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Recently I enabled text alerts for my credit card. I'm pretty confident about the physical security of my card, so I opted to get alerts only for "card not present" (CNP) transactions.

However, now I wonder if I'm being naive. Can the CNP status of a purchase be manipulated? Could a thief make an online purchase but somehow make it appear as though the card was present?

  • Is this in the US? – quid Apr 12 '17 at 17:52
  • Does the card have a chip? – Mindwin Apr 12 '17 at 17:53
  • US, and yes it has a chip. – John Gordon Apr 12 '17 at 17:56
  • In the US you have $0 fraud liability, why are you worried about the bank's risk? – quid Apr 12 '17 at 18:06
  • I want to know if I have to worry about looking over my entire credit card statement to catch fraudulent purchases, or if it's enough to just look at the CNP alerts. – John Gordon Apr 12 '17 at 18:08
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Could a thief make an online purchase but somehow make it appear as though the card was present?

No. The card not present flag is set by the merchant, not the customer. The only way an online merchant wouldn't flag it as CNP is if they are cheating to get a better rate.

Note you still need to worry about your credit card being cloned. The chip is difficult to clone, but the magnetic strip can easily be cloned, and then used either online (which you are checking for), or in establishments that haven't fully converted to chip yet. You may want to add an alert for "non-chip" payments if that option is available.

  • This. Also, cheating would be hard without the swipe data. Too many non-swiped/chipped "card present" transactions will bring the wrath of Visa or MasterCard on the merchant. – Bobson Apr 13 '17 at 0:32
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There are 2 aspects. On a good website, a scammer after getting details try to charge your card. However the website will treat this as CNP. It is the website that is connected to payment gateway that indicates CNP.

Now a scammer can setup as merchant and pass a CNP transaction as card present, however this is governed by visa/MasterCard network and merchant bank. Doing this way is not easy.

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