Stolen European Credit Cards Worth Up To 5 Times US Ones on Black Market
Thursday, 15 August 2013
The Washington Post published an article recently after looking into credit card fraud and the trade of stolen card numbers online, finding that stolen European credit cards are five times more valuable than those from the US – with European card details going for around $50 USD each, and US ones closer to just $10 USD.
Why is this the case, and why are European cards more sought after by fraudsters? Well, the first reason is oversupply of US card details. These have been on the whole far more vulnerable to attacks from hackers on merchants, including the likes of the Nasdaq, J.C. Penney and 7-Eleven, pushing down their worth as there is already such an abundance of US cards available on the black market.
The second is the growing trend in the use of European cards for fraud committed inside the US, where despite the security features of European cards – namely chip-and-PIN, US merchants aren’t setup to validate transactions using these features, making it possible to simply sign for purchases on these cards instead of being forced to provide a PIN.
The ability to sign for chip-and-PIN cards with no questions asked in the US is particularly attractive to fraudsters as many of the European banks delay processing transactions over the weekend, allowing fraudsters to complete transactions with certain banks before they’ve had a chance to scrutinise such transactions. This allows fraudsters to go on weekend shopping sprees without their purchases being noticed or the card declined until it is too late.
So if you’re a European credit cardholder it has never been more important to take all the proper precautions with your cards, especially when travelling abroad, such as by using a travel prepaid card instead of taking your main credit and debit cards away with you. With the increased value of your cards to fraudsters, coupled with the relative ease at which they can be passed onto the black market and used outside of countries that use chip-and-PIN, has made stealing your cards more attractive and far more vulnerable than ever before.
For more information and advice on keeping your money safe whilst you're abroad take a look at our travel money safety guide infographic.