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The Secret Code That Could Stop Online Credit Card Fraud

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If you’ve ever bought anything online, you were probably prompted to enter that three-digit code on the back of your debit or credit card to complete your purchase. You may not have thought much about it — you just wanted to order those new shoes as quickly as possible — but these codes (called CVV, or card verification value) are supposed to help verify that you physically have the card when conducting a card-not-present transaction as a way to help prevent fraud.

While this is a good step, fraudsters have plenty of ways to get your CVV and use the card, even if it’s in your wallet. (Just take a look at all the problems retailers have faced due to hackings.) But Oberthur Technologies, a French digital payment security company, reportedly believes they have developed a remedy to this problem.

With their technology (dubbed Motion Code), instead of using the printed code on the back of your plastic, a consumer would have a dynamic digital CVV that refreshes on an hourly (or half-hourly) basis. That means that, if a thief were to get ahold of your card numbers somehow, they’d only have a small window of time to use the CVV before the code changed and they’re left without access.

The code is still three digits, is listed on the back of the card and is powered by a thin lithium battery on the inside of the card, which, according to a Network World report, has a “lifespan of about three or more years.” (You can see more about how this card works in the video below.)

A trial of Motion Code was conducted with 1,000 French customers about a year ago and two more French banks are about to issue Motion Code cards, according to the Network World. The report also notes that these cards do cost issuers more than the standard EMV cards most people carry, but the expense might be worth it if the technology does away with “card-not-present fraud and the associated costs with combating the fraud.”

Keeping Your Money Safe

While it may not be possible to prevent theft entirely, it’s still a good idea to take precautions. If you’re shopping online, make sure you’re using secure payment sites (think those that start with https), don’t store your payment information in a browser or on a site, and enable NFC or RFID transactions.

Beyond that, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your accounts for signs of fraud. Look for purchases you don’t recognize on your credit card statement or, better yet, consider setting up transaction monitoring with your bank or credit card issuer. Another good option is to review your credit reports for sudden changes, which could be a sign of deep identity theft. You can get copies of your credit reports from the three major bureaus — TransUnion, Equifax and Experian — once a year by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also see two of your free credit scores, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.

Image: LDProd

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