I give my credit card info to restaurants who deliver to me without thinking about it, but what’s to stop someone from stealing that info?


Obviously I can dispute charges, but is there any other failsafes that stop this? It just seems so odd that I casually give my CC number over the phone, often including the 3 numbers on the back.

In: Economics

There is the fact that many online retaillers will ask/verify at least the ZIP code of the cardholder’s billing address.

Oh and the information you read out isn’t enough to create a magnetic stripe copy, since the security code is not printed on the card itself, and most physical card processing setups will verify the security code and expiration date on the card

The paper trail is your only line of defense. There’s nothing to stop them besides the fear of being caught. Make sure to get a receipt, so at least you know they charged you and you can prove they had access to your info.

The only things preventing people from stealing your card info in that manner is either morals, risk of losing their job, or prosecution. Losing a job or being prosecuted may sound like a big deal, but it’s incredibly rare. Many of them get away with it too. They only need the card number, expiration date, and 3 digit security code to make a purchase online, over the phone or physically clone a card (minus the chip). Many times the stolen cards are used to buy gift cards to further hide the theft because it’s expensive to track down thieves.

If the card info is stolen, the card companies have algorithms that can catch the card being used fraudulently such as out of ordinary spending or card used out of area or internationally. These algorithms are really advanced, more than I would care to explain in an ELI5 post.

The physical cloning is part of the reason for the push to chip cards. The card number isn’t stored on machines, and transactions done with magnetic strips carry more fraud liability for the stores than the card company. This incentive to use the chips pushes criminals to either shady merchants, big box retailers that just don’t care (e.g. walmart), or online purchases. This narrowing of potential places to purchase with a stolen card combined with the fraud algorithms I mentioned before help stop a lot but not all card fraud.

Waiters double swiping cards is a common way to get your card info stolen. Along with retail cashier’s.

Anytime you give your card to someone else there’s the chance to get it stolen.

Always pisses me off when you pay over the phone and they repeat the numbers back to you, you’ve no idea who could joyfully noting those numbers down to take away with them.

* it is a crime
* the punishments are pretty serious
* it is pretty easy to get caught
* you have to do it a lot to make it worthwhile

That last one is the important thing, and applies to many illegal activities. A thief may be able to get away with it once, but that money isn’t going to last long, so they have to do it again and again until they are eventually caught.

With just a stolen number, no CCV or zip code, you have to walk into a store, wave to the camera, buy a bunch of stuff, and try to resell it on eBay to get you a few hundred bucks. That’s a lot of work and leaves a bunch of bloody footprints leading right back to you.