DEFINITION of Carding Forum

A carding forum is an illegal website dedicated to the sharing of stolen credit card information. A carding forum may include credit card information that has been illegally obtained, as well as a discussion board in which members of the forum may share techniques used in obtaining credit card information. Complete credit card information, called "fullz" includes everything a fraudster would need to impersonate somebody and use their credit card information to effect purchases online or in-person. Often carding forums are hidden online behind the dark web using TOR routing, and transactions of credit card information are carried out with privacy-focused cryptocurrencies such as Monero or Zcash to cover the users' tracks. Carding forum users also often go by aliases or "handles" instead of using their real names or other identifying information.

BREAKING DOWN Carding Forum

When an individual or group steals credit or debit card numbers, it is not immediately clear whether the number and identifying information will work if used for other transactions. For example, if stolen, the cardholder may have already canceled their cards, or the card account may contain insufficient funds. In these two examples, the card data would thus be worthless. The card thief needs to verify that the card information is valid in order to be able to use the card for fraudulent purchases.

Carding forums primarily focus on ways that individuals can verify stolen credit card information. They may suggest that the stolen cards be used to make small transactions that are unlikely to trigger a warning to the rightful cardholder, or to make transactions at a business or venue that does not immediately process the card transaction. Carding forums are used by thieves who want to use stolen card information to make purchases, as well as groups looking to purchase stolen card numbers. These thieves may then solicit buyers on the forum, or move their offers for sale to black markets on the dark web, where bulk credit card information can sell for hundreds to thousands of dollars.

With the advent of chip-and-PIN credit cards, as well as improved electronic security fraud countermeasures, it has become more difficult to use stolen card information. While there are still locations that do not process credit or debit transactions immediately, these are rare. Most point of sale terminals require an electronic approval response.

Credit and debit card numbers that have been verified through carding techniques that obtain them directly from cardholders by tricking them into giving up their own information are referred to as  “phishing”. Thieves will typically sell this information to other parties, who will ultimately use this information to make fraudulent purchases.