Over 1.5M US Credit and Debit Cards Are Hacked
NordVPN found in its analysis last month that over 4 million payment card details, belonging to users across 140 countries, are being traded on the dark web. Credit card and debit card information is often sold for $6 to $10.
But if you are in the United States, it’s far more likely that your card information could be hacked.
According to the study, a total of 1,561,739 American payment cards were found by independent researchers to be for sale on the dark web. A Neilson report from December found that the US accounts for a disproportionate amount of global card fraud. Based on 2020 numbers, the U.S. accounts for 35.83% of global card fraud even though it accounts for only 22.40% of total card volume. One of the reasons could be the wider use of card-not-present (CNP) transactions.
Card theft also depends on your state. California is on top with a total of 88,802 hacked payment card numbers. Texas comes in second with 74,063 and Florida is third with 62,346. If ordered per capita, then Alabama is the worst with a card hacked for every 223 people. After that is Wyoming with one per 244 and Washington State with one per 249. The safest state to be in is Vermont with one card hacked per 551 residents.
Other Key Findings
Here’s some more interesting information included in the NordVPN analysis:
- An average hacked payment card’s data costs less than $10, and hackers have millions of these ready to sell.
- Visa cards were the most common. It’s followed by Mastercard and then American Express.
- Debit cards were more common than credit cards in the markets the independent researchers surveyed. Hacked debit cards put their victims at greater risk because there tend to be less protections in place for debit.
- The risk index is based on one card per person, so the more cards you have, the more likely it is that one of them could be hacked! This is particularly a problem in the US where there are more cards in circulation per person.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
The more cards you have and the more you use them, the greater the chance of your card information being hacked. One thing everyone can do is do continuously review monthly statement for suspicious activity and check your credit reports. That way you can quickly notice unauthorized transactions or other discpernacies.
Stronger passwords are also a good way to keep your account secure. Multi-Factor Authentication is becoming the minimum standard, so if your bank doesn’t offer it already, demand it or consider switching banks. Also keep an eye out for fraud alerts. Banks will often send out text messages or emails when they detect suspicious activity. These are sometimes annoying when it’s actually you trying to make a purchase, but they’re helpful if your card information has been compromised.
Also make sure not too give out too much information over the phone and watch out for red flags, such as this possible scam for Citi cards.