It's Easy To Use Google To Find Exposed Credit Card Numbers

When merchants expose your credit card numbers to the internet, there’s an easy tool that ID thieves can use to find them. Google. According to an article on Slashdot, it’s as easy as searching for the most common credit card prefixes. The credit card companies have known about this problem for years, and they’ve yet to fix it. Is it because they can’t? Or is it because the vendors are the ones exposing the numbers? Whose responsibility is it?

Bennett Haselton, the author of the article has a solution. Publicize the problem in the hope that a fix will be developed. Good luck. —MEGHANN MARCO

Why Are CC Numbers Still So Easy To Find? [Slashdot] (Thanks, Spidra!)
(Photo: Sam Wilkinson)


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  1. GreatMoose says:

    I remember this being featured in the book Google Hacks. Pretty scary stuff.

  2. drkkgt says:

    So anyone want to guess how long it will be this time before the banks or the some flunkie in the government will start a class action suit against google for making this “available.”

  3. saram says:

    This is also an easy way to find checking account numbers. If you do a search for a common routing number, sooo many checking account numbers come up. I couldn’t believe it.

  4. Andamom says:

    I was curious about this… and put in the first 4 digits of one of my cards — and the type of card. I didn’t have sufficient time to go through the google search results given that there were thousands of results. I have no doubt that there are less is less than optimal protection of data by certain merchants. This is why I think it is necessary to check my credit reports, banking/credit card statements, etc. for anything that looks “curious”. It reminds me of the site — Is it their responsibility that some protected information is on there? Me thinks not as they are simply a source that publishes and aggregates public information.

  5. TSS says:

    It is ridiculous that this hasn’t been stopped yet. And Google – if your motto is “Don’t be evil,” how ’bout you do something proactive and fix this. Hell will freeze over before the banks or the credit bureaus or the government do anything.

  6. otothehout says:

    Discover has an online application that you login to and it gives you a one time usable credit card number. I generally use this tool when I buy online.

    Still, this is all scary stuff.

  7. kidzmatter2me says:

    I work in a fast food restaraunt, and our credit card slips print with the last 4 digits of the card on the slip. I see many, too many, people simply throw these away. Sometimes I run out of cash and have to pay for my meal with a card, so one time when I got the slip I decided to test this. Simply by using those last 4 digits, card type, and my last name, I was able to find my own credit card information on Google.

    The moral of our story: Don’t throw away your last 4 digits with your name. It’s easier than you may think to find the whole number!

  8. tvh2k says:


    I don’t believe that — who exactly did you give your card number to and why did they post it online?

  9. Brian L says:

    I googled the CC digits from the picture in this article and got two numbers :O

  10. eldergias says: had a completely exposed database.

    When I called up to tell them about it the best part was their greeting said they were, “the most reliable ACT database company”. Yeah, ok.

  11. Brie says:

    Hey, my kids have that octopus plushie! Wait, where’s my Amex card…

  12. dohtem says:

    This has been public knowledge for years.

    Here’s another scary one. Back in the days of KaZaA, people would share their entire C: drives (til this day, I still don’t know why). Doing a search for “resume”, “receipt” or something similar gave you a lot of personal info.

    Imagine getting someone’s receipt from an online store (with CC numbers, expiration date, etc) and their resume (address, phone number, sometimes D.O.B). An ID thief’s wet dream. Scary stuff.

  13. dohtem says:

    @tvh2k: Some online retailers are run by people that just don’t know what they are doing. They put excel spreadsheets (.csv) online with all the info on payments made to them and forget about it. I would like to support the smaller businesses but I just don’t trust them to store my information properly.

  14. firefoxx66 says:

    Ok, off-topic I know, but that stuffed octopus is adorable… what kind is it/where can I get one?