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1.5M US bank cards have been hacked: NordVPN

·3 min read
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Over 1.5 million US bank cards can be found on the dark web, a recent study from cybersecurity company NordVPN found.

According to the study, a total of 1,561,739 American payment card details were found by independent researchers to be for sale on the dark web. Additionally, the average price for an American card on the dark web was $5.80.

“The exact amount [of card details compromised each year] is hard to determine,” Adrianus Warmenhoven, Defensive Strategist at NordVPN, told Yahoo Finance. “The FTC reports that consumers in the US are losing more than $3.3 billion to credit card fraud, up from $1.8 billion in 2019. So there's this steep incline.”

The report included a state-by-state breakdown of card leaks, with California (88K), Texas (74K), and Florida (62K) being the states with the most leaks and Alabama, Wyoming, and Washington having the most leaks per capita.

Computer chips are seen on newly-issued credit cards in this photo illustration taken in Encinitas, California September 28, 2015. In an effort to reduce counterfeit and credit card fraud more than 200 million payment cards have been issued with embedded computer chips in the U.S., ahead of a Oct. 1 deadline for the switch to such cards, according to the Smart Card Alliance. Credit card companies have set the October deadline which will require U.S. consumers to carry a new kind of card and retailers across the nation to upgrade payment terminals.  REUTERS/Mike Blake
Computer chips are seen on newly-issued credit cards in this photo illustration taken in Encinitas, California September 28, 2015. In an effort to reduce counterfeit and credit card fraud more than 200 million payment cards have been issued with embedded computer chips in the U.S., ahead of a Oct. 1 deadline for the switch to such cards, according to the Smart Card Alliance. Credit card companies have set the October deadline which will require U.S. consumers to carry a new kind of card and retailers across the nation to upgrade payment terminals. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Certain banks have more secure systems than others, Warmenhoven said. “MasterCard, just to mention one, has a centralized authentication system. So it can detect the brute force attack a lot faster, you can only do like 10 tries with one number before the MasterCard centralized system sees that. With Visa, I could easily do 30 to 40 tries, maybe even more. And if I pick the right time of day, when it's really busy, I can do a lot more because it has a decentralized federated system.”

Debit card fraud is on the rise, both in the United States and abroad. “In 2020, U.S. citizens lost $10.24 billion to payment card fraud, compared to $9.62 billion in 2019,” Nord VPN CTO Marijus Briedis said. “The surge in losses was caused by Covid as well as by the lack of responsibilities banks and card issuers take for the security of their customers.”

A December 2021 Neilson report found that the US accounts for a disproportionate amount of global card fraud. “The U.S. accounted for 35.83% of global card fraud in 2020 even though it accounted for only 22.40% of total card volume,” the report noted. “In 2019, the U.S. accounted for 33.58% of global fraud and 22.20% of total card volume. U.S. fraud is higher owing to the wider use of card-not-present (CNP) transactions.”

Cybersecurity has emerged as a top priority for businesses and individuals, especially after the coronavirus pandemic accelerated fraud with an explosion of online transactions.

Should your payment details be leaked, Warmenhoven said, “The first thing I always do is call your bank and block that card.” This helps prevent hackers from continuing to abuse your money.

“The next thing is, over the next couple of months, carefully check your credit card details and see if there's any purchases you are sure you haven't done,” he added. “And immediately contest them.”

Ihsaan Fanusie is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @IFanusie.

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