How To Spot A Fake Credit Card.

Credit card fraud is very high today and if you would like to get a glimpse of what I am talking about, you should watch the movie ‘Identity Thief’. It is really funny but it shows how easy it is for someone to be a victim. Speaking from a merchant’s point of view, here is how to spot a fake credit card.

  • Correlation of the card numbers.

Different card names/companies have their card numbers starting with a specific number. American Express (AMEX) card number starts with 3, Visa with 4, MasterCard (MC) with 5. So if for instance you see a visa card with the number starting with any other number but 4, then it is a fake. I can say this is one of the easiest way to spot a fake credit card.

spot a afke credit card using the first number
The first number of a card
  • Symmetry

For MasterCard and Visa, the card numbers are spaced in fours (1234  5678  9012  3456) but for AMEX, they are spaced in 4,6,5 sequence (1234  567890  12345). Check the image below for a clear idea of what I am talking about. The numbers should also be evenly spaced. A fake credit card might not follow these rules as the numbers are usually embossed manually by using a machine which might not space them evenly.

spot a fake credit card by the number sequence
Amex number sequence
  • First four digits

Just below the first four digits of the card number, there is another number but it is usually smaller therefore most people do not take note of it. That number has four digits which should be the same as the first four digits of the card number.

spot a fake credit card using the first 4 numbers
First four numbers of the credit card
  • The back of the Card

The back of every card will have a signature strip which is usually of a different material from the card. It should be white in colour and it contains four numbers. This numbers should be the same as the last four numbers of the card at the front.

Four numbers at the back
Four numbers at the back
  • UV Logos

Another way to spot a fake credit card is using UV light if you have it. Place the card under the light and you will be able to see some glow on different parts of the card depending on which card it is. Check out the images below.

UV logo of visa card
  • Hologram

There is a hologram sticker in every card which is usually shiny. For a fake, the image in the hologram is usually dull and in 2D, for a real card, it’s in 3D. If you have a card, you can take it out and look for any shiny part. For instance, if it is a visa, you will see a bird, that bird should be changing colours when you look at it on different angles and should seem as if it is flying.

spot a fake credit card by a fake hologram
Hologram of Visa card.
  • Spot a Fake Credit Card Using The Receipt

If by any chance, you were not able to spot a fake by just looking at the card, take a look at the receipt. The receipt details should match all the cards details. Card number, name and date of expiry on the receipt should be exactly the same as the ones on the card. The reason that the receipt might be different is that thieves are getting smarter and the card might actually be a real genuine card. But the information in the card i.e the magnetic strip or chip might be of someone else (that is usually from the person being stolen from). Therefore when you run the card, the receipt that comes out will not be of the same card that you swiped.


This information does not definitely make you an expert, but at list you are a step above others. If ever faced with a situation where you spot a fake credit card user, just call any bank near you and they will respond. It does not matter which bank or which card is being used, they will be able to assist you.



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