Can a website steal your credit card info? A website can steal your credit card info if it was built for phishing. It’s the 21st century, and we are really into subscriptions and online shopping, even for the least items, including razors and glasses, or for entertainment such as games and movies. You also need your credit card for mortgages.
This massive exchange of credit card information makes it a valuable target for dark web activities. Society is rife with identity theft—and notorious actors—including hackers from various countries engage in cyber attacks to steal funds.
In countries like the USA, the average household has around 4 credit cards, per CNBC. This is the reason credit card companies cannot verify charges via phone calls. It’s also common for people to own multiple credit cards, sometimes dedicating one exclusively for online purchases. This situation is a complete disaster. Nevertheless, like them or not, credit card companies keep our financial system alive, and are here to stay. The onus is on you to adapt to enhanced security measures to protect your credit card information.
Can Websites See Your Credit Card Info?
The answer is yes, they can, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they do unless the website is built for phishing. Let me provide some context from a programmer’s perspective. When I create a checkout system, I make sure that credit card numbers are never stored anywhere, including debugging logs.
The card numbers are directly passed from the input field, where the customer enters their information, to a web service that processes the transaction. Based on the response from the web service, I then either display an error message or redirect the customer to the confirmation page.
On most websites, once you enter your credit card number, the programmer or website owner can see or save that information. However, due to the significant security implications and legal liabilities, it is generally considered a bad practice to store credit card information.
Websites can see your credit card information depending on the interface and the level of control the website owner has over the payment system. In most countries, website owners prefer not to have access to such sensitive information. That’s because anything can go wrong, such as a data breach, hacking incident, or internal threats like rogue employees.
Can a Website Steal Your Credit Card Info?
A website can steal your credit card info if they want to. However, how this can happen depends on some factors. Let’s say I own a website, xyz.com, and have sinister intentions. You visit my site to buy a fabulous SuperWidget2000. To complete the transaction, you have to provide your credit card information. Now, not only do I have your payment details, but I also know your shipping and billing addresses.
Also, let’s say I buy the website domain name www.eday.com to trick people who accidentally mistype ‘eBay’. I then set up ‘eDay’ as a web proxy that redirects to the real eBay but with a few nefarious twists. When you make a purchase, everything seems normal – you’re seemingly using eBay and receiving all the usual confirmations. However, when your credit card bill arrives, you realize your credit card information has been stolen.
Don’t be scared though. Websites can also access your credit card information if they are hacked or if someone exploits vulnerabilities in the data transfer between you and the company. This is the reason you are always advised to use reputable websites that secure transactions with encryption.
You also have to regularly monitor your credit card activity and report any suspicious charges or unauthorized activity ASAP.
Below are some of the ways a website can steal your credit card info.
If built for phishing, it makes a website steal your credit card info as you fill out the form. This is a method hackers use to impersonate trustworthy sites, including your bank or an online retailer to trick you into giving them your credit card details. Phishing can happen through phone calls, fake websites, and deceptive emails.
For example, you might get an email that looks like it’s from Amazon. The site will offer a special discount, but it’s actually a ploy to get you to reveal your credit card number.
How to protect yourself
- Never give out your personal or credit card info unless you’re the one who initiated the contact.
- If you’re shopping online, make sure you’re on the retailer’s official website before you enter any details.
Card Data Breaches
Most websites take measures to protect your data. However, there have been instances where hackers have breached security systems and accessed sensitive information, including credit card info.
Here are some examples of data breaches where credit card info was stolen:
- CardSystems Solutions Inc. (MasterCard, Visa, Discover Financial Services, and American Express) in 2005, with 40,000,000 records compromised.
- The Bank of New York Mellon in 2008, with 12,500,000 records compromised.
- Global Payments in 2012, with 7,000,000 records compromised.
Also known as web skimming or a Magecart attack, is a type of cyberattack where the attacker injects malicious code into a website to extract data from HTML forms filled out by users. This data is then submitted to a server controlled by the attacker. This method is commonly used to steal payment details from e-commerce sites during checkout.
