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Supply and demand. It's a simple and fundamental economic model of price determination in a market. We're not going to cover all the particulars and instead will assume you have at least a basic understanding of how it works (if not, Investopedia breaks it down in plain English). The reason we bring it up is because your credit card -- that Platinum one jammed in your wallet -- is worth a mere $35 in the black market. Your Corporate card fetches $45. In other words, it costs more to take the family to Green Lantern at the local cinema than it does to purchase a stolen credit card.
We're not pulling those numbers out of thin air; they come from a recent NPR.org report in which an FBI agent demonstrated how to purchase pilfered credit cards from underground sites.
"To even be able to see the site -- to register and get a password here -- [FBI agent Keith] Mularski had to use an alias to persuade two criminals already on the inside to vouch for his criminality," NPR writes. "It's sort of the exact opposite of getting two references when you're applying for a job; rather than vouching for you as an upstanding, law-abiding citizen, you're getting people to attest to your deviousness."
At this particular site, Mularski explains that in order to become a seller, you have to provide a sample of 50 cards to each reviewer, who would then test them out and write a review. It was at this unnamed site that credit cards were going for $35 (Platinum) and $45 (Corporate).
It's a rather fascinating write-up that's short and detailed, taking you on a quick journey from purchasing stolen credit cards to having them converted into actual pieces of plastic. There aren't enough details to make this a tutorial by any means, so you can check the pitchforks and torches at the door. But it does provide a glimpse into the underground economy where supply is so great that your personal details don't command nearly as much as you might think.