Identity Theft Fraud Prevention Using Virtual Card Numbers
With all of the fear that sometimes gets associated
with on-line shopping and computer hackers ability to
steal your credit card number, here's a way to gain
added assurance for conducting transactions safely
via the internet.
With a select group of credit card providers, you
have the ability to substitute your actual account
number with a "virtual" one. The virtual account
number is randomly generated which makes it highly
improbable (if not impossible) for an identity
thief to steal your physical account number should
they hack into a computer database containing your
card purchase information on file.
Here's how it works.
When shopping on-line you would insert your virtual
account number into the merchant's order form and
complete your purchase. The only difference would
be that your virtual account number, generated
previously in a 1-click process with your bank,
would be used instead of the one physically
embossed on your credit card.
The eCommerce transaction would process normally
and every time that you want to purchase on-line,
you would simply generate another completely
random number for input into the transaction form.
Depending on your bank/credit card provider you may
have a couple of options for how you can issue the
virtual numbers such as by:
- Dollar Limit
- Time and Dollar Limit
Even though you've provided the on-line merchant
a virtual number, you can still track purchases
and activity on it when you access your account
on-line or when viewing your regular monthly
Plus, as an added measure of security, the virtual
numbers you issue to each merchant will
automatically expire in the following month
and can only be used by that individual merchant.
If a thief attempts to use that same number
elsewhere it will cause your credit card
company to automatically decline the
Please note an exception, there is an option for
you to designate re-occurring, instead of a 1 time,
payments to an on-line merchant such as your phone
or internet service bills.
So, our tip for today is to keep control over your
credit card account information when shopping
on-online. Enroll with your credit card provider's
virtual account number service where available.
It's a safe, simple, & free way to add to your
protection against identity theft & credit fraud.