Can Using Fake Credit Card Numbers Get You in Trouble? What Is the Alternative?

According to a 2022 study by the Baymard Institute, unreliable website security was one of the top four reasons customers didn’t proceed to checkout with a credit card. 

Vigilant customers are aware of the risks of sharing credit and debit card information online, especially on new or sketchy websites. Some people might consider generating fake cards online, hoping the dummy credentials would allow them to sign up for and test out various services—at least during a free trial period when no subscription fees are charged. 

While these cards are typically not associated with an actual credit line and you wouldn’t incur any charges from the subscription service, you might be wondering if there are any other risks or potential repercussions associated with using fake credit card numbers.

Our guide will address the following questions:

  • What is a fake credit card number?
  • Is it legal to use fake card numbers, and what consequences could you face?
  • Why are virtual cards a safer option than fake credit cards?

What Are Fake Card Numbers?

Fake credit cards are dummy credentials that are intended to appear valid to a payment system even though they aren’t connected to a funding source. They typically have expiration dates, CVV values, zip codes, cardholder names, and billing addresses. 

If you’re looking into using fake card numbers to shield your real payment information, you might come across credit card number generators online—but you should not use them.

Note that random credit card generators should only be used for creating fake card numbers for testing applications in the development stage. For example, a team of developers would use dummy card numbers to evaluate the efficacy of a new payment interface they created for a mobile app or an e-commerce website. The process is intended to reveal bugs in the design or integration flaws, so cards without funds can serve the purpose.

Legitimate card generator websites typically provide a disclaimer that their products are to be used for testing purposes and not for fraudulent activities. If you’re not a software developer and are looking for a payment method that would help you conceal your banking info from potential scammers when making transactions, these test card generators are not for you.

A close-up shot of a person holding four payment cards against a white wall

Source: Avery Evans

Could You Face Legal Consequences if You Use Fake Credit Cards Online?

If you try to use a fake card to buy something that requires an immediate disbursal of funds, the transaction will be declined, and the merchant could report the incident to the authorities.

U.S. federal laws are strict about financial crimes, and using a fake credit card number that you know has no money can be seen as an attempt to defraud a merchant. 

Any use of fake credit card numbers for purchases or online payments is considered a fraudulent activity. The consequences of generating fake credit cards for consumer purposes can be serious and can include steep fines and jail time.

Fortunately, virtual cards are a popular and ethical alternative to fake credit cards. Virtual cards are safe, legal, and efficient in masking your actual banking information, allowing you to shop online without worries and manage your subscriptions with ease.

An over-the-shoulder shot of a person typing on his Macbook Pro

Source: Campaign Creators

Why Are Virtual Cards a Safer Option Than Fake Cards? 

Virtual cards are randomly generated card numbers with their own CVVs and expiration dates, allowing them to act as stand-ins for your credit or debit cards and to protect your real card or bank information in case of a data breach on a merchant website. 

Unlike fake cards, virtual cards are connected to an actual funding source—like your bank account or payment card—making them as valid as conventional credit or debit cards. 

Check out the table below for more details on why virtual cards are a safer and more convenient solution than fake cards:

How Virtual Cards Help
Virtual cards pass through most digital payment gateways because the services that offer them issue cards within branded payment networks like Mastercard® and Visa®.
Legality Verified card service providers operate with bank partners and must follow all compliance and network regulations, just like any bank does.
Instant card pausing/closing
A virtual card is a secure option to use on all e-commerce websites as you can typically pause or close the card instantly if needed. This is especially beneficial for preventing unwanted subscription charges. Since the website you're using a virtual card on doesn't have access to your actual card details/bank account, you can't be charged by a subscription service once you pause/close the card (note: it is still your responsibility to cancel your subscription with the merchant). Additionally, if a website suffers from a security breach, the hacker will only gain access to your virtual card data. You can close the compromised card without affecting your real bank information.
Spending limits and transaction monitoring
Most virtual card services enable you to set spending limits on the card to prevent overcharges. You can also monitor your transactions, making it easier to spot suspicious charges and take action accordingly.

Virtual card services differ in terms of customization options and pricing structures. If you are looking for virtual cards that can hide your real banking info and are packed with payment control features—try Privacy!

Shield Your Payment Info With Privacy Virtual Cards


Privacy Virtual Cards are a secure payment option that works at digital payment terminals accepting U.S. Mastercard or Visa credit cards. Privacy Cards are helpful for online shopping and managing subscriptions because they help protect your financial information and give you numerous customization options and controls:

Closing or pausing the card anytime—You can close Privacy cards instantly, ensuring the merchant cannot charge you. The platform also enables effortless card pausing and unpausing, allowing you to:

  • Block unwanted charges and disable the auto-renewal of the subscription
  • Opt out of the service; although you still have to reach out to the merchant to cancel the subscription
  • Proactively protect against fraudulent charges

Setting spending limits—You can set a spending limit for your Privacy Card, which can be beneficial in many situations, including:

  • Preventing a subscription service from overcharging you
  • Managing your child's online spending—you can share the virtual card with trusted family members and stay in control over its usage without disclosing your actual card information

Locking the virtual cards to a single merchant—Privacy offers Merchant-Locked cards that can only be used at the designated merchant. For example, if you create a card for Amazon purchases, it won’t work at other merchants. This minimizes the chances of card misuse if there’s a security breach on the merchant’s website.

Creating a unique, Single-Use Card—Privacy’s Single-Use Cards close after the first transaction. A potential hacker accessing your virtual card data can't use it as the card number is no longer valid.

Privacy follows the same security protocols as banks. The platform complies with the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI) guidelines, meeting industry standards for payment security and protecting user data. A BBB®-accredited virtual card service provider, Privacy was included in Forbes’ list of the best consumer-centric companies for 2022.

How To Get a Privacy Virtual Card

You can request a Privacy Card by:

  1. Going to the signup page
  2. Entering the required KYC details
  3. Linking your bank account or debit card
  4. Requesting and creating your first Privacy Card

Privacy currently allows creating up to 12 virtual cards per month as part of the base tier, which is free for domestic transactions, but you can enjoy exciting perks like additional cards and cashback if you opt for a paid plan.

Paid Plan Price Additional Benefits
Pro $10 per month
- Up to 36 virtual cards per month
- 1% cashback on eligible purchases totaling up to $4,500 a month
- Ability to mask transaction information on your bank statements
- Priority support

Premium $25 per month
- Everything in Pro
- Up to 60 virtual cards a month
- Dedicated account management

Use Privacy’s Browser Extension and Mobile Apps for Quick Access

A top-view shot of two smartphones and an iPhone placed on a light-blue surface

Source: Arnel Hasanovic

Privacy Cards allow you to shop online or sign up for subscription services at your convenience by offering:

  • The Google Chrome and Firefox browser extension—The extension autofills your virtual card data in the relevant payment fields at checkout. You can complete fast and spontaneous purchases without having to look for your wallet.
  • iOS or Android apps—Privacy’s mobile apps offer real-time notifications every time a card used or declined, so it’s easy to monitor your account on the go.

The company also offers free integration with one of the leading password managers, 1Password, allowing you to keep your account and financial information safe and manage Privacy Cards from a centralized platform.

Create a Privacy Virtual Card today and upgrade the safety of your online transactions!

Privacy — Seamless & Secure Online Card Payments
Checkout securely online by creating unique virtual card numbers for every purchase. Avoid data breaches, unwanted charges, and stolen credit card numbers.
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