Price surge in stolen Aussie credit cards

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Price surge in stolen Aussie credit cards

Nicked MasterCards fetch a global premium.

Australian credit cards are on average worth more than twice that of US cards when sold on underground websites, and that value is expected to rise.

Research found stolen Aussie MasterCard details fetching an average of $US6.86, higher than any other card brand and dwarfing the $US2.54 tag afforded to the US equivalent.

Australian Visa cards also fetched more than twice the cost of US cards at $US4.02 a pop, compared to $US1.95 for American plastic.

The price gap has widened dramatically in recent years, according to CloudEyez researcher Nikolay Danev who sourced the local intelligence data for SC.

“My observation for the past few years is showing the Australian cards for sale have risen in price,” Danev said.

“We used to see Canadian and Australian cards no more than a dollar above what USA cards were available for.”

The 252,641 stolen credit cards included in the statistics – of which 15,543 were Australian and 158,520 American – were sourced on Friday from large illegal card sellers by Danev's bots that crawled seven big underground carder forums.

Locally, there were more Visa card victims (63.69 percent) than MasterCard holders (35.78 percent). Stolen Discover (0.50 percent) and American Express (0.02 percent) details were rare.

Victimised Americans were almost exclusively Visa holders (85.85 percent), with far fewer MasterCard victims (6.34 percent) than those in Australia, but more American Express (7.02 percent) and Discover (0.79 percent) victims.

While carders with stolen Australian MasterCards in hand could demand the most money, those with local Discover cards could fetch a respectable $US5 a piece.

Those with the slightly more common local American Express cards demanded $US3 each.

Danev pinned the price difference between US and Australian cards on the scarcity of Australian cards, given the country's smaller population, as well as short-lived fluctuations in supply and demand.

The cost of stolen credit cards varied both over time and between rival research.

Deloitte found stolen card details to cost between $5 and $60 in 2009. In 2010, reports found a glut of stolen details had dropped the selling price to about $4 a card.

A small site hacking website that SC found hawking 554 Mastercard and Visa credentials last month sold the cards for about the same price as Danev's figures.

Credit card fraud in Australia was on the uptick. Last year, fraud against Australian-issued EMV cards topped $16.4 million, up from $12.9 million in 2010, the IDG News Service reported.

All terminals that process Visa payments were meant to be chip-enabled by April next year, a move said to increase security, and all cards from the provider would be chipped and work only with a PIN number a year later.

But the industry-imposed deadlines have been passed over and extended previously.

Copyright © SC Magazine, Australia

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