Credit Card Skimming, The Facts You Don’t Know
Credit Card Skimming, The Facts You Don’t Know
You may say that you would never hand your credit card over to a stranger and let them walk away but do you realize that every time you hand your credit card over to your waiter or waitress you’re doing just that. There’s implied safety because you’re at a legitimate restaurant but you need to realize that your server very well may be a crook.
The same thing applies to anyone you hand your credit card to, a cab driver, a department store employee, a bartender, anyone.
You’ve probably heard about skimming but I’m writing about it because the problem is getting worse and there’s probably a lot on the subject that you don’t know that could create opportunities for thieves.
Skimming is when someone steals the credit card information while you are making a legitimate transaction. It is typically an “inside job” 소액결제현금화 by a dishonest employee of a legitimate merchant. The thief uses a small electronic device, called a skimmer, to swipe and store hundreds of credit card numbers.
Once they download the information onto their computer, they can sell the information on black-market forums; they can purchase things online, or even create new credit cards with your information using blank credit card stock and a credit card encoder.
The crook may have the skimmer attached to the belt around their waist, or lay it next to the cash register and then swipe your card twice, once thru the skimmer and once thru the stores computer system.
Restaurants are high risk because you hand your credit card over to your server and let them walk away with it. The skimming device is very small and fits in the palm of their hand, or it can be in their sock, or even their apron. It’s quick and easy for the server to skim your card and collect the data needed. If they’re working with a partner, they can even skim your card, have it duplicated, and start using the card to make purchases all before you’ve even left the restaurant.
When you pay with a card in Europe, they use pay at the table transaction devices where they bring the apparatus to your table so that your card is never out of your site. For our safety, American restaurants need to start doing the same thing. The portable devices are available, we just need them to start using them.
You may think that using an ATM would be safe but, ATM and debit-card fraud is the top area of concern for banks all over the world. Privately owned ATM’s are the highest risk because a skimming device can easily be added inside the ATM where you can’t see it. Or if the ATM is in an obscure place it can be easily tampered with. But even your bank ATM is a risk because crooks add fake card readers, or skimmers, over the real card-entry slot. When you put your card in the slot it first goes through the skimmer, where the information is collected. Then they either use a pinhole camera or they attach a keypad overlay to record your PIN number. To protect yourself, don’t use ATMs. However, if have to use an ATM then be sure to use your banks ATM machine, check to be sure that a fake card reader or keypad overlay hasn’t been attached, and cover the keypad as you enter your PIN.
Gas pumps are notorious for skimming because they use a universal key allowing thieves to insert a skimming device inside the pump where it can’t be seen. It’s a big problem everywhere but in a Northern Florida county and also in West Covina, California local law-enforcement officials suggested consumers use only cash to pay for gas after skimming attacks at gas stations surged. To protect yourself, pay with cash. If you have to use a card then be sure it’s a credit card and not your debit card.
The national craft store chain “Michael’s” was victim to a recent debit-card skimming scheme where thieves managed to hack the debit-processing equipment at 80 locations in 20 states. They were able to instantly duplicate customers’ cards and begin making cash withdrawals. The chain won’t give details on how it happened but they replaced all of their debit-processing equipment so it appears that the skimming device was added to the inside of the equipment where it wasn’t detectable.
Credit and debit card skimming is getting much worse here in the United States. Currently, you have a one-in-five chance of being a victim, and this trend is continuing up because there is a migration of fraud from Europe here to the US.
Most countries have converted, or they’re in the process of converting, to using smart cards. They don’t use magnetic-stripe technology on the back of the cards anymore like we do. Instead they use a card that relies on an embedded micro-chip for the storage of data.
Now that the cards in Europe are protected, criminals are increasingly targeting U.S. cardholders. Although all types of cards are at risk, crooks more often target debit card holders.
Credit-card thieves use your card to purchase merchandise and then resell that merchandise so they can get cash. However, debit card thieves get cash without the hassle of buying and selling merchandise. So you can see why that’s more appealing.
By choice and sometimes by necessity, American consumers are increasingly relying on debit rather than credit cards. As they use their debit cards and thieves continue to target debit card users, those consumers have a very high chance of becoming a victim.
When someone steals and uses your credit card, charges are made but no money comes out of your account. When you get the statement you can call the credit card company and report the misuse and dispute the charges. When you use a debit card, the money is immediately taken from your checking account and if you become a victim it can take as long as 30 days, and sometimes even longer for that money to get returned to you. If you have no other money source, this can cause financial hardships and havoc in your life.