How to Mitigate In-Store Credit Card Fraud

Fraud + Chargebacks Fraud Prevention By American Express September 16, 2014

As a business owner or manager, your business may be at risk for credit card fraud. These tips can help you recognize credit card fraud at your business – and take action against it.


Recognizing suspicious behavior:

As a smart business owner, you must always be aware of suspicious behavior that may indicate fraudulent activities.


The following behaviors or situations may indicate fraudulent activities:

  1. Larger-than-normal transaction dollar amounts
  2. Customer does not have actual Card, rather recites number from memory or paper
  3. Customer is rude or abusive, wanting to rush or distract you

If you suspect Card misuse, follow your internal store policies and, if directed to do so, call the Authorization department with a Code 10. Never put yourself or your employees in unsafe situations, or physically detain or harm the holder of the Card.


Spotting fraudulent Cards:

Does the Card appear to be altered? Carefully examine a Card before accepting it. Do not accept any Card that appears to be physically modified.


Front of Card:

  • Card Numbers should not appear re-embossed, crooked or unevenly spaced. There should be no “”halos”” of previous numbers under the embossed account number.
  • Cards have a high-gloss finish. Does the Card have a partially dull surface, a bumpy surface or is it bent around the edges? This may indicate it has been altered.
  • Black ink should not be smudged or messy on the raised Card Number and Cardmember name.
  • The Card Number or Cardmember name is not printed in the same typeface as the American Express typeface.

Back of Card:

  • Card Number printed on the back should be the same Card Number that is embossed on the front.
  • The signature panel should not be taped over, mutilated, erased or painted over.
  • The magnetic stripe should not appear to be deliberately scratched or destroyed.

Educating your employees:

When it comes to protecting your business against credit card fraud in Card Present situations, educated employees can be your first line of defense. Talk to your staff about the following four crucial C.A.R.D. factors to watch out for when a customer pays using a credit card:


CID Number: This flat, four-digit number is printed on every American Express Card.

Account Number: Make sure the front, back and last four digits on the charge record match.

Real Cardmember: The signature should always be present and match the name on the Card.

Date: Only accept Cards that are still valid and unexpired.


Asking employees to always follow the C.A.R.D. process can reduce your risk of credit card fraud.


Extra protection with Card Identification (CID) Verification

Protect your brand and customers by verifying the CID value on swiped and keyed Card Present transactions. Requesting CID for Card Present charges helps determine that the person making the purchase is not using a counterfeit Card. Using CID for keyed Card Present transactions allows you to submit in-person charges without taking an imprint of the Card.


Track One: a tool to help detect counterfeit Cards

Want a tool to help detect altered or counterfeit Cards? Criminals often alter the data when creating a counterfeit magnetic stripe. Sending Track One data helps facilitate additional verification to detect and mitigate fraud.


American Express offers many tools to help business owners and managers mitigate fraud. See our fraud solutions portfolio at