How To Recognize Fake Credit Cards

With a little knowledge of what to look for, it's easy to learn how to recognize fake credit cards. There is nothing worse than getting stiffed out of your money, and one way that happens is when people use fake credit cards to purchase goods and services. Protect your business by knowing how to spot a fake credit card. The four major credit cards are Discover, American Express, Visa and MasterCard.

To recognize fake credit cards, you will need:

  • tip sheet for each type of credit card
  • ultraviolet light
  1. Look at Discover credit cards. The word Discover appears on the front of their cards when held under ultraviolet light. These cards all start with the numbers "6011." The account number on the front and back should match. The hologram on the front should appear to move when the credit card is tilted. Discover cards have a line of information under the card number that includes "Member Since" and a year, a stylized letter "D," and "Valid Through" with a date.
  2. Check out the details of American Express (AMEX) cards. The word AMEX and light show up under ultraviolet light in the Centurion image on the front of the card. All AMEX card numbers begin with the numbers "37." Only the person whose name is on the card can use an AMEX card. A card identification number appears above the credit card number. The credit card number on the front and back of the card must match exactly.
  3. Examine Visa credit cards. All Visa credit cards begin with the number "4." All cards have a hologram of a dove that appears to fly when the card is tilted. Visa cards have a stylized "V" after the "Good Thru" date. The four-digit number under the credit card number must match the first four digits of the Visa card.
  4. Inspect MasterCard credit cards. All MasterCard credit cards begin with the number "5." A three-D hologram of two world globes appears above the two circles with the name MasterCard in them. The two globes appear to move when the card is tilted. The background of the signature space on the back of the card has the words MasterCard repeating at an angle throughout the space. The last four numbers of the card and the three-digit security code appear above the signature line on the back of the MasterCard card.
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