Since EMV technology has heightened security for in-store transactions, identity thieves are shifting the ways they steal personal information. Now, crooks are targeting their efforts to steal information online, commit international fraud, and capitalize on identity theft opportunities. The good news is there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of becoming a victim.


Take a look at these recent ways identity thieves are using and helpful tips on how to protect oneself from being a target: 


International Fraud on the Rise
Identity thieves commit crime all around the world and use the payment system to their benefit. Their primary goal is to extract products or money from both businesses and consumers through various scams. A recent study conducted by Javalin discovered that 18 percent of U.S. stolen credit card numbers used for fraudulent purposes were committed outside the country; making the average loss per incident at $1,585 - this is 62 percent greater than all card fraud. 


The majority of international fraud cases involve using stolen credit card numbers to make U.S. look-alike counterfeit cards that contain a magnetic stripe. This type of fraud results in slower detection by the U.S. credit card companies and a considerably greater fraud loss. 


As of now, credit card companies are identifying international card fraud around 69 percent of the time. 


"I think there's a really significant opportunity to do better here," spoke Al Pascual, director of fraud & security at Javelin. "Criminals are finding great success in using card numbers outside the states. Those kinds of cases are taking longer to detect than fraud inside the U.S. Card issuers are getting better at it, but they have a ways to go." 


According to the report, one reason it is hard to catch identity thieves outside the country is that these international thieves will deceive credit card companies by putting a travel alert on the card. For example, if they plan to make purchases in France, they will alert the credit card company that the person connected to the stolen card number is travelling to France. This makes it difficult for the security team associated with that card to flag the transaction as something suspicious. 


Thieves Are Advancing Their Behavior
The emergence of EMV technology has changed the ways fraudsters go about their crime. Instead of using stolen credit card numbers to devise a counterfeit card for in-store purchases, many are now turning gears to commit crime online. In addition, thieves are shifting from existing card fraud to new account fraud. They are using stolen Social Security numbers to make new cards instead of compromising existing card accounts, making it more difficult to track. 


Javelin discovered that new account fraud was up 113 percent from 2014 to 2015 and now accounts for 20 percent of all fraud losses. The report also mentioned that new account fraud is the highest-impacted and most expensive kind of fraud. 


Steps to Protect Yourself from Identity Thieves 
There are several steps you can take to lessen the chance of becoming a victim from identity thieves. Here are four suggestions from Javalin: 


  • Choose a unique password: Make sure to use a unique and strong password that contains several characters, including a variety of letters, symbols, and capitalized letters. Be sure to also regularly update your password every 3 months.
  • Sign up for account notifications: Be sure to sign up to receive account notifications via e-mail or text messaging. This will ensure you are aware of any suspicious activity on your account(s) as soon as possible.
  • Protect your mobile device: Take advantage of software updates for your mobile device that will help patch up any security vulnerabilities. Most smartphone devices have regular updates monthly. Also, utilize the Touch ID or passcode lock on your phones at all times.
  • Get assistance when fraud is detected: Immediately contact your financial institution or wireless carrier when an instance of fraud has been detected. The quicker they are notified, the sooner they are able to assist you with any damages done to your account(s). 


Becoming a victim of fraud is not something to take lightly. Many identity thieves are changing their motives on what type of fraud to commit and it is imperative to safeguard your confidential payment information and identity information at all times. Be on the lookout for international fraud, the new behaviors thieves are incorporating, and follow easy steps to protect your identity and money.