Just What Exactly Are People Buying With Stolen Credit Card Numbers?

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Dec 14, 2016
Internet Crime

What are people buying with stolen credit card numbers?
The answer is jewelry, luxury goods, electronics and gift cards. But that's not the end of the story. As cyber crime evolves, stolen credit card numbers are only the first part of a cycle aimed at stealing even more credit card numbers in order to buy even more pricey goods, according to CNBC.

Citing an analysis of 3 million transactions between September and November this year conducted by an e-commerce fraud prevention and detection firm, CNBC describes a sort of triangular trade process that only starts with the stolen credit card. Basically, the cyber criminal, whether through phishing or straight up hacking, steals someone's credit or debit card number. Next, they go shopping: diamond necklaces, Kate Spade bags, Fitbit watches, laptop computers and more all go into the cart. But they didn't buy these things for themselves. After acquiring their ill-gotten goods, they then turn around and sell them at reasonable discounts online (people become suspicious of very deep discounts, according to CNBC), the e-commerce version of how a burglar would peddle purloined goods from the back of a van. This, in turn, provides them with even more credit card numbers from their buyers, and the whole cycle begins anew. 

CNBC said this underscores the importance of buying from sites you already know and trust. While these sites can be hacked, and have been in the past, they're not specifically designed to steal your credit card number which, in an age where everyone's data seems to be leaking like a sieve nowadays, surely counts for something. 

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