While plans are being initiated that will reduce credit card fraud, it appears the problem is going to get worse before it gets better. Credit card issuers are rushing to send new EMV enabled cards to their customers. These cards, also known as chip cards, contain technology that makes credit card theft much more difficult. Knowing this, hackers and fraudsters are in a rush to steal as much credit card information as they can before their job gets harder.
According to CNBC, as much as $10 billion dollars in fraudulent credit card charges are anticipated between 2016 and 2020 as retailers and card issuers finish adopting EMV cards and technology. As of May 2016, only 20% of credit cards and 10% of debit cards were chip enabled, leaving lots of people still at risk for a security breach. The bad guys know this and are scrambling to take advantage of security weaknesses in cards with magnetic strips.
On the other side of the table, retailers and banks are rushing to get chip cards into the hands of consumers. PYMNTS.com reports that, on average, 23,000 merchants per week are installing chip technology in their businesses. Overall, the number of retailers using the chips to read cards has increased by 12.5% since the technology’s introduction. Progress is clearly being made, but not fast enough to protect everyone.
Once all of the credit cards have chips and the bad guys have used up their stolen cards, card not present fraud is expected to decrease. However, a different kind of fraud is expected to take its place. With credit card numbers being harder to steal remotely, experts anticipate that more people will fraudulently apply for credit card accounts. Using a temporary address, these fraudsters will get credit cards mailed to them using an address they will later abandon. With the card in hand, they will still be able to make fraudulent purchases.
Though the criminals aren’t going anywhere, neither are those who fight them. New technologies are being considered and developed even as EMV chips are being instituted. In the meantime, the best way to protect yourself is to watch your accounts carefully and use caution when using your card online.