Formjacking has been a prevalent issue in recent years. In 2016, it was reported that as many as 6,000 e-commerce sites may have been compromised via this type of attack. In 2018, British Airways had 380,000 card details stolen, and Ticketmaster had 40,000 customers affected by formjacking attacks.
Magecart is one software used by hacking groups to inject malicious code into e-commerce sites.
Malware and Spyware
These nasty pieces of software can end up on your computer if you’re not careful. It gives hackers access to all sorts of information, including your credit card info. Malware can even include keyloggers that record what you type or take note of the websites you visit. It then sends that info to the hacker.
How to protect yourself
- Be careful about the attachments you open and the programs you install.
- Stick to downloading content from trusted sources.
- Always use reliable antivirus software to catch any malware before it can do any damage.
Is it Safe to Use My Credit Card on Websites?
You need to consider a few things. Firstly, the site where you are purchasing from should be a secure e-commerce platform. It should use encryption on its payment pages. When you place an order, your information is sent through a protected channel to the payment gateway responsible for the transaction. This encryption is a shield against cyber threats.
However, the safety doesn’t solely depend on the website. The device and network you’re using should also be secure.
What Happens if a Scammed Website Gets Your Card Info?
When a scammer gets hold of your credit card information, they can use the stolen data to make fraudulent purchases. This can include buying luxury items and reselling them at a high price, as well as gift cards (difficult to trace).
However, most credit card thefts today do not really involve the physical card. Instead, scammers often engage in “no card present” theft to make purchases online. They can buy gift cards, such as Google Play cards, which are easy to resell, untraceable, and do not require shipping.
Hackers can also sell your stolen credit card info on the dark web. Regardless of the method used, the results of credit card theft are always damaging, so make sure to protect yours.
How Do I Make Sure My Credit Card is Safe?
Regularly Review Your Credit Reports
Subscribe to credit monitoring and identity security services to receive timely notifications on your credit card activity.
Monitor Your Bank Accounts
Make it a habit to review your bank and credit card statements. Look out for any transactions that seem suspicious. You can manually check your statements or use services from Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.
Set Up Transaction Alerts
Enable transaction alerts from your bank. You can receive the notification via text, email, or push notifications.
Use Virtual Credit Card for Shopping Online
A temporary virtual credit card from services like Privacy.com can work for single-use transactions. Therefore, you can purchase without ever having to enter your primary credit card info.
Only Use a Website with a Secure URL
When browsing online, especially for credit card transactions, always check if the website’s URL begins with ‘https://’. Such a website is secure and your data is encrypted.
Use Unique Passwords
Your password should be strong and unique for your online accounts. A strong password typically includes a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, making it difficult for hackers to crack. Don’t use guessable information as passwords, such as your name, birthdate, or common words.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security. It requires a second form of identification before allowing access to your account. This could be a text message or email with a unique code sent to your phone or email address. Many online services now offer 2FA.
Avoid Saving Credit Card Information on a Website
While it might be convenient to save your credit card information on Google or e-commerce sites, you should avoid this practice. If a data breach happens, hackers could easily access your credit card information.
What to Do if Your Credit Card Information is Stolen Online
Contact your credit card issuer or bank
Notify them as soon as possible to prevent any further deductions and protect yourself from being held responsible for any fraudulent purchases. The issuer will then cancel your current card and provide you with a new one.
Update you passwords
Hackers can exploit data breaches using malware, or take advantage of public Wi-Fi networks. If your credit card info has been compromised, quickly update your passwords on all the websites you frequently visit.
Ultimately, even after you cancel your credit card, there may still be some transactions you are not aware of. So, make sure to monitor credit statements. If you find unauthorized transactions, dispute them immediately.
Read also: Free Virtual Credit Card with Money [Top 8][note note_color=”#b2a2da” text_color=”#333333″ radius=”3″]
- Americans have an average of 4 credit cards—is that too many? CNBC Select
- MasterCard Says 40 Million Files Put at Risk. The New York Times
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