Credit Card Fraud - Computer Definition
In 2004, millions of credit cards were being used daily in North America for all sorts of transactions, both online and on-site, in various commercial, governmental, and educational enterprises. At the end of 2003, more than 50 million credit cards were in circulation in Canada, with a sales volume exceeding $150 billion in MasterCard and Visa card sales alone.
According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), with a higher usage of credit cards comes an increase in credit card fraud. For example, the credit card fraud costs in Canada for the 12-month period ending December 31, 2003, was estimated to be about $200 million.
Payment card counterfeiters currently employ cutting-edge computer technology such as embossers, encoders, and decoders to read, modify, and plant magnetic strip information on fake credit cards. Phony identification has been used to illegally get such things as government assistance, bank loans, and unemployment insurance benefits. The illegal use of credit cards can be divided into the following categories, with the percentage of estimated losses based on Canadian statistics stated in parentheses:
• Counterfeit credit card use (37%). Organized criminals manufacture fake cards by skimming the data contained on magnetic strips and overriding protective features such as holograms.
• Cards lost by the cardholder or stolen from the cardholder (23%). Credit cards are stolen from work offices, automobiles, homes, or lockers and used to purchase goods and services.
• Fraud committed without the actual use of a credit card—also known as no-card fraud (10%). Telemarketers and fraudulent Internet Websites get card details from potential victims while promoting the sale of either exaggerated or nonexistent goods and services. These acts, in turn, can result in fraudulent charges being made against victims’ accounts.
• Fraud committed using cards not actually received by the legitimate cardholder—also known as nonreceipt fraud (7%). Mail theft occurs by nonauthorized card users, a main reason that card-activation programs have been implemented by the Visa, MasterCard, and American Express companies.
• Cards obtained by criminals after making false applications (4%). Applications for credit cards are made by criminals impersonating credit-worthy individuals.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Counterfeiting and Credit Card Fraud. [Online, July 9, 2004.] RCMP Website. http://www.rcmp.ca/scams/ccandpc_e.htm.