(Image credit: Shutterstock)

What is credit card theft?

If a criminal doesn’t have the time or resources to steal your entire identity, they might prefer to swipe your credit card. Debit cards are also included in this type of theft.

There are three main types of card theft: physical theft, cloning, and skimming. If your wallet is stolen, then physical robbery has occurred. A card can be cloned following physical theft, or the data is simply skimmed from it and stored in a database. Here, it awaits downloading a new fake card which can then be used as a genuine credit card.

Skimming is a crucial risk of paying by credit card. Skimmer technology is a compact method of copying the data stored on your credit card. The data can then be used to buy goods or services charged to your account. Unfortunately, not only is there potential for restaurant and café employees to carry skimmers, ATMs and gas station “pay at the pump” systems are prone to interference. Usually, this means the installation of a skimmer.

Credit card theft naturally leads to credit card fraud. Here, goods might be obtained using the card and delivered to a remote location, such as an industrial estate unit. Alternatively, money might be transferred (through a fake “payment”) to an account managed by the criminal.

The differences between ID fraud, identity theft, and credit card theft

Now you know and understand what ID fraud is, along with identity theft and credit card theft. The differences should be pretty clear, but if not, here’s a recap:

  • ID fraud is fraudulent activity (taking out loans, extending credit, even acting in an official capacity) using someone else’s stolen identity. 
  • Identity theft is the act of stealing an identity. It might be done offline or online. Identity can also be bought or sold online – some are stolen to order.
  • Credit card theft encompasses credit cards and debit cards. It refers to stealing (or duplicating) a card to use it for personal gain or transferring the balance to another account with a fake payment.

All these things are bad, but you can reduce your exposure to them:

  • Dispose of old bank statements and correspondence
  • Keep important documents safely locked away
  • Reduce social media activity and friends
  • Set a different password for every account, using a