Can a scammer guess my credit card number? – Longmont Times-Call


Question: I’ve heard from my bank that scammers can now guess your credit card information at random and you need to be extra careful when checking your statements. Is it true?

Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer

Dave taylor

Reply: This is not true. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t scammers and criminals eager to capture all of your credit card information so that they can carry out fraudulent transactions. Let’s just start with “guessing” because credit card numbers are more sophisticated than most people realize.

First of all, did you know that the last numbers are what is called a “checksum” for all the previous ones? In other words, you can’t just randomly find 16 digits starting with a 4 and think it could be a valid MasterCard or Visa number.

But even if it’s random, 16 digits means there are billions of possible values.

Even sloppy online sites that don’t ask for your billing zip code (they should) still require a month and year to expire. That’s 12 months times six years (to be realistic), so now, even if they were to guess your credit card number, they should also get the correct expiration information, and that’s at least 72 more possibilities.

Basically, really hard. Unless they have a way to avoid it by hacking into a website where your credit card is registered, or taking a quick snapshot of your credit card while it’s in the back of the restaurant .

One would certainly hope that at this point in 2019 any site that stores payment information will also have a highly secure storage system, encryption, and other measures to make it safe.

The “card present” transactions at the point of sale are really where the risk arises because if the credit card that you have just given to your waiter at the restaurant is sufficient for him to process your bill, all he has to do is make another one. transaction later that night. This solution is slow to come in the United States, but in many countries your card is processed at the table, so your card never leaves your site. Clever.

The other concern is the skimmers; devices added to a gas station pump card scanner that duplicates information from each card inserted. They may be invisible to the untrained eye. You may google for “gas station pump skimmers” and be alarmed. Such devices were found as recently as last year in Boulder County.

The best advice is to be careful and check every statement carefully. Better yet, turn on transaction notifications for all of your cards too, so you can quickly find out if something fraudulent is happening.

Dave Taylor has been involved in the online world since before the Internet launched and runs the popular technical help site. You can also find AskDaveTaylor on Facebook and consult the AskDaveTaylor YouTube Channel too much

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