For those who are still unaware, Legal Yogi is here to inform you that credit card identity theft in the USA is the simplest and the most common type of identity theft. The process is so simple that if you have ever used a credit card at a gas station or restaurant and accidentally left your copy of the receipt, you can easily become a credit card fraud victim. Or, if you have ever thrown your paid monthly credit card statement in the trash and left it out, a thief can easily get a hold of your information and use it to his or her benefit. Furthermore, in this age of easy internet information, even if your address is not mentioned on the receipt you threw away, it can be obtained with just a few clicks of a mouse.
Here is some interesting information about credit card identity theft:
- How can people use my credit card information?
- How can I repair my credit after identity theft has taken place?
- How can I protect my credit card information?
The Faces of Credit Card Frauds
The term credit card fraud refers to fraudulent actions involving not just credit cards but also debit cards. The perpetrator may use the card to purchase goods or services or transfer money into another account the criminal controls. In an attempt to reduce the instances of credit card frauds, the Payment Card Industry Data Security was created. This data security standard has the sole purpose of helping banks and other financial institutions process credit and debit card payments securely thus reducing the amount of fraud.
There are two classifications of credit card fraud: authorized and unauthorized. In an authorized transaction, the actual card owner sends a payment to an account the criminal controls while an unauthorized transaction refers to a transaction in which the account holder did not authorize the transaction, but the criminal himself or another third party handled the transaction. In 2018 unauthorized fraudulent transactions created financial losses of over $24 billion worldwide.
The most common fraud today involves instances where the card is not present. This can usually take place without the account holder even being aware until some time later. With the internet being such a large source of financial transactions. Data breaches have created costly security lapses; in some cases, millions of accounts have been involved in the data breach.
Some of the more common types of credit card frauds include:
- Application fraud when a criminal uses fake or stolen information to open an account in someone else’s name (can also be linked to identity theft).
- Taking over another person’s account by assuming control of accounts that do not belong to the person in question.
- Social engineering fraud occurs when a scammer poses as someone else in order to incur a voluntary money transfer or receive personal information about another person through fraudulent methods. The criminal will then access the person’s bank account, credit cards, or use the personal information to obtain access to those accounts.
- Skimming is the process of obtaining personal information when the account holder used his card in what he perceives is a normal transaction. This can be done either through the use of an electronic device that is used to swipe and store the card numbers of many victims. Another method involves the scammer making a copy of the account numbers on a card when it is out of the immediate view of the account holder. This can occur frequently in places such as restaurants where the card is often taken out of the sight of the customer to another location in the building for processing.
- Unexpected repetitive billing is another method that is easy for customers but can be an open invitation to scammers. Another method is when criminal pose as representatives of utility companies and tell customers they must pay immediately to avoid termination of service. The funds are usually added to a reloadable debit card.
Notable Fraud Cases
A breach of data occurred at TIX Companies between July 2005 and January 2007. The breach exposed information from 45.6 million credit cards. The same person who is believed to be the instigator of this attack, was indicted in August 2009 for the theft of information from 130 million credit and debit cards at Heartland Payment Systems that affected four retailers.
Adobe Systems suffered a hack in 2012 that compromised information from 40 million accounts. The information that was exposed included the names of customers, account numbers and expiration dates from encrypted payment methods, and order information.
Four Russians and a Ukrainian were indicted in July 2013 in New Jersey. A minimum of 160 million losses of credit cards and over $300 million in monetary losses resulted. The hack affected sever large companies in the U.S. and Europe including Citigroup, Nasdaq OMX Group, PNC Financial Servies Group, Visa licensee Visa Jordan, Carrefour, J.C. Penny, and JetBlue Airways.
Target Corporation experienced a breach between November 27, 2013, and December 15, 2013 in which data from approximately 40 million credit cards was compromised. The information exposed included names, expiration dates, account numbers, and CVV codes.
Neiman-Marcus experienced a breach from July 16 to October 30, 2013 in which approximately 110 million sets of payment data were compromised.
The payment systems at Home Depot were compromised on September 8, 2014. During the breach, hackers compromised 56 million customer credit card account numbrs.
A coordinated attack on May 15, 2016, resulted in 1600 South African credit cards being compromised at 1400 convenience stores in Tokyo. The total loss was $12.7 million and only took three hours. The theft was committed by a group of around 100.
Credit Card Fraud Statistics
While there are likely to be many more statistics on credit card frauds, we have chosen ten of the most important ones of which consumers need to be aware. It is also important to note, according to FTC, credit card theft is a part of identity theft.
- Over 390,000 cases of credit card fraud were reported in 2020 according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- The FTC reported credit card fraud was the most common type of identity theft in 2020.
- In 2020 thirty-four percent of all fraud reports involved a monetary loss (FTC).
- FTC reported the 4.7 million fraud reports in 2020 was higher than the number reported in 2019.
- COVID-19 and federal stimulus payments resulted in 143,992 fraud reports as of July 2020 (FTC).
- Higher median losses occurred in 2020 among those 60 years old or older than among any other age group (FTC).
- New accounts experienced a 48 percent increase in 2020 over 2019 (FTC).
- Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, and Nevada were the states with the highest per capita rates of reported credit card fraud (FTC).
- The FTC stated consumers reported losses due to fraud in excess of $3.3 billion in 2020. This was $1.5 billion more than what was reported in 2019.
- In 2019 33.57 percent of all credit card losses due to fraud occurred in the United States (Nilson Report).
