How to Recognize a Fake Credit Card

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The advancement of technology has greatly simplified banking goods and services. Banks and financial institutions today provide multi-layer security against fraud and counterfeiting thanks to technological advancements. However, offenders continue to find different ways to duplicate products such as debit and credit cards, which can result in considerable losses, particularly for merchants. You should be able to recognize a fraudulent credit card if you operate a business or work in a mall or shop. This basic ability can save you a significant amount of money and time.

When compared to authentic credit cards, fake credit cards have minor differences in characteristics. A closer examination of the distinctive markers on the credit card can assist you in detecting a counterfeit credit card. Counterfeiting has been significantly decreased thanks to chip and pin protection. At the same time, you must exercise caution when using credit cards. So, if you want to learn how to recognize a phony credit card and avoid being cheated, keep reading.

Signs of a Fake Credit Card

Credit cards offer a variety of features, such as payment channel logos such as Mastercard, Visa, or American Express, holograms, metallic chips, and so on. Fake credit cards, unlike genuine credit cards, lack well-crafted accurate details. You can identify a fraudulent credit card by looking at the following signs and information.

  1. Numbers on the Credit Card
  2. Card Number Not Matching with The Issuer’s Number
  3. The Holograms On the Credit Card
  4. Signature Panels On the Credit Card
  5. Missing CVV Code
  6. Damaged Magnetic Strips in The Credit Card
  7. Missing or Unreadable Chip On the Credit Card
  8. Variation in The Last Four Digits of the Card
  9. Micro Prints On the Credit Cards
  10. UV Logos

Numbers on the Credit Card

Every cardholder receives a unique number, which is either imprinted on the plastic or metallic card or simply printed on the credit card. A genuine card features numbers that are evenly spaced and precisely lined up. A false card, on the other hand, usually has uneven numbers with varied spacing. The reason behind this is that aftermarket embossing machines print the numbers individually, resulting in nonsensical combinations. There may also be a few bogus credit card numbers of various widths and thicknesses. To validate a legitimate credit card, check at the appearance of the embossed numbers while conducting transactions.

Card Number Not Matching with The Issuer’s Number

All major credit card issuers have a unique number series. Your credit card may have between 13 to 19 digits, depending on the issuer. If you are aware of the starting digits of different prominent credit cards issuers, you can easily identify a fake credit card. Following are the initial digits of major issuers in the UAE.

Credit Card Issuer Beginning Digit On The Credit Card
American Express 34 or 37
Mastercard 5
Visa 4
Discover 6


Based on the starting series of a given issuer’s credit card, you may easily determine whether the card is fake or not by observing the numbers on the credit card. A Visa credit card, for example, begins with the digit ‘4’. So, if you find a Visa card that starts with a different number, like 9, you can be sure it’s a forgery.

The Holograms On the Credit Card

Holograms are three-dimensional patterns that display distinct images and marks when viewed from different angles. Holograms are difficult to replicate because to their multi-layered imaging, which reduces the possibility of counterfeiting. Holograms are used by all major payment channels to improve card security. While Mastercard and Visa credit cards have holograms on the front or back of the card, American Express credit cards have holograms on the magnetic strips.

If you notice a hologram that is dull, damaged or appears two-dimensional, chances are that you have encountered a fake credit card. For enhancing your awareness, you can study the images and patterns printed on several genuine credit cards to easily compare them with the ones you are dealing with.

Signature Panels On the Credit Card

Ever noticed the signature panel of a credit card? It is sufficient to help you find out if a credit card is fake or not. If the panel appears damaged, scratched, or of colours other than white, you might be dealing with a fake credit card. All major credit card issuers place their signature panel at the bottom of the magnetic strip in white colour. In fact, an unsigned credit card is probably a fake credit card, although you need to check various other factors before coming to conclusion.

Missing CVV Code

Every credit card includes a CVV (Card Verification Value) to increase security and reduce fraudulent digital transactions. While Mastercard, Visa, and Discover cards have a three-digit CVV number either on the back or beside the signature panel, American Express credit cards have a CVV number on the front that is directly above the brand logo. However, if you find a credit card without a CVV, the credit card is most probably counterfeit. Thus, it is vital to ensure that a credit card has a valid CVV before performing transactions.

Damaged Magnetic Strips in The Credit Card

Magnetic strips, which store data related to your credit card, are registered with the bank and payment channels. The fraudsters and offenders damage, alter or remove the credit card strips to prevent their use at the POS and swipe machines. Due to damage, the seller or the cashier needs to enter the card details manually, resulting in a fraudulent transaction.

Missing or Unreadable Chip On the Credit Card

Similar to the damaged magnetic strips, a missing chip on a credit card also prevents its registration at a POS and swipe machines. This too leads to eventual loss for the merchant.

Variation in The Last Four Digits of the Card

A great way to spot a counterfeit credit card is to verify the number on the credit card and the last four digits of the card mentioned on the bill or the sales receipt. If both the numbers don’t match, you are dealing with a fake credit card.

Micro Prints On the Credit Cards

Most credit card issuers have micro print verification numbers printed under the brand logo or the account numbers. These numbers can be seen through a magnifying glass, with the credit card being fake if the numbers are missing. As more than 80% of fake credit cards have micro-print numbers missing this is one of the most precise methods to verify genuineness.

UV Logos

If you have access to UV or black light check, you can verify the UV logos printed on the credit card. All the major credit card issuers use UV logos to prevent counterfeiting. For American Express credit cards, you can find ‘AM EX’ in the front of the credit card. In the case of Mastercard, you can verify an ‘MC’ sign in the front. You can seek for flying V sign with a dove logo on the lower-left corner of the credit card. Finally, for Discovered credit cards, you can find Discover printed across the card.

How to Handle a Credit Card Fraud?

If you encounter a fake credit card or have been a victim of credit card fraud, you need to take the following steps without any delays to reduce your losses.

  • Notify your Bank and Credit Bureau – Credit card fraud can often go unchecked if you delay the reporting. Consequently, it is recommended to report to your bank and the credit card bureau immediately after finding that you have been cheated. You would be needed to fill out a claim form as per the issuer’s procedure and submit relevant documents.
  • Add a Fraud Alert to Your Credit Report – If you activate the fraud alert service in your credit card account, your issuer implements an additional step to confirm identity before processing a transaction. This is an excellent prevention against the offenders opening a credit account using your details.
  • File a complaint with Local Law Enforcement Authorities – As additional security, you can also file a report with the local law enforcement authorities stating the fraudulent activity. While doing so, you will need to carry your identity and address proof, and other relevant information.
  • Use Security Freeze Facility in Your Credit Card – You can always freeze your credit card in the case of fraud by logging into your credit account. The issuer blocks your card details for future transactions.


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