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5 Costless Ways to Recognize Your Card From a Fake

Fake cards have been around for quite a while. Whether it’s a driver’s license, a State ID card, or a credit card, there will always be fraudulent copies floating around. In fact, the Internet is filled with websites that offer fake IDs for anyone willing to pay.

While there is no absolute foolproof way to tell if a card is fraudulent, there are a number of things that you can look for to recognize a genuine card from a forgery, and they typically revolve around knowing what a real one looks and feels like.

1. Scrutinize the physical characteristics of the card. Most genuine cards are printed on 30 mil polyvinyl chloride cards. They usually have even surfaces and smooth, uniform edges. If you bend the ID card slightly, it should be able to withstand the pressure. Fake cards, typically printed on laminated paper, will usually come apart.

2. Inspect the security features of the card. Holograms, for example, should not be constantly visible. They should appear in and out of the card as you tilt the card against the light. If your company uses raised or embossed ink, feel the card surface for those, as well. Some cards feature microtext printing that appear as regular lines to the naked eye but reveal a security text when magnified. If your cards have card data printed using ultraviolet (UV) or fluorescent printing, shining a black light over the cards will separate them from fakes, as well.

3. Check the printed information on the card for inconsistencies like asymmetrical or wrongly sized graphical elements. It is also not uncommon to see font variations between fake and authentic cards. This may include a completely different font style, improper bolding, lack of gradients, and the wrong font size. The colors may be of different shades or even the wrong color for the type of card being presented. Another way to tell if a card is genuine is through the serial number. Some cards include the cardholder’s birthday in the serial number. Most fake cards have random numbers.

4. Read all of the cardholder information on the card. If the card looks brand new but has a date on it that's over 2 years old, that's a good indicator that you’re looking at a fake card. Match the face with the photo on the card. Sometimes it's difficult to tell if the person in the picture is the same person presented the card. Hair and even eye color can change, so study facial features carefully. If you are unsure, look for a detail like a scar or a mole.

5. Sometimes, the clue isn’t on the card but on the cardholder. While nervous behavior doesn’t prove fraud, it’s a good indicator. Fake cardholders usually grow nervous when scrutinized about the legitimacy of their cards. They tend to avoid eye contact and take a moment when answering questions.

While this guide doesn’t make you an expert at spotting phony cards, it will give you a working knowledge on what to look for when dealing with possibly cloned cards.


For expert advice in ensuring the security of your cards, call or email our experienced card experts today.

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