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Be wary of magnetic strips that don’t work

New credit card scam can capture businesses

Victims of credit card theft have been scratching their heads trying to figure out how someone has used their card when they still have it in their wallet. That’s because the newest credit card scam involves the luck and patience of perpetrators without the presence of a valid card.

The scammers painstakingly go through various combinations of 16 digits, testing them at online stores or calling into verification centers just as businesses do, until they happen upon 16 numbers that work.

Unfortunately for the victim, this 16 digit combination happens to be their credit card number. They have no idea their card is being used because they never lost the card, had any mail stolen or experienced any other type of burglary.

Once the perpetrators find a successful combination, they shave off the appropriate numbers from old credit cards and glue them onto gift cards that resemble credit cards. They often only alter a portion of the numbers, since the first few are the same on most cards because it is the bank identification code.

Their final trick is to scratch up the magnetic strip so that the clerk is forced to enter the numbers into the keypad to complete the transaction. Given this new insidious way to steal from unwitting consumers and businesses, it is more important than ever to follow the prompts your terminal will give you for address verification and the CVV or CVV2 code. If your terminal is not prompting for address verification call your processor immediately to resolve this issue. You should also call your processor for a Code 10 authorization if you are ever suspicious of the card or the client. This is an important safety precaution to protect your business.

“Businesses and their employees should always be on the lookout for altered cards and trust their gut when anything looks suspicious,” warned Michele Coons, member services manager of the Retail Council. “Unfortunately, not everyone can be trusted when they claim their card just went through the wash.”

Direct all your questions about credit card processing to the Council’s processing experts, Michele or Nicholl, at (800) 442-3589.