Complete guide of Credit Card Fraud and Cybercrime

Credit card theft illustration

Credit card fraud can happen in two different ways nowadays. The first one is the traditional way of physically stealing someone’s card and using it to make purchases. However, this method has declined in recent years because of the introduction of Mastercard, Europay, and Visa (EMV) chips.

Today, credit card fraud happens more without physical credit cards. The current method of stealing from credit cards is best described as a form of cybercrime. This article will take a more in-depth look at credit card fraud and its connection to cybercrimes.

Read on to find out more.

Understanding Credit Fraud and Cybercrime

Credit fraud is best described as using someone’s credit card to obtain their money fraudulently. As mentioned earlier, it can involve stealing a physical card or just their personal information. Once a criminal accesses either of these, they can buy assets or steal money using several techniques.

On the other hand, cybercrime is any crime that is orchestrated online. Credit card fraud that starts online, for example, on a social media platform, qualifies to be a cybercrime. It can also begin with criminals hacking into a company’s customer database and obtaining important customer credit card details.

The internet has significantly increased the threat landscape of both individuals and businesses. It has also provided cybercriminals with new ways of targeting customer information. Instead of targeting a single credit card, attackers can steal thousands of customer credit card information.

Customers and companies have roles to play in preventing cybercrime, especially credit card fraud. As a customer, you should protect your personal information from prying eyes. Companies should also invest in online security systems and have a fraud detection and prevention plan in place.

These efforts can help prevent identity theft and financial losses that result from credit card fraud. This is especially true now that research shows that credit card fraud is the most significant source of identity theft. Taking these steps will help mitigate the threat that credit card fraud poses to businesses and customers.

How Cybercriminals Steal Credit Card Information

Understanding the techniques used by cybercriminals to steal credit card information is vital. It will help you come up with ways to mitigate the risks and stay safe online. Cybercriminals use the six main methods we’ll discuss below to steal customers’ credit card information. 

Let’s check them out.

  1. Data Breaches

Data breaches have been rising in recent years with no signs of slowing down. Most of them have involved the hacking of systems that store credit card information. Credit bureaus are among companies at a high risk of credit card fraud because they hold massive customer data.

These bureaus and other companies that handle credit card information need to invest in cybersecurity. For instance, they can freeze credit cards and reports for their customers immediately they detect a breach. Customers, too, can contribute to safety by being vigilant of their credit card activity.

  1. Phishing

Phishing through websites, emails, phone calls, etc., is possible in today’s digital environment. Cybercriminals can impersonate your card issuer or another trusted institution to try and steal your data. For instance, a caller can pretend to represent your card issuer looking to verify your details.

If you fall prey, your credit card information could be used to get a new card within a short time. You will then end up losing a lot of money to the criminals. Therefore, it’ll be best to be careful with the emails, calls, and messages you receive. Also, call your card issuer on their official numbers to report incidents. 

  1. Your Trash

Trash may not be helpful to you, but the reality is that it can be invaluable to credit fraud criminals. This old-fashioned hacking trick is still used for credit fraud even though it rarely happens. A criminal can dig for sensitive information from past statements and other paperwork disposed of in your trash bin.

They can then use this sensitive information to their advantage and steal from you. The best way to prevent this from happening is by avoiding the paperwork. For instance, you can sign up to receive e-statements by email. If you must receive statements in hardcopy, shred them before disposing of them as trash.

  1. Skimming

Credit card fraud can also happen through skimming, a popular offline method used by hackers. Most credit card fraud done through skimming occurs in places with card readers like gas stations. Criminals interfere with the machines and add skimming devices that help them gather credit card information.

Others use radio frequency identification technology to read credit card information remotely from personal devices. The best thing is to check card readers and confirm that they’re not tampered with by criminals. You also should ensure that the card issuer has invested in good encryption to prevent RFID skimming.

  1. Public Wi-Fi

Cybercriminals lurk everywhere on the internet, including on unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Connecting to Wi-Fi networks in public places like hotels, airports, etc., can expose you to credit card fraud. You should limit the use of public Wi-Fi to other things and not accessing sensitive online information.

You should also consider using security tools like VPNs if you must use public Wi-Fi. These tools will keep you anonymous and reduce the risks you’ll be exposed to online. Otherwise, stick to using private internet provided by service providers.

  1. Malware

Another thing you must avoid is downloading malicious software to your device. Cybercriminals can send you links to malicious software that downloads in the background once you click on the link. The software contains a keylogger that scans sensitive information and sends it to the hacker.

The best way to prevent this is to avoid accessing malicious websites. Verify the legibility of the source of software before downloading it to your device. In addition, investing in malware detection software can help prevent credit card fraud.


Credit card fraud and cybercrime have increased in recent times. Knowledge can be one of the most effective tools in your arsenal that can save you from credit card fraud and cybercrime. 

Being able to identify techniques that cybercriminals use for credit card fraud can be helpful. This article has explored everything you need to know about credit card fraud and how to prevent it.