Calling In A “Code 10”

Do you know what a “Code 10” is?  This is perhaps the most underutilized tool for fraud prevention.  You’ve probably taken a phone order before and felt like something just wasn’t quite right.  Or, maybe you are retail merchant and the customer was standing right in front of you.  If it doesn’t feel right, it is considered a “Code 10” or suspicious transaction.  Using a code word allows you to call a special merchant hotline right in front of the customer without alerting the customer to the purpose of your call.

What Is A Code 10 Authorization Request?

A merchant can call their merchant hotline 24/7 and request a Code 10 Authorization.  This code alerts the operator of a suspicious transaction.  The operator will then begin asking you are series of yes or no questions to identify the cardholder.  The person standing in front of you or on the phone with you may be required to provide information to guarantee it is really them.  At the same time, another operator will notify the card issuer such as Capital One or Chase so they can attempt to contact the cardholder to verify the purchase.

When To Make A Code 10 Call

Code 10 calls should be made whenever you are uncomfortable about a transaction.  Things that can raise a red flag include the following:

  • An error message saying “Pick Up Card” or “Lost or Stolen Card” that appears after the card is swiped
  • Mismatching signatures on the card and the receipt
  • The AVS system says mismatch on the address/zip code
  • Cards whose security features, such as the security code or expiration date, have been clearly tampered with
  • The customer acts suspicious or nervous
  • The customer engages in distracting conversation during the transaction.

Who To Call

All merchants are provided a hotline number for Merchant Assistance.  Different merchants have different numbers to call.  If you do not have a merchant hotline number, contact your account representative to obtain it.