5 Signs of a fake credit card

"i saw the sign...", just like the song of a 90's band, free merchant account holders should be aware of every, if not all, signs pointing to fraudulent transactions - particularly fake credit cards. With so many criminal minds giving out free fake credit cards, and producing credit card number generators, a merchant, whether brick and mortar or ecommerce, should know when to push through with a transaction or report a "customer" to the authorities.

Signs someone's trying to bamboozle you:

Check for the PRINT.
When you get a card on hand, don't be in a hurry to swipe it - check first if the MasterCard or Visa logo is easily read and not corrupted. The card should have clean defined edges. If the colors are off - it's too dark or too light than the normal credit card - then hold on to the card and give it another scan.

There is no hologram.
Look at the VISA hologram on the right bottom part of the card. Does the VISA Hologram have a VISA dove with wings that seems to move when the card is turned clockwise? If it doesn't, and the supposed location on the VISA logo looks shiny but isn't a hologram, then it's a fake.

Embossing is Uneven.
You don't need a ruler to measure it and this is quite easy - just look at the letters and numbers - if they're uneven, the card is fake. The numbers and letters should be read easily as well as equally sized.

Signature Panel is white as snow.
Aside from confirming signatures, the signature panel should have a repetitive Visa or MasterCard pattern. The Account number can also be found on the upper left corner of the panel (although not all cards carry this). Fake credit cards have a pure white signature panel (or even worse, liquid paper slapped on).

The Line isn't Fine.
Fake credit cards can't maintain the fine line printing of most MasterCard cards. The letters in repetitive printing are often broken or blotchy.

What can merchants do?
With fake credit cards, the merchants are often the ones who take the bullet. Customers are almost always refunded of their money, and this results in a massive loss for the merchant for cashflow, and a tainted reputation at that.

Merchants, however, can reduce the incidents of fraudulent transactions due to fake credit cards:

  • Confirming signatures by asking for other ID cards (some may refuse to do so, if they do, then refuse to make a sale - you'd rather lose a sale than have a chargeback in case of a fraudulent transaction)
  • Careful scrutiny of the card at hand as well as familiarization with the different credit cards in the market. Most merchant account providers give out manuals, guides to read.
  • Join merchant account forums, merchant account newsletters - be active in gaining information about fraud prevention including technological advancements in the field of transaction security.

In a world where there's something new invented everyday - and this also pertains to the ways fraud can destroy your business, one can never be knowledgeable enough. Educate your employees and make them realize the full gravity of the threat of fake credit cards. If the card looks strange - ditch it!

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