Having recently received the credit card bill for a card that has not been activated since I received it several months ago, I was surprised to find charges on the bill. Somehow I managed to use this unactivated card to sign up for a monthly MLM deal, purchase travel from hotwire and a train ticket as well. As I said, this card has been in my wallet with the little sticker to call this number from my home phone to activate it, for over seven months! But the charges didn’t start until November. How could this have been prevented?
The latest trend is toward disposable credit card numbers but that probably couldn’t have prevented those bogus charges on my card as the thief was using my name and the true credit card number. For online shopping protection the use of virtual card numbers may be helpful. Hopefully they won’t lead to a false sense of security fostered by one-time use of a virtual number. Use of a virtual number wouldn’t have prevented the thief from getting the real information as happened to me.
This can be compared to the use of a disposable camera to prevent loss or damage to your expensive camera while you are traveling. A virtual credit card number can be used to prevent loss when making online purchases. In this case, the virtual credit card number is invalid after one use.
With widespread credit card fraud nobody is surprised when it happens and the credit card companies are constantly looking for a way to prevent losses due to fraud. The method must not inconvenience their customer when it comes to using the account for purchases either online or on person yet it must also protect consumer information. Their hope is that virtual card numbers can solve this problem for them and their customers.
While virtual cards are used to purchase online in the same manner regular cards are, they are temporary numbers. These numbers are issued as a short term replacement of you true card number for purchases. Your personal information is not transmitted to the vendor and often they are single use numbers and a new number must be generated for subsequent transactions. There are other cases where a virtual number can be used for multiple purchases over a limited time period before it cancels.
Virtual card numbers are intended to hide the real number from those who wish to use your information for their purposes and possibly damaging your credit. Should a secure processing center be hacked by someone wanting credit card information, your use of a virtual number would render your account safe. If they used your virtual number the result would be a denial of credit.
The expectation is that your card number is safe and secure on some sites during the payment process. There is always the possibility that someone working for the online merchant will sell the information to criminals. This as well would be a criminal act but some people are willing to do anything if the price is high enough and there is no easy way to trace it back to them.
Virtual credit card numbers protect your valuable information during online purchases. If a virtual number is stolen it is worthless or becomes worthless in a very short period. When making several purchases with your credit card a month you may realize a real benefit from using a virtual card number for protection and security.