In its simplest form, Card Not Present ("CNP") fraud involves the unauthorized use of a credit or debit card number, the security code printed on the card (if required by the merchant) and the cardholders address details to purchase product or services in a non-face-to-face setting. In many cases, the victims maintain possession of their card and are unaware of the unauthorized activity until notified by a merchant or they review their monthly statements.
Today, most CNP fraud takes place on the Internet although some criminals perpetrate it through call center operations or through the mail. In any case, the merchant never physically inspects the credit card, thus the term "card not present." Merchants release goods or render services with the understanding that the cardholder authorized the purchase and will make the required payments.