The Payment Card Fraud Epidemic
Prepaid Debit Cards are Increasingly the Currency of Choice for Criminals Moving Funds.

The New Currency of Criminals

Payment card fraud has become a driving force behind money laundering, sex trafficking and widespread crime.

According to the shocking statistics, payment card fraud is running rampant across the United States. Criminals who once made a living selling narcotics and handling stolen goods have discovered that stealing credit cards and laundering money with prepaid cards is an easier, more lucrative and low-risk business. Last year, nearly 32 million credit cards were stolen from Americans, and 15.4 million individuals were victims of identity theft.

With billions of dollars loaded on prepaid cards from narcotics, human smuggling, sex trafficking and terrorist funding each year, it’s clear that criminals are drawn to plastic cards. As IRS Commissioner John Koskinen pointed out, “Prepaid cards are the currency of criminals. Our problem is you can’t distinguish the number of a prepaid card from a legitimate bank account.” If the IRS can’t tell, imagine how difficult it is for law enforcement. This is exactly what criminals are counting on—which is why plastic cards have become the preferred method for moving illegal funds.

Every day, law enforcement officers around the country confiscate plastic cards. Some are recognizable retail store gift cards; others are legitimate looking credit and debit cards; and still others are harmless-looking hotel room keys and identity cards. However, when it comes to plastic cards, looks can be deceiving. As it turns out, a large portion of these cards are being used to launder money tied to illegal or illicit activities.

Criminals skim card information from unknowing consumers or buy stolen credit and debit card numbers on the Dark Web. They then transfer this info to other plastic cards, such as hotel room keys or even legitimate credit and bank debit cards. This makes detection and interrogation nearly impossible. Virtually any plastic card with a magnetic stripe can be re-purposed as a credit, debit or prepaid card. Unlike bulk cash, when you confiscate plastic cards, determining the identity of the card is critical to your investigation. Without the proper tools to investigate and confiscate the funds from these plastic cards, criminals keep the money from prepaid cards and continue their illicit operations.

That’s where ERAD™ has got you covered. Our revolutionary technology is giving payment card fraud a run for its money.

To learn more, call 571-207-ERAD (3723) or email us.

Additional Resources
Law enforcement officer using ERAD FCIS solution


ERAD Financial Crimes Intelligence System

Solutions for Law Enforcement Agencies
ERAD-FCIS™ (Financial Crimes Intelligence System) is a comprehensive investigative solution that allows law enforcement to inventory and analyze any plastic card confiscated during an arrest.
Learn More About ERAD-FCIS™
Padlocked credit card


ERAD Issuer Notification Service

Solutions for Financial Institutions
ERAD-INS™ (Issuer Notification Service) is a unique solution that quickly notifies financial institutions when their credit, debit or prepaid cards are stolen and confiscated by law enforcement. This superior reporting service allows issuers to curb financial losses.
Learn More About ERAD-INS™
Payment Card Fraud by the Numbers
The statistics paint a disturbing picture: Financial crimes are spreading like wildfire.
Last year
0 million
credit cards were stolen in the U.S.
Last year
0 million
Americans were victims of identity theft.
Last year
$0 billion
was laundered through identity theft fraud.
Each year, more than
$0 billion
in funds from illegal and illicit activities are loaded onto prepaid cards.
Payment Card Fraud in the News
Payment card scams and schemes are making headlines across the nation
View All Articles About Payment Card Fraud