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Online estate agent drops all charges and offers to sell properties without any fee Sell your home for nothing! Amazon agreed refund for two recliner chairs picked up by a courier in March - but I still haven't received my money back! Home Top Share. Although incidences of credit card fraud are limited to about 0. In , out of 12 billion transactions made annually, approximately 10 million—or one out of every transactions—turned out to be fraudulent.

Even with tremendous volume and value increase in credit card transactions since then, these proportions have stayed the same or have decreased due to sophisticated fraud detection and prevention systems. Today's fraud detection systems are designed to prevent one-twelfth of one percent of all transactions processed which still translates into billions of dollars in losses.

In the decade to , general credit card losses have been 7 basis points or lower i.

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Card fraud begins either with the theft of the physical card or with the compromise of data associated with the account, including the card account number or other information that would routinely and necessarily be available to a merchant during a legitimate transaction. The compromise can occur by many common routes and can usually be conducted without tipping off the cardholder, the merchant, or the issuer at least until the account is ultimately used for fraud. A simple example is that of a store clerk copying sales receipts for later use. The rapid growth of credit card use on the Internet has made database security lapses particularly costly; in some cases, millions [6] of accounts have been compromised.

Stolen cards can be reported quickly by cardholders, but a compromised account can be hoarded by a thief for weeks or months before any fraudulent use, making it difficult to identify the source of the compromise. The cardholder may not discover fraudulent use until receiving a billing statement, which may be delivered infrequently. Cardholders can mitigate this fraud risk by checking their account frequently to ensure constant awareness in case there are any suspicious, unknown transactions or activities.

When a credit card is lost or stolen, it may be used for illegal purchases until the holder notifies the issuing bank and the bank puts a block on the account. Most banks have free hour telephone numbers to encourage prompt reporting. Still, it is possible for a thief to make unauthorized purchases on a card before the card is canceled.

Without other security measures, a thief could potentially purchase thousands of dollars in merchandise or services before the cardholder or the card issuer realizes that the card has been compromised.


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The only common security measure on all cards is a signature panel, but, depending on its exact design, a signature may be relatively easy to forge. Some merchants will demand to see a picture ID, such as a driver's license, to verify the identity of the purchaser, and some credit cards include the holder's picture on the card itself. In some jurisdictions, it is illegal for merchants to demand cardholder identification. A common countermeasure is to require the user to key in some identifying information, such as the user's ZIP or postal code. This method may deter casual theft of a card found alone, but if the card holder's wallet is stolen, it may be trivial for the thief to deduce the information by looking at other items in the wallet.

For instance, a U. Visa Inc. In Europe and Canada, most cards are equipped with an EMV chip which requires a 4 to 6 digit PIN to be entered into the merchant's terminal before payment will be authorized. However, a PIN isn't required for online transactions and is often not required for transactions using the magnetic strip.

Many self-service machines e. Requiring a customer's ZIP code is illegal in California, where the state's law prohibits merchants from requesting or requiring a cardholder's "personal identification information" as a condition of accepting the card for payment. The California Supreme Court has ruled that the ZIP code qualifies as personal identification information because it is part of the cardholder's address. Card issuers have several countermeasures, including sophisticated software that can, prior to an authorized transaction, estimate the probability of fraud.

For example, a large transaction occurring a great distance from the cardholder's home might seem suspicious. The merchant may be instructed to call the card issuer for verification or to decline the transaction, or even to hold the card and refuse to return it to the customer. The customer must contact the issuer and prove who they are to get their card back if it is not fraud and they are actually buying a product.


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  • In some countries, a credit card holder can make a contactless payment for goods or services by tapping their credit or debit card against a RFID or NFC reader without the need for a PIN or signature if the total price falls under a pre-determined floor limit for example, in Australia this limit is currently at AUD. A stolen credit or debit card could be used for a significant number of these transactions before the true owner can have the account canceled. Card information is stored in a number of formats. Card numbers — formally the Primary Account Number PAN — are often embossed or imprinted on the card, and a magnetic stripe on the back contains the data in machine-readable format.

