Counterfeit Credit Cards – Credit cards are big business for stores and thieves. In fact, fraud in the U.S. has reached nearly the $1 billion mark and most of it comes from counterfeit. Thieves are successful because the chances of being caught are slim to none and prosecution is never assured. However, there are new laws now that take this problem more seriously, and thieves should have everything to worry about.
To make sure that a Visa or MasterCard is not a fake, make sure the signature panel (white strip of adhesive with the owner’s signature) has Visa or MasterCard printed several times on it. Make sure it’s not just a plain white because a damaged strip could be one that’s been tampered with.
The numbers on the signature panel should slant left and match the numbers on the front. Using an ultraviolet light, a large MC is visible on MasterCards, and a large dove is present on Visa.
The four-digit bank identification number (BIN) must be printed below and match exactly the first four digits of the embossed number or the account has been altered or is a counterfeit.
Visa’s embossed account numbers begin with a 4 and contain 13 or 16 digits, MasterCard’s with a 5 and contain 16 digits.
Microprinting is printing that appears to the naked eye to be a solid line, but under a magnifying glass is very small words or letters that are very difficult to recreate with normal printing.
For American Express, the account number on the front should match the one on the back. The Centurion’s head in the helmet should be printed with a high degree of clarity and detail similar to the heads portrayed on U.S. currency. In addition, the signature panel should have wavy black lines and should not be plain white (indicating a counterfeit credit card) or smudged (altered credit card).
The card member account number should be 15 digits and should begin with 34 or 37.
Under black light, the AMEX should appear and the Centurion should look phosphorescent.