Credit Card Fraud Statistics

(Updated October 2019) 

Quick Credit Card Fraud statistics

  • 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 % in 2018 and is still climbing
  • Card not present fraud is now 81 % more likely than point-of-sale fraud 
  • In 2018, Identity theft was the 3rd biggest cause of fraud in the United States
  • Identity theft accounts for 14.8% of fraud reports
  • Credit card fraud was ranked #1 type of Identity theft fraud 
  • Credit card fraud accounted for 35.4% of all identity theft fraud in 2018
  • New account fraud is up 24 % from 2017
  • Take over of existing accounts is down 6% from 2017
  • Yahoo's data breach in 2013 compromised 3 billion people is still the biggest single data breach
  • The Business Sector accounted for 46% of data breaches in 2018, including the Marriott International Breach
  • 69% of fraud starts with a consumer being contacted by phone

Credit card fraud is a huge problem in the United States, as well as world wide. With e-commerce becoming more and more common, we will continue to see credit card fraud rise.
Here are some important facts about credit card fraud:

  • $24.26 Billion was lost in 2018 due to payment card fraud worldwide. 
  • The United States still leads the world as the most credit card fraud prone country with 38.6% of reported card fraud losses last year in 2018. 
  • Credit card fraud continues to climb 
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 purchase. How can this happen?

  • If your credit card becomes lost or stolen, it can be used to make unauthorized in-person or online purchases
  • The credit card account number can also be stolen, along with the PIN and security code. Thieves use your information to make unauthorized purchases. 
  • Scammers can use skimmers at point-of-sale 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 info to make purchases without needing the physical card (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 credit card that has been lost
  • Account takeover
  • Counterfeit Cards: using a skimmer, thieves can make & use a duplicate card. EMV Technology (chip & PIN) has reduced this type of fraud
  • Intercepting Mailed Cards: cards stolen from your mailbox
  • Fraudulent credit applications: using your stolen 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 accounts for the greatest fraud opportunity - the security of the EMV credit cards (chip & PIN) are driving more fraudulent activity to online or e-commerce sources.

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 policy, consumers are shielded from liability for unauthorized purchases made with their credit cards.

Financial institutions and merchants assume responsibility for most of the money lost as a result of fraud. Card issuer losses occur mainly at the point of sale from counterfeit cards, while CNP transactions accounted for most of the merchant losses.

In 2015, card issuers bore 72% share of losses. Merchants & ATM acquirers assumed 28% 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 happens when someone uses information about you: name, birthday, social security number, credit card accounts, etc. to take over your accounts or open new ones under your name. Credit card fraud is a type of identity theft.

Here are some statistics about identity theft:

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

Credit card fraud is the #1 type of identity theft and accounts for 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
bar graph showing the emotional impact of identity crime

How Does My Identity Get Stolen?

Scammers & thieves can get your personal information via scams, theft, & data breaches. They use your personal information (Birthday, Social Security number, address) to take over your existing credit accounts or open new accounts and charge it to you and your credit. 

Data Breaches

  • Data breaches that result in exposed records is up by 54% year over year in 2019
  • The number of exposed records in those data breaches is up by 52%
  • Eight of the 3800 data breaches of 2019 (so far) exposed more than 3.2 billion records. That’s nearly 80% of all records exposed so far in 2019. 

Top 7 Data Breaches of All Time

Yahoo logo

Yahoo's data breach in 2013 compromised 3 billion people in total is still the biggest single data breach

first American Financial logo

First American Financial Corp. had 900 Million customer files exposed in May 2019

Facebook Logo

Facebook - 2019- 540 million users’ data exposed

Marriott international logo

The biggest breach in 2018 was by Marriott International which exposed as much as 500 Million records

adultfriendfinder logo

Adult Friend Finder in 2016 had 412 Million records compromised 

Equifax logo

Equifax in 2017 had 143 Million records exposed

Capital One Logo

Capital One in 2019 had more than 100 Million records which could have been compromised

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 sources. According to the consumer sentinel network 2018, most of the consumers who were affected by fraud were contacted by scammers via phone and that $429 million were lost due to fraud by this method of contact.

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

What can you do to protect yourself?

Credit card fraud, identity theft, and cyber crime will continue to be a problem. It is wise to monitor your credit card and bank accounts frequently. Keep your cards and purse or wallet secure. Never carry your social security card. When shopping online, make sure you are shopping from reputable websites.

If you suspect fraud, you can request a credit report, as new accounts will often show up there first. If you find one, contact the credit bureau directly to report it.

Be sure to notify the credit card companies and banks immediately of any suspicious activity, or if you know your card has been lost or stolen. Change your online PINs and passwords.

If you are a victim of credit card fraud, consider filing a police report. You can also report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission - which track identity theft and fraud reports.

Credit card Fraud statistics


downloads and resources

Data Resources

  • experian.com
  • usatoday.com
  • www.cnn.com
  • idtheftcenter.org
  • ftc.gov
  • nilsonreport.com
  • javelinstrategy.com
  • wallethub.com
  • public.tableau.com

Resource Downloads

a collage of the credit card fraud data charts used

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