sometimes necessary task. 

Fortunately, there are various methods you can use to block these disruptive individuals. Whether it’s blocking them via email, phone number, IP address, or even leveraging geoblocking techniques, each method offers unique advantages to help you maintain the integrity of your online store. 

In this article, we’ll explore these different strategies so you can choose the best approach for your needs.

Option 1. WooCommerce block customer using email addresses or phone numbers

One effective way to protect your WooCommerce store from fraudulent customers is by blocking them using their email addresses or phone numbers. By using the WooCommerce Blacklist Manager plugin, you can efficiently prevent these customers from disrupting your business.

  • Install the plugin: Go to your WordPress dashboard. In the sidebar, click on Plugins and then select Add New. In the search bar, type WooCommerce Blacklist Manager. Click Install now next to the plugin and activate it once the installation is complete.
  • Access the blacklist manager: In the WordPress dashboard sidebar, locate and click on Blacklist Manager. Click on the Blacklist option within Blacklist Manager.
  • Add customers to the suspect list: In the fields provided, enter the email address, phone number, or both of the fraudulent customer(s). Click on Add as suspect to temporarily mark the customer as suspicious.
  • Move customers to the block list: Navigate to the Suspect list within Blacklist Manager. Find the customer you wish to block and click the red cross icon next to their details. A popup box will appear asking for confirmation. Confirm that you want to add this customer to your block list.
  • Test the changes: To ensure everything is working correctly, test the settings you’ve just configured. You might create a test account or use an existing suspicious account to verify that the blocking mechanisms are functioning as intended.

Pro tip: You can use fraud prevention plugins like FraudLabs Pro to block customers by IP address or email address as well. You can configure the plugin on the Merchant dashboard and add more rules if needed.

Option 2. Block WooCommerce customers by location

Geoblocking is a valuable tool for WooCommerce store owners facing specific challenges related to customer locations. It can simplify shipping logistics and reduce fraud by blocking access to regions outside your target market.

Additionally, if you notice suspicious activities like chargebacks or spammy reviews from certain areas, geoblocking can preemptively mitigate these risks from becoming bigger. It also helps ensure compliance with legal restrictions on certain products in specific countries. 

Moreover, geoblocking allows you to focus your digital marketing efforts on regions with the highest engagement and conversions, optimizing your advertising spending and improving store performance.

A. Using WooCommerce

  1. Access WooCommerce settings: In your WordPress dashboard, navigate to the sidebar. Click on WooCommerce and then select Settings.
  2. Configure selling locations: In the General tab, scroll down to the Selling location section. Select Sell to all countries except for… from the dropdown menu.
  3. Select countries to block: A new field will appear where you can choose which countries to block. Select the countries you want to restrict from accessing your store.
  1. Save settings: Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Save changes to apply your new settings.

B. Using a security plugin

You may well wonder why you should use a security plugin, if WooCommerce has the ability to block countries built-in. 

Ideally, you shold block all malicious traffic requests, regardless of location. A competent firewall will prevent most attacks before even considering their location. MalCare’s geoblocking just customize it a bit better.

Secondly, using MalCare for geoblocking in your WooCommerce store simplifies the entire process. While MalCare’s advanced firewall automatically detects and blocks malicious traffic, you can also customize the firewall to block users from high-risk regions. This way, you are ensuring that your store is only accessible to legitimate users. 

This combined manual and automated approach not only saves you time but also continuously adapts to new threats by updating its database of malicious IP addresses in real-time. By leveraging MalCare’s geoblocking capabilities, you can effectively mitigate risks associated with fraudulent transactions, spam, and other malicious activities, allowing you to focus on growing your business without worrying about geographic vulnerabilities.

Note: While it is technically possible to manually implement geoblocking, we cannot in good conscience recommend it. It involves editing the .htaccess file and comes with several disadvantages. One major drawback is the limited flexibility it offers. It is challenging to use conditional logic based on dynamic user attributes or content types. 

Additionally, maintaining a large and intricate set of geoblocking rules can be cumbersome and error-prone, especially as IP addresses and geographic ranges frequently change. Another risk is the potential for server misconfiguration; a single syntax error in the `.htaccess` file can cause significant website downtime or display errors. Furthermore, the effectiveness of IP-based geolocation is decreasing due to the widespread use of VPNs and proxies. 

Option 3. Block WooCommerce customers by IP addresses

Blocking IPs is a crucial practice for WooCommerce store owners who aim to enhance security, manage content access, and control website traffic efficiently. This strategy involves restricting access to the store based on visitors’ IP addresses, allowing administrators to prevent malicious activities like brute force attacks, spamming, and fraud. For e-commerce platforms, it’s particularly valuable in reducing fraudulent transactions and eliminating bot traffic that can skew analytics or overwhelm server resources.