    Fields can vary, but the most common include:. The mail and the Internet are major routes for fraud against merchants who sell and ship products and affect legitimate mail-order and Internet merchants. If the card is not physically present called CNP, card not present the merchant must rely on the holder or someone purporting to be so presenting the information indirectly, whether by mail, telephone or over the Internet. The credit card holder can be tracked by mail or phone. While there are safeguards to this, [9] it is still more risky than presenting in person, and indeed card issuers tend to charge a greater transaction rate for CNP, because of the greater risk.

    It is difficult for a merchant to verify that the actual cardholder is indeed authorizing the purchase.

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    Shipping companies can guarantee delivery to a location, but they are not required to check identification and they are usually not involved in processing payments for the merchandise. A common recent preventive measure for merchants is to allow shipment only to an address approved by the cardholder, and merchant banking systems offer simple methods of verifying this information.

    Before this and similar countermeasures were introduced, mail order carding was rampant as early as Small transactions generally undergo less scrutiny and are less likely to be investigated by either the card issuer or the merchant. CNP merchants must take extra precaution against fraud exposure and associated losses, and they pay higher rates for the privilege of accepting cards. Fraudsters bet on the fact that many fraud prevention features are not used for small transactions. Merchant associations have developed some prevention measures, such as single-use card numbers, but these have not met with much success.

    Customers expect to be able to use their credit card without any hassles and have little incentive to pursue additional security due to laws limiting customer liability in the event of fraud. Merchants can implement these prevention measures but risk losing business if the customer chooses not to use them. Application fraud takes place when a person uses stolen or fake documents to open an account in another person's name.

    Criminals may steal documents such as utility bills and bank statements to build up useful personal information. Alternatively, they may create fake documents. With this information, they could open a credit card account or Ioan account in the victim's name, and then fully draw it. An account takeover occurs when criminals pose as a genuine customer, gain control of an account and then makes unauthorized transactions.

    According to Action Fraud, [11] fraud is committed at the point money is lost. Control at the account level offers better long-term returns for fraudsters but can be extremely harmful to the rightful account owners. The most prominent types of account takeovers deal with credit card fraud. As opposed to stealing credit card numbers which can be changed after the user reports it lost or stolen, fraudsters prefer account takeover to maximize their return on investment. This individual then intercepts communication about the account to keep the victim blind to any threats.

    Victims are often the first to detect account takeover when they discover charges on monthly statements they did not authorize or multiple questionable withdrawals [14]. Recently there has been an increase in the number of account takeovers since the adoption of EMV technology, which makes it more difficult for fraudsters to clone physical credit cards [15]. Among some of the most common methods by which a fraudster will commit an account takeover include brute force botnet attacks, phishing, and malware.

    Other methods include dumpster diving to find personal information in discarded mail, and outright buying lists of 'Fullz,' a slang term for full packages of identifying information sold on the black market. Skimming is the crime of getting private information about somebody else's credit card used in an otherwise normal transaction.

    The thief can procure a victim's card number using basic methods such as photocopying receipts or more advanced methods such as using a small electronic device skimmer to swipe and store hundreds of victims' card numbers. Common scenarios for skimming are restaurants or bars where the skimmer has possession of the victim's payment card out of their immediate view. Call centers are another area where skimming can easily occur. This device allows a thief to capture a customer's card information, including their PIN, with each card swipe. Instances of skimming have been reported where the perpetrator has put over the card slot of an ATM automated teller machine a device that reads the magnetic strip as the user unknowingly passes their card through it.

    The device or group of devices illicitly installed on an ATM are also colloquially known as a "skimmer". Recently made ATMs now often run a picture of what the slot and keypad are supposed to look like as a background so that consumers can identify foreign devices attached. Skimming is difficult for the typical cardholder to detect, but given a large enough sample, it is fairly easy for the card issuer to detect. The issuer collects a list of all the cardholders who have complained about fraudulent transactions, and then uses data mining to discover relationships among them and the merchants they use.

