What actually happens when your credit cards get stolen? The BBB has the answer

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We`ve all heard the warnings about credit card fraud, and some of us have been greatly affected by having our information comprised. But what actually happens to your credit card information when it lands in the wrong hands? ABC News recently investigated what actually happens to your information, how it`s traded, and what you can do to stop fraud in its tracks.

Where the Stolen Information Goes

  • Stolen credit card information is added to a stock.
  • Other criminals buy a collection of card numbers on a credit card buying hosting site.
  • The criminals can choose either to keep these cards or sell them again.
  • If a criminal wishes to use the information at actual stores, technology exists where they can print a version of the card.
  • Criminals make fraudulent purchases of items they can resell.

How Cards are Priced

  •  Criminals will make small purchases on the card to see if it hasn`t been deactivated yet.
  • Additional information, like SSN, date of birth, and maiden name, that are attached to the card make the card more valuable.
  • The most valuable cards are the ones where the seller can provide a type of purchasing history of the card. So if the card that is stolen is often used for food store purchases in the Northeast, the buyer of this card can mimic these spending habits so that the victim or bank might miss catching these charges.

How To Protect Yourself

Keep checking your statements (both bank and credit card) regularly, as you can`t always rely on the bank to catch every stray purchase. If you see something suspicious, spring into action to reverse the damage immediately by reporting the fraud to your financial institution and closing the card. There is also the risk of your social security number being stolen, so check your statements to see if any unfamiliar accounts are linked that might have been made with your social security number.

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