What is a Credit Card Dump?
That black strip on the back of your credit card holds a lot of information about your credit card account. A credit card dump is stolen electronic copy of that information. Criminals use the credit card dump to create clones of your credit card and use them to make unauthorized credit card transactions. Or, they may sell copies of this information on the internet to other criminals seeking to make fraudulent charges.
How Criminals Get Credit Card Dumps
The magnetic strip contains three strips or tracks of information. The first track contains the credit card number, the credit cardholder’s name, and the credit card’s expiration date. The second track contains the credit card number and the expiration date. The third track contains information about customer loyalty programs.
Criminals often obtain credit card dumps through credit card skimmers. Skimming devices can be installed onto existing credit card swipe machines, like those on ATMs or gas station pumps. When a customer swipes their credit card through the skimming device, the device captures the information held on the credit card’s magnetic strips. Credit card dumps can also be obtained by hacking a merchant’s credit card car machines or by installing spyware on their machines.
Stolen credit card information isn’t as expensive as you might think. A Forbes.com story in 2012 reports a 19-year-old kid who exchanged 15 credit card dumps for a DSLR camera and $250 in cash. The cash paid for 10 of the dumps works out to about $25 each. It’s a small price considering the amount of damage a thief could do with a credit card before the credit card issuer or the cardholder notices.
Is Your Information in a Credit Card Dump?
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know if your information has been compromised in a credit card dump unless it’s been used. These dumps are sold on the internet, dark web, and online forums usually via wire transfer or even via cryptocurrency. These payment methods are hard for authorities to trace.
Because it’s hard to know if your information has sold via credit card dump, you should monitor your credit card statements closely and check your online account often to spot any unauthorized credit card charges. If your credit card issuer offers balance notification alerts, these could tip you off to any unauthorized user of your credit card. You’d receive a text, email, or smartphone notification if your balance increases by a certain amount. That would be your clue to check your credit card account for any unauthorized transactions on your account.
If you see charges you didn’t make, contact your credit card issuer immediately to have the charges investigated. Your credit card issuer can replace your credit card if your information has been compromised in a credit card dump. Fortunately, you won’t be held liable for unauthorized charges made using your credit card number as your credit card is still in your possession.
Fortunately credit card issuers are getting more sophisticated at detecting fraudulent purchases.They may decline transactions that don’t fit your normal purchasing habits and contact you via text or phone call to determine whether you actually tried to make the purchase. While it may be a nuisance when you’re trying to make a legitimate transaction, it helps if a criminal is trying to use your information obtained in a credit card dump.
How to Protect Yourself
These days, just having and using your credit card puts you at risk of having your credit card information stolen. Credit card thieves operate in large networks to steal cardholder information.
EMV chip credit cards are one of the ways the credit card industry has worked to combat stolen credit card information. When you use the chip, your credit card information is encrypted and is far less susceptible to hacking. Your credit card information is still held on the magnetic strip it’s still at risk anytime you swipe your credit card at places that don’t have chip readers installed or enabled.
The best way to protect yourself from having your information stolen for a credit card dump is to be careful where you use your credit card. Because skimming devices are commonly placed on ATMs and skimming devices, be sure you check these especially before inserting your credit card. If something looks out of the ordinary with the credit card swipe machine, don’t use it.