How much is your Credit Card worth?

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Mark James, ESET security specialist, talks about how much your credit card information is worth to a criminal, how they can get that information and how you can protect your precious card information.


As Mark puts it “with the massive volume of data that gets stolen from online databases from top retailers like Home Depot and Target there will be no shortage of data to choose from.”

We do seem to be seeing not only a scary number of breaches in recent months but also a scary amount of data being taken in each breach. But what happens to the data once it’s stolen?


“A few pounds per card”


“Credit card data can be purchased from secret “underground” forums often for a few pounds per card,” explains Mark. This is the kind of activity typically associated with the Dark net.

It doesn’t seem like much, considering how significant your credit card is to you, but “the problem [for hackers] will be getting useable data that will stay active long enough for it to be used.”

“Once the cards are purchased they will be used as quickly as possible to get as much money as they can before the card is cancelled.”

Methods for using the cards include “cloning the cards for in store use or just using the details online to have goods delivered to often vacant premises or services received until stopped by the CC operators.”


Defend Yourself


“Protecting our precious details can be as simple as keeping a close eye on the actual card itself, if you have to hand it over at a restaurant make sure it does not leave your sight, always check ATMS for any tampering at all, cover your pin with something if possible.” Mark advises.

After a breach this year Kmart offered credit monitoring to potentially affected customers and with “most banks offering online access to statements it’s relatively easy to take a quick browse of your account on a regular basis (every few days) to look for unusual transactions.”

You need to be “looking for small or odd looking amounts that could alert you to a potential leak, also never give your credit card details out to anyone on the phone unless you are 100% certain of their identity.”

Last but not least “consider different credit cards for different types of shopping, whilst it won’t necessarily stop you from getting your details stolen it won’t cause so much of a problem if only your CC gets cancelled,” as opposed to your debit card.

For more tips about keeping your information safe whilst shopping online, click here.