Credit Card Fraud Statistics (Updated February 2020)


  • In 2018, $24.26 Billion was lost due to payment card fraud worldwide
  • The United States leads as the most credit fraud prone country with 38.6% of reported card fraud losses in 2018
  • Credit card fraud increased by 18.4 percent in 2018 and is still climbing
  • Card not present fraud is now 81 percent more likely than point-of-sale fraud 
  • In 2018, Identity theft was the 3rd largest cause of fraud in the USA
  • Identity theft makes up 14.8 percent of reported fraud
  • Credit card fraud was ranked #1 type of Identity theft fraud 
  • Credit card fraud accounted for 35.4 percent of all identity theft fraud in 2018
  • New account fraud percentage is up 24 percent from account fraud in 2017
  • Take over of existing accounts is down 6 percent compared to 2017
  • Yahoo’s breach in 2013 exposed 3 billion victims and is still the biggest single informational breach
  • The Business Sector accounted for 46 percent of data breaches in 2018, including the Marriott International Breach
  • 69 percent of fraud starts with a consumer being contacted by telephone or email, such as overdue loans or prize scams

It’s probably not news to you that fraud is a huge global and national problem. With the growth of the e-commerce industry and community, we will see credit card fraud rise at rates faster than ever.
Here are some important facts about credit card fraud:

  • Losses of $24.26 Billion in 2018 due to payment fraud worldwide. 
  • The USA is the global leader as the most credit card fraud prone country with 38.6 percent of reported fraud losses last year in 2018. 
  • Credit and debit card fraud continues to climb over time 
bar graph showing credit card fraud reports in the US

What Is Credit Card Fraud & How Can It Happen?

Credit card fraud is a result of identity fraud and a type of identity theft. It happens when someone uses your credit card or credit account to make a transaction. What’s the reason for this, and how can it happen?

  • If your credit card becomes misplaced or taken, it can be used for unauthorized in person or online transactions.
  • The account number can also be taken, along with the PIN and security code. Criminals steal your information to make purchases that do not have required authentication. 
  • Scammers can use skimmers on point-of-sale systems to get your information and use it to make a duplicate card.
  • Your information can be obtained online through hackers using unsecure or imposter websites & data breaches – then they can use your finance info to make purchases without needing the card present (called card-not-present fraud or CNP fraud).

Types of Credit Card Fraud 

Ways that someone can get your information to commit credit card fraud

  • Stolen credit card
  • Finding & Using a card that has been misplaced
  • Account takeover
  • Counterfeit Cards: using a skimmer, thieves and criminals can make & use a duplicate card. EMV Technology (chip & PIN) has reduced this type of fraud
  • Intercepting Mailed Cards: cards taken from your mailbox
  • Fraudulent credit applications: using your taken information to apply for new credit in your name (Identity theft)
  • Card-not-present fraud: the physical card is not needed to commit fraud, just the number- increasing due to e-commerce

Online shopping now creates the greatest fraud opportunity – the security of the EMV credit and debit cards (chip & PIN) are driving more fraudulent activity to the online or e-commerce industry.

Card not present fraud is now 81% more likely than point-of-sale fraud according to Javelin Strategy.

Who Pays For Credit Card Fraud?

Because of federal law & issuer card network terms and policies, consumers are shielded from the cost of unauthorized purchases made with their cards.

Financial institutions and merchants assume responsibility for most of the money spent as products of fraud. Issuer losses occur mainly at the point of sale from counterfeit cards, while CNP transactions accounted for most of the total merchant cost.

In 2015, issuers bore 72 percent share of losses. Merchants & ATM acquirers assumed 28 percent of liability (Nilson Report, October 2016).

$24.26 Billion was lost in 2018 due to payment card fraud worldwide. 

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone uses information about you: name, birthday, social security number, bank statements, etc. to access your records or open new ones under your name. Credit and debit card fraud is a type of identity theft.

Here are some stats about identity theft:

  • In 2018, Identity theft was the 3rd biggest cause of all categories of financial fraud in the USA, just below Imposter Scams and Debt and Loan Collection fraud 
  • Identity theft makes up 14.8 percent of consumer fraud complaints with reports of 444,602 reported cases in 2018
  • Credit card fraud was ranked #1 kind of Identity theft fraud – accounting for 35.4 percent of all identity theft fraud in 2018
  • Using identity information, creation of new accounts is up 24% from 2017
  • Take over of existing accounts has decreased 6 percent from 2017
a pie chart displaying the types of identity theft fraud reports in 2018

Credit card fraud is the most common and popular kind of identity theft and makes up 35.4% of all identity theft reports.

What age group reports the most cases of identity theft?

bar graph displaying 2018 reports of identity theft by age
bar graph showing the physical impact of identity crime

This study was performed by Identity Theft Resource Center. The published survey results show that over 80 percent of victims affected by identity theft experience sleeping problems as a consequence.

bar graph showing the emotional impact of identity crime

How Does My Identity Get Stolen?

Scammers & thieves can target and acquire your personal information via scams, theft, & information breaches. The criminal can then use your personal information (Birthday, pin number, address) to take over your existing banking accounts or open new accounts and charge it to you and your credit. 

Data Breaches

  • Data breaches that result in exposed records has increased by 54 percent year over year in 2019
  • The number of exposed records in those data breaches is up by 52 percent
  • Eight of the 3800 data breaches of 2019 (so far) exposed more than 3.2 billion records. That’s nearly 80 percent of all records exposed so far in 2019. 
pie chart showing data breeches by business sector

Other Avenues for Scammers to Get Your Information

Consumers need to be vigilant & wise when giving their personal account information. Scams come from a variety of different services. According to the consumer sentinel network 2018, most of the consumers who were affected by fraud were contacted by scammers via phone or email and that losses of $429 million were incurred due to this kind of phone fraud.

Bar graph showing money lost due to fraud by method of contact

What can you do to protect yourself?

If you have a credit card, understand that this kind of fraud will always be a risk as long as you have a card. However, there are some easy ways, in addition to some financial services, tools, and programs, available to help limit your risk and aid your search for protection.

It is wise to monitor your bank statements frequently. Keep your purse or wallet secure and close to you at all times. Never carry your social security card. When shopping or making other online payments, make sure you are using reputable businesses and organizations. 

With the emergence of mobile payments, another avenue of fraud has been created. Make sure that no one has the password to access your mobile payments as a precaution.

If you suspect that you are a victim of fraud, you can request credit reports, as it is common that new bank records will show up there first. If you check and find one, contact the credit bureau directly to report it.

Be sure to notify the issuers and banks immediately of any suspicious products based on your research, or if you learn that your card has been misplaced or taken. Change your online PINs and passwords for future fraud prevention.

If you are one of many fraud victims, consider filing a police report to get your money back and catch the criminal. It is a federal legal issue, so you can report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission – which track identity theft and fraud reports.

We know fraud can be a sensitive subject, especially to people who have been victims. We hope that the information that you’ve read throughout this article will help you stay and live safe from becoming a victim of fraud and all other kinds of theft in the future.

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