Credit Card Information for Sale

Who's Bidding on Your Credit Card Information?

It used to be that the people who stole your credit card information were the people who used the information to commit identity theft. That's no longer the case. Nowadays, organized crime groups are getting involved in the credit card game and are stealing people's credit card information and then putting it up for sale online. Want to know how and for how much? We have the details.

Two Sets of Criminals

Nowadays credit card theft often involves two sets of criminals. The criminals who have stolen the credit card information and the criminals who are now buying that credit card information in order to use it for illegal purposes. What used to be a straightforward crime is now becoming much more involved and convoluted. So how do the criminals sell the credit card information and where do the other criminals buy it? You might be surprised.

Chat Room Sales

Believe it or not, the sale of someone's credit card information isn't occurring in some secretive back alley or in the back room of an illegal gambling joint, it's happening right out in the open in online chat rooms. While the chat rooms change from one location to another, the activities are always the same -- people are present buying and selling stolen credit card information.

So How Much is Your Credit Card Information Worth?

Believe it or not, people may be able to purchase access to your name and credit card number for just a measly $1. If the criminal purchasing the information wants other details, the cost goes up. A credit card number along with a three-digit code will go for about $5 and a credit card number, name, address, three-digit code and pin number will go for a whopping $100 or more.

You Can Protect Yourself

Now it may be disheartening to know that there are actually online sales of credit card numbers occurring on a regular basis. However, you can protect yourself from this type of identity theft by using one-time-use credit card numbers when you make online purchases.

This way, if your credit card information falls into the wrong hands and does become available for sale online, the criminal purchasing the information is simply purchasing a one-time-use credit card number that is no longer valid.

Comments

I would recommend using Private Disk (http://www.dekart.com) - besides creating encrypted disk it will also protect the data when you are online - by setting up the white list of allowed applications - thus protecting data from viruses and spyware.

I am amazed at how easy it is for a thief to get all my important data. Also, I am a novice with computers. I'll be very interest in what and how I can lessen these threats to us older folks who need every dime we can get and hang on to.

Other ways to protect yourself:

Tell your credit card company how high you want your credit limit. More isn't always better. The less you have to steal, the less crooks can get away with.
Have your limit only as high as absolutely necessary. If you have a lot of unused credit, this will make it harder to get a loan as lenders consider it dangerous to loan money to you if you might use up the extra money after they grant you credit.

Ask to have a password put on your credit card account that HAS to be asked for before a change of address or any other changes can be made.

Call your credit card issuer before you go out of town. Let them know you if you will be using it for charges other than the normal ones. Some card providers will freeze the account if they see unusual charges. The last time I traveled I told them I would be charging my plane fare, hotel room, and might be buying a computer, etc and to note this to my account. I did this from my home telephone before I left. They thanked me for telling them. The issuer has this telephone number on file (as well as caller I.D.), so they know it is you calling.

When traveling do NOT let your credit card out of your site. Put a copy of the card number and phone in a separate place in case it gets lost and you need to cancel it. Some servers in restaurants, dept stores, etc have hand held "skimmers" that capture the information on the card. Then they can make a new card with all your info on it. Watch them (go with them) when they scan the card. Don't let them take it out of your site. Make sure you get the carbon copies of receipts too. Try to pay cash when buying gas as some gas stations are known for charging twice for gas. Don't use ATM's in unusual places as people plant skimmers on these that can capture info. Go to an actual bank. If the ATM is acting unusual, call the police/bank and use another one. http://www.bankrate.com/dls/news/atm/20021004a.asp

Use virtual credit card numbers whenever possible. If you use a paper check to mail in your credit card payment, only put your first initial on the check as most checks are no longer returned to your bank. God knows who has access to these, but if they (thief) can't figure out what the first name is (I have an intelligible signature), this also makes it harder to steal information. Try to use a P.O. Box for your address. The post office will not allow a change of address without I.D..

When making a payment with a check, don't put your entire credit card number on the check like they tell you to do on the envelope flap. I only put the last four digits of the card number on my check. The slip has all the information they need to process the payment. Here is a good article about ID Theft Insiders
http://komonews.com/news/story.asp?ID=40365

When paying your taxes, IGNORE WHEN THEY TELL YOU TO PUT YOUR ENTIRE SS# on the check. It is ridiculous that the government would tell you to do this. Especially considering that the FTC has said that I.D. theft was the number #1 crime in the U.S. for the PAST 6 YEARS.

Last but not least, contact your Senators and Congressman and DEMAND the right to be able to put a FREEZE (not a fraud alert) on your credit reports AT NO CHARGE. The credit bureaus should NEVER have been allowed to profit from selling your information to strangers WITHOUT your permission. THIS is how I.D. theft occurs. The data brokers make BILLIONS of dollars a year, yet are NEVER held liable for the damage that is done to your life when they sell your information to a thief. THIS IS WRONG. The data brokers donate lots of money to political campaigns. This is why they are getting away with this.

Until Americans are able to control their information, we will always be vulnerable to I.D. theft.

I am the "poster boy" for identity theft. I shred everything, in law enforcement, trust no one, etc.

IT HAPPENED TO ME. I don't know how they got ALL OF MY PERSONAL INFORMATION, including Mother's Maiden Name. 15 attempts to open accounts done over the holiday weekend.

Biggest advise I can give is sign up for a credit monitoring service. The monthly cost is worth it!!!!

IT IS NOT A MATTER OF WHO WILL BE A VICTIM IT IS A MATTER OF WHEN IT WILL HAPPEN TO YOU.

Is there any way that a person with really bad credit and no credit cards can be hurt by identity theft? It would seem to me funny for a crook to steal this persons identity!

Very good reading. Peace until next time.
WaltDe

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