According to the the Online Trust Alliance. over 740 million credit cards and similar accounts were exposed by hackers or other security breaches in 2013. Cyber security experts believe that the number is on the low estimates, and that more credit cards could have been hacked yet not identified or publicly released. Included in this figure is the over 40 million credit cards numbers that were stolen from Target during the 2013 holiday shopping season.
Most of these credit card numbers are available for sale on the black market at online forums. The Target credit cards were for sale for $26.60 to $44.80.
After they have been purchased, security researchers have found that they are being used in small amounts in order to avoid detections. Buyers from Cyprus, the United Kingdom and India use stolen credit cards and make purchases for $9.84 cents. By keeping the purchased amount low, the cyber criminals are able to avoid red flags, detection by automatic fraud alerts, and even the card owner looking over the card statement.
Source: John Bacon and Byron Acohido, “If the credit charge was $9.84, take a closer look,” USA Today, January 28, 2014.