A hacker organization in Russia has released information from approximately 1 million credit card accounts on the dark web, according to cybersecurity firm Q6. The group, which calls itself All World Cards, has offered the stolen information for sale to criminals to use fraudulently.
Criminals often use the dark web to buy and sell financial and personal information for nefarious purposes.
Cardholders can take steps to protect themselves from identity thieves.
On Aug. 5, news outlets reported that a Russian group, All World Cards, released information on an estimated 1 million credit cards on the dark web. While the figure is large, this is not an uncommon practice for cybercriminals.
The dark web is a part of the world wide web that’s accessible only by using special software. It provides a level of anonymity that criminals can’t get on traditional websites.
In addition to credit card information, criminals buy and sell Social Security numbers, login credentials, and other pieces of personal information, often at a low price. According to Help Net Security, full credit card details, including associated information like the address and ZIP code on the account, typically sell for $12 to $20 per account.
But is your account at risk? Not likely. There are 497 million credit card accounts in the U.S., according to Experian, and the data dump by the Russian group includes cards from outside of the U.S. as well.
What’s more, if someone does manage to get their hands on your credit card information and use it without your permission, most credit card companies offer zero-liability fraud protection, so you likely won’t lose any money.
Finally, credit card companies are better than ever at catching fraud and stopping it before it even hits your account.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be vigilant about credit card security, though. Not all fraud prevention measures by credit card companies are foolproof, and dealing with credit card fraud can be a pain, especially if you have to update recurring payments with a new account number, change passwords, and more.
Here are some ways to make your credit card accounts safer from identity thieves:
Avoid entering credit card information on an unsecure website; make sure the web address begins with HTTPS.
Avoid entering credit card information on any website when you’re on a public Wi-Fi network like the ones found in coffee shops and airports.
Keep an eye out for phishing emails.
Check your online account regularly; don’t wait until you get your monthly statement to review transactions.
Contact your card issuer immediately if you lose your card or if you suspect fraud.
Respond immediately if your credit card issuer contacts you about a potentially fraudulent charge.
While there’s no way to stop credit card fraud entirely, these steps can make you a more difficult target–and prevent things from getting worse if it does happen.