The Boston area has witnessed a spurt of credit card number fraud. The physical card is not stolen. Instead the credit card number is obtained by fraudulent means. The thieves then use a duplicate physical card having the same number as the original card to make purchases. These purchases range from small amounts like buying groceries to considerable sums of money like buying high end televisions and other home appliances. Many fraudsters check into expensive hotels as well.
When the customer is alert and notices the fraudulent purchases on time, he or she informs the bank and the money is refunded. The card is also canceled to prevent further illegal purchases. These fraud not only affect the customer, but also retailers and store owners as well. Many small store owners are asking card holding customers to show proper identification while using credit cards. This step, does not deter every kind of fraud. To give an example, the criminal have not only copied the credit card number, but also the ID card of the victim as well.
Steven Blair, a veteran of the Boston Police force and a detective, said that the incidence of fraud has increased in recent months as criminals are operating fast to make a quick buck prior to full scale introduction of the technology comprising security chip cards. The detective said that time is ending fast and the criminals have also upped their ante. The older cards are the easiest to take advantage of and many criminals want to buy expensive gadgets with them.
According to Detective Blair, stolen credit numbers are available cheaply in the black market, often as low as 25 cents per card. The criminal then uses software and simple swipe to program the new number on the magnetic strip of the card. He showed a few media persons a few of the ways the criminals obtain the credit card number of consumers. There are devices which are positioned camouflaged over the ATM machines and skimming machines concealed within gas pumps. Some corrupt employees also use small devices and conceal them when a customer pays the bill.
A few customers are also wising up. They change their credit card numbers which are stored in a number of different websites. Card details are kept for making monthly automatic payments. The police have recommended that customers shield their hands when typing in PIN numbers.