Credit card fraud has been a problem for a long time, but since 2005 that problem has been growing at an absurd rate. More than half the US population was compromised with the infamous Equifax breach.
That number gets worse when you factor in the breaches on Target, Home Depot, Yahoo, and so on. It is estimated that $2.5 billion has been lost due to phishing scams. With almost a million new computer viruses released each day, the natural target is someone’s credit card.
The holiday season is upon us, so now is a good time to know what to look for.
Skimmers: What They Are and How They’ve Changed
A skimmer is just a counterfeit card reader, which most people are familiar with. Skimmers require just two functional components: a reader, and a camera (to get the PIN number). The reader can be bought anywhere. They used to be fairly easy to spot. In fact, one of the internet’s leading cybersecurity experts, Bran Krebs, has a handy timeline from 2010 to 2016 on how skimmers have changed.
One of the more recent incarnations is from the video below.
It doesn’t take long for a fraudster to attach a skimmer. In fact, the maybe-probably-not world record is three seconds, as seen live.
Brian Krebs has a pretty good game of ‘spot the skimmer’, highlighting the things to look out whether it’s a self checkout, gas pump, or bank ATM: the size of the case overlays, the backlight on the keypad, whether the overlay skimmer blocks the stylus tray, or how well the green LED light is lit.
Credit Card Cloning and Where Those Stolen Cards End Up
The worst part about credit card fraud is that skimmers are beginning the become obsolete in some ways. US raided a credit card cloning lab in Spain, arresting 178 people in the process.
Last year, hackers recently took $2 million from ATM’s without using credit cards. If you’re wondering where those stolen credit cards go, you might be surprised.
Believe it or not you can track cards by country on the darkweb.
Essentially, once a credit card is stolen, it can end up anywhere between San Antonio, TX or Chelyabinsk, Russia. Once there, credit cards don’t actually sell for much. In order to be worthwhile for dark web buyers, or just generally unwholesome people, stolen credit cards are worth more with their Bank Identification Numbers.
It’s almost comforting; knowing your credit card could just sit on an illegal ebay account like an extra fidget spinner nobody wants. Most of these accounts don’t buy what you might think. Small online subscriptions like Netflix, or Spotify are typical, since they can potentially avoid detection.
With the holidays upon us, it’s probably a good idea to be more diligent and vigilant than usual. There’s no reason to let a scrooge ruin the spirit if you’re able to outsmart them.
Need to make sure you’re never on a weird list that’s selling your credit card to someone from Ireland? Ask about our Identity Theft Recovery plan and give us a call at 210-520-0796 or visit us at 6989 Alamo Downs Pkwy, San Antonio TX 78238.