I found this little piece on Finextra thought provoking – apparently, credit card details (with verification numbers) are available for as little as USD1 on some bulletin boards in the US and elsewhere, with full bank account details going for between USD14 and 18.

The question running through my head is – why so cheap? It has to be either a demand – i.e. they are not worth much – or a supply thing – there are so many out there.

Either way, this may actually be a good thing, in a perverse way.

The reason is that, if it is a lack of demand, it means that even if you have full details there is evidently little value in that. If it is worth only between USD1 and USD18 to have someone else’s bank details then there appears to be liitle value there – you might make enough, on average to say double or even triple your money – not the sort of amounts that many would be likely to miss.

If it is a supply thing – i.e. there are just huge quantities of details out there, then the problem is a larger – but not catastrophic. This would mean that there are more people out there farming numbers than there are fraudsters to use them, meaning that, even if your details are exposed the chances of them actually being used to cause problems are small.

Of course, that does not mean that it is not a serious problem for the individuals that lose large amounts – and several cases come to mind, but it does mean that it is not a huge issue for the system as a whole if the average cost per customer details lost is in this range. This also means that the risk of those farming the details is low – meaing the systems and controls should be tightened up – and rapidly – even if (on these figures) it is only to reduce the reputational risk.

[Update – I have stopped comments on this post as it is at

tracting spam]