Your credit-card data is out there and criminals are buying and selling it in bulk. Credit card data theft is exploding, increasing 50% from 2005 to 2010, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Millions of card numbers are for sale. A single number might go for $10 to $50; a no-limit American Express card number for a consumer with good credit can sell for hundreds of dollars, said Monica Hamilton, marketing director at cyber-security firm McAfee Inc. in Santa Clara, California.
As a result, identity theft has become big business. The number of malicious programs written to steal your information has grown exponentially to an estimated 130 million from about 1 million in 2007, Hamilton said. The most successful identity thieves have learned that it’s more lucrative to hack into businesses, where they can steal card numbers by the thousands or even millions.
Losses suffered by the…
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