What happens after your credit card is hacked?

How card hackers operate

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Have you ever wondered just where your stolen credit card numbers end up and what they're worth to thieves?

When the cybercriminals steal your credit card info they have to race against the clock to use it before you or your bank shuts it down.

Our cyber expert, Theresa Payton explains the process below:


1.  Thieves have to move fast!

2.  They take your stolen card and mash it up with other cards

3.  They sell a group of them to another cybercriminal organization on websites designed to process these transactions (like an eBay for eVil!)

4.  The buyer of the group may resell them again or begin using them

5.  They have hardware on hand to actually print a fake plastic card in case they want to go to brick and mortar store to use it

6.  They run up purchases that they can resell for quick cash and then, many of them, vanish


1.  The criminal outfit that wants to purchase the batch of cards may run a few small transactions against them to see if the card is still "live"

2.  If the card is being sold with the victim's address and additional information such as mother's maiden name, SSN, and Date of birth that makes the card worth more

3.  if the criminal selling the card can also provide purchasing behaviors, for example, this card is used at Target and Lowe's in NC, then the card is worth even more money because the criminals know that you might even miss a fraudulent charge if it looks legit to you!

Eventually, the card data ends up in the hands of a group that uses the cards to directly commit fraud. To do so, the gang uses the card data to create physical payment cards that can be used to make purchases in stores. Armed with these stolen cards, the outfit employs individuals who use them to buy goods that are easily resold and hard to trace, such as gift cards or popular consumer electronics. Once those goods are sold, the fraud of the card is complete and the value of the card is realized. All of the intermediate reselling of card data in the supply chain hinges on this process ultimately being completed.

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WOW:  "markets for lemons". This term refers to cybercriminal markets where cybercriminals selling stolen credit cards have much better information about the quality of the cards than the potential buyer...much like the lemon laws for car dealers but in this case, if they are scammed and the cards are no good, where would the cybercriminal buying stolen cards but scammed report it?