Startling Answer to QOTW 1 AUG 2013
Background (The Bad News) - For years many Americans have been warned that their private financial information has been a target of digital thieves. Many of us also received letters from the VA, our state governments, our financial or retail corporations (or all of the above) advising that our individual data was included in files that had actually been compromised by hacking or laptop theft.
Background (The Good News) - While actually mixed news, it is relatively best for Americans: What is the street value of individual credit cards from a European country, Canada, and the U.S.? Answer (NBC News): $10 for US card, $15 for a Canadian credit card, and $50 for a European credit card. Source (@ 01:34 minute).
Question of the Week 1 August 2013
1. Why the disparity in street value of stolen credit cards? The sales prices for stolen credit cards cited by NBC News (1:34 minute video linked above) were average retail prices per card, much higher than typical wholesale prices purchased by other crooks from hackers for $3 and up each in lots of a thousand.
In this case, however, a single card out of 160 million hacked worldwide by the largest hacking scheme (7 years in duration) so far detected, retails with a U.S. worth of 1/3 less than for a Canadian issued card, which in turn is worth 70% less than a European issued credit card. The risks of getting away with fraudulent use must be much, much better in Europe than Canada. Similarly, criminals judge the risk of fraudulent use in Canada better than in the U.S.
Let's rephrase the initial question and ask, Why Is That?
Suppose the RCMP's Dudley Do-Right and France's La Sûreté Nationale's Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau were not only humorous icons of incompetence and bureaucratic red tape, but equally ineffective due to budgetary difficulties in Europe these last 7 years, and to Canada's RCMP understaffing woes. Answer: Suddenly, US fraud prevention, detection and jurisprudence combined with the NSA's eavesdropping and Homeland Security's omnipresence represents potent threats that smarter criminal elements want to avoid.
Note: Several Russian and one Ukranian perpetrated the hack that has cost credit/debit card holders $300 Million, so far. Financial hacking has become an industry. The capitalist antedote since 2006 has included education that relatively few members of the public have yet been made aware, and even fewer have qualified: MBA in Economic Crime and Fraud Management, also available online from
Submarines are always silent and strange.