    For example, if many of the cardholders use a particular merchant, that merchant can be directly investigated. Sophisticated algorithms can also search for patterns of fraud.

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    Merchants must ensure the physical security of their terminals, and penalties for merchants can be severe if they are compromised, ranging from large fines by the issuer to complete exclusion from the system, which can be a death blow to businesses such as restaurants where credit card transactions are the norm. Checker is a term used for a process to verify the validity of stolen card data. If the card is processed successfully, the thief knows that the card is still good.

    The specific item purchased is immaterial, and the thief does not need to purchase an actual product; a website subscription or charitable donation would be sufficient. The purchase is usually for a small monetary amount, both to avoid using the card's credit limit, and also to avoid attracting the card issuer's attention. A website known to be susceptible to carding is known as a cardable website.

    In the past, carders used computer programs called "generators" to produce a sequence of credit card numbers, and then test them to see which were valid accounts. Another variation would be to take false card numbers to a location that does not immediately process card numbers, such as a trade show or special event. A set of credit card details that have been verified in this way is known in fraud circles as a phish. A carder will typically sell data files of the phish to other individuals who will carry out the actual fraud.

    Where an issuer does not use random generation of the card number, it is possible for an attacker to obtain one good card number and generate valid card numbers. Scammers may use a variety of schemes to lure victims into giving them their card information through tricks such as websites pretending to be of a bank or payment system. Telephone phishing can also be employed, in which a call center is set up to pretend to be associated with a banking organization. Some promotional offers include active balance transfer checks which may be tied directly to a credit card account. These are often sent unsolicited and may occur as often as once per month by some financial institutions.

    In cases where checks are stolen from a victim's mailbox, they can be used at a point of sales location thereby leaving the victim responsible for the losses. They are one path at times used by fraudsters. When a cardholder buys something from a vendor and expects the card to be charged only once, a vendor may charge the card a small amount multiple times at infrequent intervals such as monthly or annually until the card expires.


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    The vendor may state in the fine print that the customer is now a "member" and the membership will be renewed periodically unless the cardholder notifies the vendor in accordance with a cancellation procedure in the "membership agreement" which the cardholder agreed to when they made the initial purchase. Because the periodic charges are unexpected, infrequent, and small, most cardholders will not notice the charges. If a cardholder complains to the bank that the charges were unauthorized, the bank will notify the vendor of the disputed charges and the vendor will respond that the cardholder never canceled the "membership" which the cardholder agreed to.

    Since most card holders have no idea what the cancellation procedure is and the vendor will reveal it only to new customers, the bank will not reverse the charges, but instead will offer to cancel the credit card and reissue it with a different account number or expiration date. Unexpected repeat billing is in a gray area of the law, depending on whether the customer legitimately agreed to the charges.

    Online bill paying or internet purchases utilizing a bank account are a source for repeat billing known as "recurring bank charges". These are standing orders or banker's orders from a customer to honor and pay a certain amount every month to the payee. While many payments or purchases are valid, and the customer has intentions to pay the bill monthly, some are known as Rogue Automatic Payments. Another type of credit card fraud targets utility customers.

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    Customers receive unsolicited in-person, telephone, or electronic communication from individuals claiming to be representatives of utility companies. The scammers alert customers that their utilities will be disconnected unless an immediate payment is made, usually involving the use of a reloadable debit card to receive payment. Sometimes the scammers use authentic-looking phone numbers and graphics to deceive victims. The Department of Justice has announced in September that it will seek to impose a tougher law to combat overseas credit card trafficking.

    Authorities say the current statute is too weak because it allows people in other countries to avoid prosecution if they stay outside the United States when buying and selling the data and don't pass their illicit business through the U. The Department of Justice asks Congress to amend the current law that would make it illegal for an international criminal to possess, buy or sell a stolen credit card issued by a U.

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    If the physical card is not lost or stolen, but rather just the credit card account number itself is stolen, then Federal Law guarantees cardholders have zero liability to the credit card issuer. The merchants and the financial institutions bear the loss. If the financial institution does not have a charge-back right then the financial institution bears the loss and the merchant does not suffer at all.