Credit Card Scams
Keeping ahead of credit card scams can be difficult. It’s a cat and mouse game because as soon as companies find a way to detect and prevent a particular scam, the criminals come up with a way to avoid being caught. Over the years companies have taken different measure to reduce the cost of credit card scams, and while it worked for a while, the criminals were able to outsmart the companies. Some of the measures companies have used over the years include:
- Introduction of the “hot list” that preceded the age of computers. This was a manual method whereby a retailer had to check a list to see if a credit card had been reported stolen. While it seemed like a feasible method to detect fraud, the problem was the list only came out once a week, so if a card was reported later, it would not show on the list. There was a floor limit, but the criminals got smart and would only make purchases that fell below the limit. They also knew the closing dates of the “hot list,” so they would make sure to conduct their business in between those dates.
- The introduction of computer-generated methods made it easier to catch fraud because with the POS (Point of Sale) method, fraud could be detected at the register. A workable solution until payment at registers became self-functioning. This meant criminals were able to embed a card reader into the POS machine. This allowed them to access all the information on the card and then make a duplicate.
- The introduction of the RFID blocker made carrying a credit card safer—until criminals came up with the means to override the blocker and gain the information even though the card was safe in the consumer’s wallet.
- Telephone scams are still a problem, and as soon as one is uncovered, another one hits the waves. Even though warnings go out to consumers constantly warning them to never give out their information unless they initiated the call to a company with whom they usually do business, it still happens.
Credit card scams are a big problem, and we seem to see new ones every day. We have companies that appear to legitimately have job openings that want bank information to pay you—it never happens. Criminals are still getting personal information and obtaining credit in the names of unsuspecting consumers.
How Can People Use My Credit Card Information?
Using only your name, date of birth, and social security number, someone else can get loans, open a bank account, access your existing bank accounts, and even buy a house. You will probably know nothing about it until creditors come knocking on your door for payment, or you apply for credit and are denied because you were found having bad credit. Credit card fraud and identity theft have become a big business, and the honest people out there, including children, are becoming the victims.
How Victims Can Report Credit Card Fraud
If you find you are a victim of credit card fraud, it is essential to report the incident. Failing to report credit card fraud can make you even more of a victim because the thief will leave you responsible for any charges he makes using your card. Remember, your card issuer will hold you responsible for any charges on your card until you report the theft. Some cards issuers will only allow 48 hours—if you report it after that time, you may be held responsible for any charges that occurred before you reported the theft. This isn’t always the case, but it’s important to know the guidelines of your card issuer.
Once you become aware of the theft, you need to immediately contract the card issuer. They will then cancel the card and issue you a new one while opening an investigation into any fraudulent activity that occurs. You also need to notify the credit bureaus, so they can put a red flag on your file. What this means is they will contact you to verify whether you applied for credit and where. It may be a pain when you actually do apply for credit, but it’s worth the extra step.
If you have had more than one card stolen, you will need to contact each of the issuers individually. This is quite time-consuming, but some issuers do offer a plan whereby they would contact all your credit card issuers on your behalf. Frequently, this is a plan your fianncial institution may offer unless you subscribe to an identify theft protection plan like Life Lock.
One resource that is at your disposal is www.legal-yogi.com (I know you said link to Credit-Yogi, but identity theft is under Legal-Yogi which is where I assume you want visitors to go). On the site you will find an abundance of articles on identify theft such as how to report it, how to contact the credit bureaus to place alerts in your file, how to recognize the signs of possible identiy theft, and much more. Use the contact form to reach out to one of our experts for help with identifying and resolving your situation.
Leaders in Credit Card Fraud Detection
There are many companies that offer credit card fraud detection services, but naturally, some are rated higher than others. According to ConsumerAdvocate.com, the following are the top five in the industry:
Aura is a technology company whose specialty is helping customers retain a safe internet. They were founded in 2019 and have between 201-500 employees according to their LinkedIn profile page. Their headquarters is in Burlington, Massachusetts.
- Identity Guard
Identity Guard is located in Herndon, Virginia and has a total of 11 employees according to their Dun and Bradstreet profile. Their principle is Barbara Clifford, and they generate just over $617,000 in sales.
According to their website, the company is located in Nashville, Tennessee. The only other information available was they partner with a number of other companies to provide credit card fraud protection.
- Life Lock
According to Wikipedia, Life Lock is an American identity fraud protection company that was established in 2005. Their headquarters is in Tempe, Arizona, and they reported 788 employees in 2016.
- Identity IQ
U.S. News reports Identity Q is an identity protection company that was founded in 2009. Their website shows call centers located in several cities across the United States. No other information was located.
How Can I Repair my Credit After Identity Theft Has Taken Place?
Suppose you are a victim of credit card ID theft and wonder if you can ever recover from the loss. The answer is yes. You can definitely recover, but it will take hours of frustrating effort in order to correct something you are not responsible for. That is why many people are resorting to the expertise of credit card identity theft protection service agencies, who can notify their clients as soon as any detect any suspicious activities. However, if you don’t want to get help from an agency, there are steps you can take to help protect your credit card information on your own.
Discover Card Identity Theft Protection
The Discover identity theft protection plan monitors the content of your credit report every day and alerts you of certain key changes. In addition, with your membership, monitoring of thousands of potentially risky websites for your social security number is included. They also alert members monthly of any changes to your address that appear with the postal service. To sign up for this service, go to https://www.discover.com/products/identity-theft-protection/.
American Express will monitor your account and let you know of anything that sounds suspicious. Visa has a guarantee you will not be held responsible for any charges on your account due to theft or fraud. The policy applies both to credit cards and debit cards. If you suspect misuse of your Capital One card, immediately report it, and they will lock the card and issue you a new one with a different account number.
How Can I Protect My Credit Card Information?
With the ease of access and popularity of the internet nowadays, it is easy to get all sorts of information. And, to save yourself from identity fraud, it is important for you to protect your information. Some of the steps you can take include: