We recently had a consumer call our Inquiry Centre, asking about those last three digits on the back of her credit card and when it was – and was not – safe to provide that information. While Consumer Protection BC is not responsible for regulating the credit card industry, we want to help you make informed decisions: and this topic is no exception.

Called a CVC2 or a CVV2 (short for Credit Validation Code 2 or Credit Verification Value 2), this credit card security feature is in place to help prevent fraud during a transaction when a consumer and a business aren’t face-to-face (such as an online or over the phone purchase). Here are three tips on how to protect this important number from fraudulent activity:

  1. Unsolicited call? Don’t give out your CVC2. Don’t give out this security number over the phone if you didn’t place the initial call. You can always independently verify the caller by hanging up and calling the company back (be sure to use a known number, not the one provided by the caller).
  2. Watch out for phishing scams. If you receive an email, asking you to click on a link and provide your CVC2, don’t do it – this could be a phishing ploy.
  3. Know where to go for help. If you feel that you may have been a victim of fraud, please report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (www.antifraudcentre.ca).

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