If you are receiving unsolicited phone calls from an entity pretending to be ACCC (a trusted non-profit credit counseling agency), please be assured that ACCC’s policy is NEVER to contact you unless you’ve explicitly requested us to call you. Also be cautious of emails from an unusual or unfamiliar domain. ACCC’s domain extension is @consumercredit.com, and any emails using a different extension should be treated with suspicion.


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Tuesday Tip: Protect Your Identity with a Temporary Credit Card Number

Often referred to as a “virtual” or “disposable” credit card number, this temporary option can give you more protection from hackers and identity thieves when shopping. Many consumers are unaware of this service that several of the larger credit card companies offer. But to prevent fraudulent debt in your name, ACCC has the details. If you want to make your online shopping experience a little more secure, here is some information on virtual credit card numbers, and how and when to use one.

Prevent ID theft-related debt with this tip.

Prevent ID theft-related debt with this tip.

What is a Virtual Credit Card Number

A virtual credit card number is a temporary and disposable number that is different from the one on your actual card. However, you can use this temporary number to make purchases using that account. There is typically a limit on the amount you can spend, and how long the virtual number will last. These terms are determined once you speak to your creditor about obtaining the temporary number. It can be set to last for one purchase, or only be usable at one retailer, etc.

When to Use a Virtual Credit Card Number

You can use a temporary credit card number for online or over-the-phone purchases. However, in any purchase where you will need to show your card, you should not use a temporary number since it will not match the number on your card. Be sure to keep your receipts, as returns and refunds can be tricky with temporary credit card numbers.

How to Get a Virtual Credit Card Number

Contact your credit card issuer to find out if they offer this service. Different companies may have different processes for obtaining a temporary number.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 



Andi is a Marketing Assistant at ACCC. He is passionate about supporting financial literacy efforts and helping to educate people on the Talking Cents blog!

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