You can individually block IP addresses using fraud prevention plugins like FraudLabs Pro. But, in our experience, it is very frustrating because IP addresses keep changing and you have to individually add them to your blacklist. Doing it with code is painstaking with the .htaccess file and nearly impossible with nginx. So, we do not recommend this method all around. Plus, this method requires diligent configuration to ensure legitimate customers are not inadvertently blocked, preserving a seamless user experience for all genuine visitors.

What are some other ways to improve WooCommerce security?

  • Install MalCare: Comprehensive security plugins like MalCare offer essential features such as bot protection, firewalls, and vulnerability scanners, which are crucial for defending against cyber threats. Bot protection stops automated attacks, firewalls filter incoming traffic to block unauthorized access, and scanners identify potential vulnerabilities to keep your site secure. MalCare provides all these features for free, offering robust security for your WooCommerce store.
  • Use safe payment gateways: For WooCommerce store owners, utilizing secure payment gateways is critical to safeguarding transactions. Payment gateways like Stripe offer robust fraud prevention features. For instance, Stripe Radar uses machine learning to detect fraud patterns, adding an extra layer of security. Additionally, features like 3D Secure enhance transaction safety by requiring additional verification from the cardholder, such as an OTP or password. These advanced security measures are seamlessly integrated into a Stripe account.
  • Force customers to create an account for purchases: Requiring account creation is a strategic way to bolster security. This measure allows you to monitor user activity and maintain a verified record of customer interactions, reducing the likelihood of fraudulent transactions by adding a layer of accountability and traceability. You can do this by going to the Accounts tab in your WooCommerce settings. 
  • Use good login security: Strong authentication methods, such as Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and CAPTCHA, are essential for protecting your site from unauthorized access. 2FA requires users to provide a second form of verification, such as a code sent to their phone, while CAPTCHA challenges help distinguish human users from automated bots, preventing automated attacks and fraudulent account creation.
  • Enforce AVS or Address Verification Systems: AVS compares the billing address provided by the customer with the address on file with the card issuer. Transactions with mismatched addresses can be flagged or declined, reducing the likelihood of fraud and enhancing security by ensuring only legitimate transactions are processed.
  • Implement CVV or Card Verification Value (CVV): The CVV is a three- or four-digit number on the card that helps verify if the customer has physical access to their card. This additional security step significantly reduces the risk of fraudulent transactions, acting as a barrier against the unauthorized use of stolen card numbers.
  • Review every order: Manual order review is crucial for identifying high-risk transactions. This involves flagging and manually reviewing orders based on specific risk indicators, such as large order values, bulk purchases, or multiple orders from the same IP address within a short timeframe.
  • Implement SSL: Using SSL certificates to encrypt data exchanged between your WooCommerce store and customers is non-negotiable. SSL encryption safeguards sensitive information, such as payment details, ensuring that data intercepted during transmission is unreadable by unauthorized parties. This measure protects your customers and instills confidence in them, as SSL certificates are often visible indicators of a secure site.
  • Limit transactions: By setting transaction limits, you limit the financial damage that could arise from a single fraudulent activity, minimizing the impact on your business even if a fraudulent transaction slips through.
  • Maintain software updates: Regularly updating your software is vital for maintaining robust security. Software updates often include patches for known vulnerabilities that could be exploited by fraudsters. Staying current with updates for your WooCommerce platform, plugins, and other related software helps ensure that your site remains secure against emerging threats.
  • Using PCI-DSS-compliant hosting: It ensures that your site adheres to industry standards for securely processing, storing, and transmitting cardholder data. Compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is not only a best practice but a mandatory requirement for e-commerce businesses dealing with card payments.

Final thoughts

Blocking WooCommerce customers based on IP addresses or other criteria is an incomplete solution to fraud because it primarily focuses on exclusion without addressing the root causes or providing comprehensive protection. Fraudsters can easily bypass IP blocks using VPNs and proxies, making this method easily circumvented. Additionally, IP blocking can inadvertently restrict legitimate customers, leading to a poor user experience and potential loss of business. 

On the other hand, MalCare offers a more robust solution by providing comprehensive security features such as bot protection, firewalls, and vulnerability scanners. These tools work together to proactively prevent various forms of cyber threats, including automated attacks, unauthorized access, and potential vulnerabilities. Unlike simplistic IP blocking, MalCare detects and mitigates threats in real-time, ensuring a more secure environment for both store owners and customers. By integrating advanced security measures, MalCare offers a holistic approach to fraud prevention, enhancing overall site security and reliability.

FAQs

Can you block a customer in WooCommerce?

Yes, you can block a customer in WooCommerce. While WooCommerce does not offer a built-in feature specifically for blocking customers, you can achieve this with the help of plugins or by modifying your site’s settings. For example, you can use security plugins like MalCare that can block spammy IP addresses automatically. You can also use WooCommerce Fraud Prevention plugins that block based on email addresses, or phone numbers to prevent unwanted customers from accessing your store.

How do I blacklist a client in WooCommerce?

To blacklist a client in WooCommerce, you can use plugins like WooCommerce Anti-Fraud or a security plugin like MalCare. These plugins allow you to create blacklists based on multiple criteria.

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