Credit cards are everywhere; not only do most people have one, but many have several. Unfortunately, some individuals are looking to steal your credit card information and use it for their benefit.
What Is a Credit Card Dump?
A credit card dump is when someone makes an illegal and unauthorized digital copy of a credit card. Credit card dumps have existed for many years. However, they're becoming increasingly popular and more widely used due to the increase in identity theft, credit card theft, credit card forgeries, and other cybercrimes.
Credit card dumps happen when thieves physically copy your credit card information or hack into company payment databases that contain that information. Skimming is the most common method used to accomplish this. Skimming uses an illegal card reader to save a customer's credit card information. Someone could place it on a real ATM or a card reader, like the ones you see at a gas station.
Most recently, credit card dump attacks have been happening on a larger scale, sometimes affecting millions. Criminals will target a company's computer database containing credit card data and copy all the information. Once they finish the process, the thieves will often sell that information to buyers on the black market or use it for personal gain.
Protecting Yourself From Credit Card Dumps
Nobody wants to be a victim of a credit card dump, but how can you protect yourself? Credit cards typically offer security features like a PIN or security chips to make theft more difficult. However, hackers have still made their way to stealing credit card information. Unfortunately, as consumers, there is not much we can do to prevent it from happening. Credit card information will remain vulnerable when we use our credit cards to make purchases at companies.
However, that doesn't mean there's nothing we can do. We'll go over some easy ways to lower your risk of getting targeted for a credit card dump:
- Only use secure websites when making online purchases. Your credit card information should otherwise remain private and not be shared online with anyone, including text and social media.
- Keep your credit card in a secure location.
- Whenever you're out in public, ensure that you always have your card with or close to you. For example, if you need to use the restroom while you wait for your waiter to pick up your card to charge you, anyone could walk up and quickly write down your information.
- Look for skimming tools or other suspicious objects in and around ATMs and gas pumps.
- Regularly review your credit card statements. You'll be able to look out for suspicious or unauthorized credit card use.
What If I'm Compromised?
If you believe someone has stolen your credit card information, immediately contact your credit card company. You'll be able to cancel your card and review any unauthorized charges. In addition, most credit card companies will not charge you for unauthorized purchases as they have a "zero liability" policy.
Once your card is canceled and the statement reviewed, the next step is to go to IdentityTheft.gov. This website, run by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), will help you report and recover from your credit card fraud.
Unfortunately, credit card dumps are becoming a common occurrence. Without checking for it, you can't be sure that a gas pump or ATM doesn't have a skimming device. In addition, no company is entirely immune from hackers stealing information. And although there is not much to be done as a consumer, there are ways to help secure your purchases so you won't become a victim.