(WLNS) Thieves who steal credit and debit card numbers are making millions in profits.

This all comes from a study published in the online journal Deviant Behavior.

This is one of the first scientific studies done on the subject of cybercrime profits. Thomas J. Holt, a criminologist from Michigan State, lead the study. Holt said it should be a wake up call to both consumers and law enforcement officials.

“It’s happening so often that average consumers are just getting the mindset of, ‘Well, my bank will just reissue the card, it’s not a problem,” said Holt, “but this is more than a hassle or inconvenience. It’s a real economic phenomenon that has real economic impact and consequences.”

There is a lot of incentive to stealing this information. According to the study, 50 credit and debit card numbers can sell for between $250,000 and $1 million. The buyer can make between $2 million and $8 million, but the buyer is easier to catch.

These cards are often sold in batch’s of 50 or 100 numbers.

In the past, Holt has called for a more coordinated approach by law enforcement to fight against identity theft and credit fraud.

“If we don’t understand the scope of this problem, if we just treat it as a nuisance, then we’re going to enable and embolden this as a form of crime that won’t stop,” Holt said.

According to the website creditcards.com, the most common place these numbers are stolen is online, when the card is not present.

This type of theft, were the thief can actually see the card, is expected to rise.

The website also reported that most of the victims were between ages of 40-59.

The study was co-authored by Olga Smirnova of Eastern Carolina University and Yi Ting Chua, a doctorate student at MSU. It was funded by the National Institute of Justice.