Cybercrime Is Shifting from Credit Cards to Identity Theft

Cybercrime Is Shifting from Credit Cards to Identity Theft

January 18, 2018         Written By Bill Hardekopf

According to a new report from ThreatMatrix, worldwide cybercrime attacks have doubled in volume over the last two years. In addition, the type of crime has shifted dramatically, putting consumers at greater risk.

Cybercriminals are no longer looking to make quick money from a stolen credit card. That changed when America transitioned from magnetic strip cards to smart chip cards. Now the focus is on account creations, where criminals steal multiple elements of your personal data and open up new accounts that they can use.

The report says, “more than one in nine of all new accounts opened in 2017 were fraudulent.”

McAfee study earlier this month revealed only 37% of Americans use identity theft protection. 67% say they check their accounts for fraudulent activity, but this does not reflect the fake accounts opened in their names. The only way to monitor that is to actively check one’s credit score and credit history, either through an ID theft protection service or a credit monitoring site.

The cybercrime industry is very dynamic. When one opportunity closes, fraudsters look to other industries as a new target. ThreatMatrix says ridesharing and gift card trading are two areas cybercriminals are heavily targeting because the services are new and riddled with potential security flaws. Hackers are also getting better at layering their attack procedures, making it harder for investigators to pinpoint the original source of the attack.

What can you do about this? Consider using a credit monitoring service to check for fraudulent account openings. If you are denied for a credit card, loan or other line of credit, read the decline letter closely. If there is anything suspicious, such as an unknown account, dispute the issue with the credit bureau and report the error to the financial institution. Always keep an eye on your financial accounts to report unauthorized activity that may be taking place.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of January 18, 2018. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf is the CEO of and covers the credit card industry from all perspectives. Bill has been involved with personal finance for over 15 years. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, The Street and The Christian Science Monitor.
View all posts by Bill Hardekopf
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