Credit Card Hacking: How Do People Steal Credit Card Numbers?

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Credit card hacking, also known as credit card fraud or data breaches, is unfortunately quite common in today's digital age. The Federal Trade Commission reported that ‘identity theft credit card fraud tops the list of identity theft types reported in 2022. The FTC received 441,882 reports from people who said their information was misused with an existing credit card or when applying for a new credit card.’

Cybercriminals and hackers constantly seek ways to exploit vulnerabilities in security systems to gain access to sensitive financial information, including credit card numbers. Traditional credit card scamming formats involve stealing credit card information, before using the data to steal as much money as possible before the victim is alerted.

As consumers, we need to be able to protect our personal information, including credit card details, and learn to recognize if a data breach has occurred and our privacy has been compromised. In this blog, we will also discuss ways to prevent credit card hacking from occurring in the first place.

How can someone use my credit card without having it?

Unfortunately, it’s possible for someone to use your credit card without physically having it, if they manage to steal the necessary card information. Online and phone transactions don't require a physical credit card, so as long as a thief has obtained your card number, expiration date, and CVV, they can use this information for online purchases or over-the-phone transactions.

How do people steal credit card numbers? And how did my credit card number get stolen? Credit card scamming methods explored

If you were wondering “How did someone get my credit card number”, the answer is that it’s not so improbable. Credit card theft can occur through various means. Criminals use various credit card scamming methods in order to get hold of your card information:

  • Card skimming: Criminals can use card skimming devices to capture the information from the magnetic stripe on your credit card when you use it at an ATM, gas station pump, or other point-of-sale terminals. This information can then be used to create counterfeit cards.
  • Data breaches: Hackers can breach the databases of companies, retailers, or financial institutions to access a large number of credit card records. If they successfully steal card numbers and associated data, they can use or sell this information.
  • Dark web trading: Criminals can buy stolen credit card information from underground online marketplaces on the dark web. These marketplaces offer a range of illegal goods and services, including stolen financial data.
  • Phishing and social engineering: Scammers can use phishing emails or other social engineering tactics to trick individuals into sharing their credit card information willingly.
  • Keylogging: Keylogging malware installed on your computer or smartphone can capture your keystrokes, including credit card numbers, and send this information to the attacker.
  • Insider fraud: It’s possible that individuals with access to your card information, such as employees at restaurants or retail stores, might engage in fraudulent activities using the stolen details.
  • Unsecured Wi-Fi networks: If you use public Wi-Fi networks without encryption, hackers may be able to intercept your online communications, including credit card information.
  • Weak passwords: If you reuse passwords across multiple accounts or have weak passwords, cybercriminals who gain access to one of your accounts might be able to access others, including credit card information.

And of course, credit card scamming methods also include physical credit card theft - credit cards can still be stolen in the traditional sense, through physical theft of wallets or purses.

Is it safe to text credit card info? How did someone get my credit card number through an SMS?

It really isn’t a sensible idea to text credit card information. Text messages are not a secure method of transmitting sensitive financial information like credit card numbers. Text messages can be intercepted, hacked, or accessed by unauthorized individuals, thereby putting your personal and financial information at risk.

But how do people get your credit card number through text messaging? Most standard text messaging services do not use end-to-end encryption, which means that the content of your messages can potentially be intercepted and read by third parties. Additionally, text messages are often stored on the sender's and recipient's devices, as well as on the servers of telecommunication companies. This increases the chances of your sensitive information being accessible to others - if either the sender's or recipient's device is compromised, the credit card information sent via text could be accessed by malicious actors. There's also always the possibility that a text message containing sensitive information could be sent to the wrong recipient by mistake, leading to unintended exposure of your information.

Can someone use my credit card with just the number and CVV?

The CVV is a three or four-digit code located on the back of your credit card, and it's meant to provide an additional layer of security for card-not-present transactions (such as online purchases) to verify that the person making the transaction physically possesses the card. If a fraudster gains access to your credit card number and the CVV, they may be able to make unauthorized online purchases or other transactions.

