Consumer Payment Card News

Bad Cards

While the credit card industry eats more than $1 billion in credit card fraud losses each year, merchants, particularly Internet and mail order merchants, take a much bigger hit. Even brick-and-mortar merchants get taken with customers using phony cards. Therefore, the nation’s bookkeepers have come up with a short list of basic tips to help any clerk spot a fake card. The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers suggests:
Tell employees not to accept a VISA or MasterCard unless:

1. the numbers on the signature panel slant left and match the numbers on the front of the card

2. embossed account numbers on a VISA card begin with a 4 and is 13 or 16 digits — on a MasterCard begin with a 5 and is 16 digits Also tell employees not accept an American Express card unless:

3. the account number begins with 34 or 37 and is 15 digits;

4. the account number on the front and back match; and

5. the signature panel has wavy black lines and is not plain white or smudged (altered card).

For tips on spotting fake checks visit: “”:

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