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Be cautious when revealing your credit card verification code (CVC)

Updated December 23, 2009

A credit card verification code (CVC) is the last three digits on the back of a MasterCard or Visa card in the signature strip. American Express cards have a four-digit CVC on the front side of the card above the card number.

When you order something online, you are frequently asked for the CVC code. This is to ensure that you have the card in your possession and that someone is not using a credit card number obtained from the theft of mail, a receipt or some other illegitimate source.

A common scam to obtain one’s CVC code involves a person representing a security or fraud investigator from your credit card company. (This scam is gaining popularity in Cerritos). The caller will ask you about a fraudulent purchase in an attempt to gain your trust, and then ask you a series of questions, including asking you for the CVC code. Once you provide this information, the thief can make purchases with your credit card number.

If you receive a call like this, always call your credit card company’s toll-free number before you provide any information. Make sure that the caller gives you a name or operator number so you will know whom to contact. If the call is a scam, the thief will not be able to provide the correct contact information, and you will have avoided potential identity theft!

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