What is a credit card dump?
A credit card dump is a type of crime in which the criminal makes an unauthorized digital copy of a credit card. This type of crime has been around for decades, but has seen greater public awareness in recent years due to the growing prevalence of credit card forgery, identity theft, and other types of cybercrime.
Key points to remember
- A credit card dump is a type of crime in which credit card information is stolen from customers and made available to potential buyers.
- Thieves do this either by physically copying the card data or by hacking into the payment network of the companies in question.
- In recent years, criminals have undertaken increasingly large credit card drain attacks, sometimes claiming millions of victims.
How credit card dumps work
A credit card drain can happen in several ways. A common method is skimming, in which an illegal card reader, sometimes hidden in a legitimate automated teller machine (ATM) or gas station pump, copies data from a credit card. In other cases, cybercriminals are able to obtain a large number of card numbers at once, compromising companies’ computer systems that process customers’ credit card information. For example, criminals can gain access to thousands of retail customers’ credit card numbers by infecting the point-of-sale (POS) devices of a large retail chain.
While measures such as personal information numbers (PINs) and security chips can help make this theft more difficult, hackers continue to find new ways to exploit weaknesses in the electronic payment system to capture valuable credit card information. To profit from this theft, cybercriminals resell credit card information on the black market. Alternatively, the hackers could also use the information themselves in order to make unauthorized online purchases using stolen credit cards.
Credit card charge protection
Ultimately, consumers have limited means to protect themselves against the risk of cybercrime. After all, even the most cautious people could fall victim to credit card theft if hackers manage to compromise the systems of the companies where they shop. Nevertheless, there are steps individuals can take to reduce some of their risk. These include refraining from sharing their credit card information with others, keeping their credit cards handy in public places, checking for suspicious objects on or around ATMs ticket machines, gas pumps and POS machines; and regularly reviewing their credit card statements for any unknown transactions.
Examples of credit card dumps
Unfortunately, there is no shortage of examples in which hackers have managed to compromise large amounts of credit card data from unsuspecting customers. Here are some examples :
Capital One, the fifth-largest credit card issuer in the United States, revealed in July 2019 that a hacker had accessed the personal information of approximately 106 million customers and applicants in the United States and Canada. The information accessed included very personal details about consumers and small businesses, including names, social security numbers, incomes and dates of birth at the time they applied for one of many credit card products from 2005 to early 2019. To date, the Capital One hack is the second largest data dump of all time.
Data dumps aren’t just happening in America. In May 2019, for example, popular Australian graphic design website, Canva, was hacked by hackers, with nearly 140 million user accounts compromised. In addition to personal information such as names, usernames, and email addresses, hackers also managed to gain access to users’ credit card information.
Another notable incident occurred in October 2013, when Adobe (ADBE) lost nearly 3 million customer credit card records in a large-scale hacker attack. The breach was part of a larger effort in which the data of more than 150 million users was also stolen. The company eventually reached a settlement of approximately $1 million with its customers over the incident.
What’s been the biggest credit card dump to date?
In terms of the number of customers exposed, the biggest credit card dump to date was an Equifax credit bureau hack in September 2017, which exposed the personal data of more than 147 million customers, including details. of the credit card.
What was the first credit card dump?
Card theft, scams, and the black market for personal ID cards have existed since the advent of credit cards in the 1960s and 1970s. The first large-scale credit card dump, however, is often attributed to the year 1984, when the New York Times reported that the password of a leading credit union, TRW, had been stolen from a Sears store on the West Coast. This password unlocked the credit history and personal information of many Sears customers which would then be used to obtain their credit card numbers.
How can I avoid being the victim of a credit card drain?
Unfortunately, since credit card dumps involve security vulnerabilities in the companies you may be purchasing from, the theft of your card numbers may be beyond your control. If you become aware of a breach, contact your credit card issuer immediately to freeze your account and cancel and replace your cards.
Another more recent innovation is the use of virtual credit card numbers. Many banks and card companies today allow you to generate a temporary credit card number online that can be used for online purchases. However, this number cannot be reused for subsequent purchases.