Saturday, April 21, 2007

Offline Credit Card Theft

This story just broke about two hours ago on the AP wire about a ring of credit card thieves indicted yesterday in New York.

Now, there's nothing unusual about credit card thieves, and there's nothing special or innovative about this particular card ring. But that's just my point. The bulk of credit card theft, or any type of identity theft, for that matter, continues to be offline -- not online. Thieves are using the same old tactics they've always used: dumpster diving, going through medical records or just plain stealing card numbers directly from shoppers and diners, as in this case.

While I'm on my soapbox about the subject, I want to make clear that credit card theft is fraud plain and simple. It's not identity theft. The media seems to confuse the two. Full blown identity theft is stealing someone's entire financial identity and opening up lines of credit in their name. The identity theft not only can go on a shopping spree but can buy a car or a house under the victim's name.

This doesn't minimize the growth of online fraud and theft. But that's still mainly through social engineering tactics like phishing and keystroke loggin Trojans. These crimes are increasing but the still still remains breaches of physical security like the AP reported today.


Anonymous CreditHolder said...

The fact of card numbers theft for me is much worse than theft of credit card itself. Because if someone steal your credit card, you can see. If your data was stolen, you can't. When suddenly you realize this theft, it can be too late to inform your bank and prevent deplorable consequences.

1:43 AM  

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