Your Credit Card Information Is Worth About 40 Cents

You may think that your credit card and banking information is worth a lot of money to potential crooks. If you do, you’re wrong. There’s so much stolen personal information out there and banks are getting so good at cutting off compromised credit cards quickly that it’s driving the price down.

From Marketplace:

The Symantec report found stolen credit card information sold for as little as 40 cents.

How about your full bank account credentials? As low as 10 bucks.

Kevin Haley tracks Internet fraud for Symantec.

Kevin Haley:: Some credit cards in the U.S. are easy to get, other European countries, not so easy to get, and that affects the price they’re charged, just like a regular economy.

The underground internet economy is getting more sophisticated. Bob Sullivan is author of “Your Evil Twin: Behind the Identity Theft Epidemic.”

Bob Sullivan: There are now these toolkits, so instead of having to be a programmer yourself, you go to some other broker who sells you a piece of software that might look like a new piece of Microsoft software. You install it, drag and drop a few things and next thing you know, you’re renting time on hijacked computers and sending out millions of e-mails an hour.

So why have prices for stolen information dropped? The Symantec folks say its supply and demand — cyberfraud attacks increased five-fold last year. There’s so much stolen information out there, it’s getting cheaper.

Sullivan offers a different explanation:

Sullivan: How valuable is a low-limit MasterCard that’s been stolen from a bank now? Banks are getting better at cutting those cards off, so if the odds are you’re only going to be able to buy something for $20 or $30 and then the card goes bad on you, you’re not going to pay very much for it.

Your personal info isn’t worth much


Edit Your Comment

  1. Hah! I’m so broke the guy paying 40 cents to con me is paying too much, joke’s on him!

  2. ottawa_guy says:

    hahahahahahaha lol…. yep too bad for the crooks.

  3. petrarch1608 says:

    kind of misleading title, not all credit card info is worth 40 cents, that’s just one of the lowest price points they’ve seen

  4. Parting says:

    @petrarch1608: Maybe they mean Consumerist reader’s credit card ;)

  5. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    I am appalled. Certainly my personal information is worth more than 40 cents? Even ten dollars seems low.

  6. midwestkel says:

    @Victo: lol

  7. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    Yes, it’s true. Eventually there won’t be any credit cards that haven’t already been ripped off or any identities that haven’t been stolen.

    We’ll all have those security fobs that generate random codes for computer access, multiple personal verification systems, fraud alerts on all our credit reports and a personal identification chip implanted in our thigh.

    Finally, we’ll be “free.”

  8. Anachronism says:

    Lets not forget how information asymmetry affects the price as well. The buyer doesn’t know whether the stolen information is valid, and they have no recourse if it isn’t, further driving down prices. It’s this way for any stolen goods.

  9. Riddar says:

    Why does everyone think this is a bad thing? There is less reward for credit card theft, less resale value in stolen information. I’ll take the ego hit, because this is all good otherwise.

  10. Snarkysnake says:

    I’ve always hoped that this info would be too cheap to be worth stealing and it looks like we are getting there. An earlier poster was on to something when he said that there are so many cards that have been compromised that they are worth a lot less and have finally prompted the banks to get serious about security…

  11. Beerad says:

    @Snarkysnake: But isn’t the problem that people will steal anything regardless of how low value it is? If you have zero dollars to start with then even $10 worth of data is worth stealing.

    Cars will get broken into for $3.68 that the driver left visible in the cup holder. Some cashier tried to pocket an extra 50 cents at the fast-food place where I ate lunch two days ago. We’ve got a long way to go before this information becomes so valueless that it’s not worth stealing, and I doubt that it will ever get there.

  12. Poster99 says:

    40 cents times times 10,000 card accounts still equals $4,000 sold to 100 different buyers is still $400,000

    It’s not like these things are only sold once, my guess is that the price starts out higher and then goes down depending how old/used the data is.