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Credit Card Fraud: How To Protect and Prevent From Theft

The United States has the highest number of credit card fraud globally, with The Federal Trade Commission 2021 (FTC) reporting identity theft as the most common type of abuse.

Credit Card Fraud: How To Protect and Prevent From Theft
  • PublishedAugust 9, 2022

Hackers and scammers use a variety of tactics to steal credit cards and financial data. Over 4.5 million credit card entries were found on the dark web within the first half of this year. Hackers capture credit card details from stolen, physical credit cards or online through cybercrime.

Sending phishing links to online users on their devices through spammy emails, exciting offers, pop-up ads, fake and cloned websites, etc., leads to online credit card fraud. It takes only a few seconds to withdraw money from a credit card altogether. Moreover, if a credit card is lost and someone uses it illegally, it amounts to fraudulent usage of a credit card.

Credit card fraud statistics

As per statistics, the United States has the highest number of credit card-related fraud globally. The Federal Trade Commission 2021 (FTC) reported identity theft as the most common type of abuse owing to credit card theft in the U.S.

Credit cards with either a magnetic stripe or a chip and signature technology are easier to misuse than those with the chip and personal identification number (PIN), as is often found in Europe.

The report added that 459,297 credit card fraud and identity theft reports were made in 2020. Moreover, a study stated that among the five top most vulnerable and attacked states in terms of credit card fraud in the U.S., California ranked first with 45%, Florida second with 44%, Georgia third with 42%, followed by Alabama with 42% and Maryland with 40%.

What is the Dark Web?

The dark web, also called the black world of the internet, is dumped with stolen data related to online cybercrimes, including hacking, data theft, identity theft, and login credentials. The dark web is accessible only through Tor, an open-source anonymity browser. Having such secure’ systems available for theft and cybercrime, criminals create a network of people to misuse credit cards in multiple ways.

How to avoid credit card theft and fraud?

Users’ online activities must be secured with measures like keeping the anti-virus software updated, keeping log-in details to themselves, not clicking suspicious links, and cross-checking the facts of advertisements that offer prizes or rewards.

Clicking on a phishing link is one of the biggest clickbait to extract money from unsuspecting users. Hence, it is of utmost importance that one refrains from clicking on dubious links on their device. While surfing, links from unknown senders in the form of SMS, email, or website links should not be clicked as it can lead to data theft almost instantly.

Clicking a virus may enable a hacker to capture the screen, copy all the data from the device, create a chain of unauthorized data sharing in your name, and so on. Avoid public Wi-Fi networks, especially if it requires punching credit card details or online shopping. If not, one can create a layer of protection using a VPN that encrypts internet traffic.

Protecting credit cards details

Leaving credit cards with someone else or inside a bag or wallet that is left open can be dangerous—punching credit card details openly in a way others can see it may lead to them making a note and misusing them by posting on the dark web to profit. Swiping a credit card in a suspicious location can lead miscreants to misuse login details. These are some of the ways to minimize exposing credit cards to threats.

How to report credit card fraud?

In case of losing a credit card or noticing fraudulent purchases, it is essential to call or email the concerned bank to let them know about it. The bank officials can freeze the account or deactivate the credit card as per the client’s choice. Changing the pin and login credentials can also help in an emergency.

A victim of credit card fraud can call the company from whom they have received notifications of fraudulent purchases. Upon furnishing every necessary detail, the company official can take immediate action.

Calling the police

One can alert the police to make a complaint about credit card loss. Keeping cybercrime contact details in the emergency contacts can be handy in handling threats. One can also file an FTC report by filling out the online form.

Act fast and note complaint details

Act quickly when reporting credit card theft as a delay in action may lead to increased financial loss and data theft. Sometimes, a criminal may take time to fetch all the information. In the meantime, quick action from the victim’s end can save the losses. At every step of the process of reporting, reporting numbers or details must be provided. It will help if the victim notes all those numbers and tokens to reproduce them for redressal.

Note fraudulent charges

Users can dispute a credit card charge when they notice purchases they have not made. When a dispute is raised, the credit card company can take adequate actions to verify the dispute details and transactions. A victim of credit card fraud thus gets exempted from paying for fraudulent purchases. It is also prudent to keep a tab on one’s account and credit report. If something seems suspicious, the same should be notified to the credit card company at the right time.

What happens with stolen credit cards?

Buying with stolen credit cards

Scammers and hackers use stolen credit cards to buy or shop, more often, luxury items that they can acquire with a quick purchase. Miscreants who do not wish to hang with the card for longer or those who are not cybercriminals but want to make a quick buck to avoid the risk of getting caught may use it quickly. So, they will buy things and dispose of the card soon after.

Working with a network of criminals with stolen credit cards

Criminals profit from stolen credit cards by creating card malls, also called carding forums. Hackers create a network or ring to circulate stolen credit cards and misuse them in various ways to increase profit. Stolen credit cards can be used to make purchases by more than one person on card forums, like online shopping. Cybercriminals that are on the lookout for credit card details like the card number, CVV, dates, etc., use the information, so they can misuse credentials and sell them online on the dark web.

Creating counterfeit credit cards

Making fake credit cards or replicating stolen credit cards is common among the network of criminals. Counterfeit cards are used to make purchases and create prepaid cards with stolen credentials. Replicating credit cards is expensive as they must look like the original and pass-through online security checks. Therefore, scammers make sure their duplicate credit card looks like the original. They make a foolproof replica using a highly advanced mechanism.

Closing the victim’s account

Upon finding a credit card, an issuer may close the victim’s account to create a new card using another number. They may use the victim’s name and make fraudulent purchases. This can be found on the credit report. Such crimes need to be reported to the credit bureaus.

There are many basic precautions that a user can take to be safe. Keeping one’s credit card safe need not be daunting. Being in the know by reading about cybersecurity and credit card safety norms can equip all users with the necessary information.

Written By

The Cyber Express is a publication that aims to provide the latest news and analysis about the information security industry. The news comes from a variety of sources and is updated regularly so that readers can stay up to date with the latest happenings in this rapidly growing field.


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