A credit card fraud prevention website that enables people to find out if thieves have their card numbers was so swamped with traffic this week that its creators had to temporarily take it down.
CardCops, which in the past seven weeks has amassed 100,000 stolen credit card numbers, allows members to check a card on the internet to see whether it has been abused.
The anti-fraud site, which went live this week, posted this notice: "We sincerely apologise for having to take the database offline.
"We did not expect consumers to embrace this service in such vast numbers. (Our server has melted!) We are moving the database to another server late today. Please check back then."
The company said that its goal is to cut down the time between the theft of a card number and the cardholder's discovery of fraudulent charges. It also offers information and tools to protect ecommerce companies from credit card fraud.
Cardholders can check their numbers by going to www.cardcops.com and typing in the number. If it comes back positive, they should alert their card issuer.
CardCops has more than 1,000 paying members, most of which are small and medium-sized merchants.
A Gartner study showed that 5.2 per cent of online shoppers have been victims of credit card fraud and 1.9 per cent have suffered identity theft.
"These are huge numbers," said Gartner analyst Avivah Litan. "This is scary stuff."
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