However, some additional factors can affect the success of credit card scamming methods:

  • Address Verification System (AVS): Many online merchants use the Address Verification System to match the address provided by the cardholder with the billing address on file. If the addresses don't match, it could raise suspicion and prevent the transaction.
  • Fraud detection systems: Many credit card issuers and payment processors have sophisticated fraud detection systems that monitor transactions for unusual patterns or activity. If a transaction seems suspicious, it may be flagged for further verification.
  • Cardholder verification methods: Some transactions might require additional verification methods, such as entering a one-time code sent to your phone or email, to ensure that the legitimate cardholder is making the purchase.
  • Credit card limits: Credit cards often have transaction limits, both in terms of individual transactions and daily spending. This can limit the potential damage that a fraudster can do.

While the CVV adds an extra layer of security, it's not foolproof. It's still important to take steps to protect your credit card information and personal data to minimize the risk of unauthorized transactions.

Stolen credit card numbers?: What to do next

If you believe your credit card information has been stolen, take immediate action to protect yourself and minimize potential damage:

  • Contact your credit card issuer/bank: Report the unauthorized activity and let them know that your credit card information has been compromised. Ask them to block your card and issue a replacement card with a new number.
  • Review your statements: Check for any unauthorized transactions or charges, and note down the transactions you didn't make.
  • Dispute unauthorized charges: If you find unauthorized charges on your statement, notify your credit card issuer immediately - they will guide you through the process of disputing the charges and potentially removing them from your account.
  • Change your online passwords: If you suspect a data breach or unauthorized access to your online accounts, change your passwords for all relevant accounts. Use strong and unique passwords for each account.
  • Check your credit reports: Monitor reports from all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) for any unusual or unauthorized activity. Did you know you're entitled to one free credit report from each bureau annually through
  • Consider a ‘fraud alert’ or ‘credit freeze’: A fraud alert will let creditors know that they must verify your identity before extending credit. If you suspect serious identity theft, you can also consider placing a credit freeze, which restricts access to your credit report, making it more difficult for fraudsters to open new accounts. Update automatic payments: If you had set up automatic payments using the compromised credit card, update them with the new card information to avoid disruptions. Authorities report: If you believe you're a victim of identity theft, consider filing a report with your local law enforcement agency and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at

How to prevent credit card hacking

To help protect yourself from credit card number theft:

  • Regularly monitor accounts: Keep a close eye on your credit card statements for any unauthorized transactions and report them immediately if you notice anything suspicious.
  • Use strong, unique passwords: Use complex passwords for your online accounts, and avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA): Whenever possible, enable 2FA on your accounts to add an extra layer of security.
  • Be cautious of emails and links: Be skeptical of unsolicited emails requesting personal or financial information. Don't click on links unless you're sure they're from a legitimate source.
  • Check for skimmers: When using ATMs or point-of-sale terminals, check for any unusual attachments or loose parts that might indicate the presence of a skimming device.
  • Use secure networks: Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks for sensitive transactions or make use of a virtual private network (VPN), such as RAV VPN, when accessing the internet on public networks.
  • Keep your card secure: Don't share your credit card number or CVV with anyone you don't trust.
  • Enable transaction alerts: Many credit card issuers offer text or email alerts for transactions over a certain amount. This can help you quickly identify any unusual activity.
  • Use secure websites: Only make online purchases from reputable and secure websites. Look for "https://" in the URL and a padlock icon in the browser's address bar.
  • Use secure channels: When transmitting sensitive information, use secure communication methods such as secure messaging apps, encrypted email, or secure online portals provided by reputable organizations.
  • Phone call or in-person: If you need to share credit card information, consider doing so over a phone call or in person, rather than through text messages.
  • Online payment portals: When making payments or providing credit card information online, use trusted and secure payment portals on official websites.
  • Beware of scams: Be cautious of any requests for credit card information via text messages, especially if the message is unsolicited. Scammers often use text messages to trick people into sharing sensitive information.
  • Secure your devices: Make sure your devices have up-to-date security software, strong passwords, and biometric locks to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Be informed: Educate yourself about best practices for online security and protecting your personal and financial information.

Protecting your credit card information is crucial to preventing unauthorized transactions and potential identity theft. Always prioritize security when sharing sensitive information.

For more information on other ways to protect your personal information and prevent other types of identity theft from occurring, visit