Updated on
Jan, 17 2024
Maryna Mkrtycheva
Written by
Kendall Coffey
Researched by

Payment Card Fraud

Payment card fraud can be a nightmare for any business or individual. Several crimes are associated with payment cards, payment systems and cash machines. With the current shift to online payments, criminal activities on payment cards are on the rise.

Crimes range from physical attacks on ATMs using explosives to more complex cyber fraud such as black box attacks. It is where unauthorized devices send commands directly to an ATM cash dispenser.

How Payment Card Fraud Occurs

There are several ways that payment card fraud happens. The most common ones include the following;

  • Phishing

It’s the most common method of acquiring personal information. Phishing scams have evolved from the obvious emails promising inheritances to sometimes hard-to-spot emails or texts.

  • Pagejacking

It’s similar to phishing; cyber criminals make fake websites similar to the real ones. But, then, there is the routing of customers to a spoofed site, and if they make payments, there is an exposure of their information to scammers.

  • Data Breaches

Data breaches while making card payments risk exposing the data of millions of customer payments and personal information.

  • Card Testing

It occurs when scammers try many low-value purchases to see if the cards work. When the transactions clear, the scammer makes a larger payment to max out the card.

How to Identify Payment Card Fraud

Payment cards are the most common type of identity theft, and many people fall victim every year. The perfect way to protect yourself against card fraud is to take preventative measures where possible.

Keep card details secure and only enter card details on reputable online stores. Only share card details with sources that you can verify over the phone. You can detect fraud by:

  • Review monthly statements in detail to note any unauthorized transactions.
  • Regularly check your credit report to see if there is anything unfamiliar such as registration of unknown addresses, opening new accounts or credit searches.
  • Review your bills and invoices to ensure you don’t receive correspondence from unfamiliar accounts.

What Happens to Stolen Card Data?

Criminals are experts in payment card fraud. In addition to card theft, they can use various methods to capture data, including card skimming at ATMs and phishing. Unfortunately, most people are usually only aware of card theft once it’s too late. Unfortunately, scammers use their data to create fake cards or use them in Card-Not-Present fraud.

Criminals use the card date to purchase goods or obtain funds from the victim’s account. Also, scammers may sell this data on darknet markets. Unfortunately, in most cases, data is stolen in one country and used elsewhere, making it difficult to trace.

Preventing Payment Card Fraud

Prevention is better than cure, a mantra that holds true in the context of payment card fraud. Following are some measures one can adopt:

  1. Careful Disposal of Personal Information: Individuals should dispose of receipts or any document with sensitive information in a secure manner.
  2. Regular Monitoring of Accounts: Regular monitoring of payment card accounts can help in early detection of fraudulent transactions.
  3. Secure Networks and Websites: Make sure to use secure networks when making transactions online and only purchase from reputable websites.
  4. Two-Factor Authentication: Enabling two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security against card fraud. In many cases, it can prevent unauthorised access to your account.
  5. Secure Payment Technologies: Using encrypted payment technologies or contactless payment options can also be useful in reducing the risk of card skimming or counterfeit card fraud.

How INTERPOL curbs Payment Card Fraud

Law enforcement requires international cooperation to investigate payment card crimes. Since most victims live in different countries from where card theft occurs, INTERPOL capabilities and support come in handy.

INTERPOL cooperates with the European Association for Secure Transactions. Global airport action days is a regular operation that helps to intercept travelers flying in tickets bought with stolen payment cards. It also helps crack down on criminal gangs behind these thefts.

INTERPOL, Europol and other international companies organize the operation. In addition, local police, airlines and payment card companies work around the clock to crack down the criminals.

Final Thoughts

INTERPOL works closely with the police and financial institutions to help curb payment card crime. It’s important that you view your bank statement regularly and also review your bills to check for unfamiliar correspondences.

Maryna Mkrtycheva
Maryna Mkrtycheva
Maryna has extensive and profound legal experience in handling extradition cases, also as representing Clients in the ECHR and in front of the Interpol. Ms. Mkrtycheva is a recognized specialist in International Criminal Law, she has significantly contributed to the EU legislation development related to human rights regulations, also as to the implementation of the relevant EU standards in Eastern European countries.
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