Saturday, March 26, 2016

How easy it is to install a credit card skimmer

Ever wonder how easy it is to install one of those skimmers that steals your credit card information straight from the magnetic stripe on the back of the card? Check out this YouTube video to see how a pair of convenience store shoppers install a credit card skimmer on the point-of-sale (POS) device in two and a half seconds. It's pretty amazing.

And here is a 5-minute ABC News Nightline story on YouTube showing thieves installing a skimmer on a gas pump. As I was watching this, I wondered how the bad guys are able to open up the pump's front panel. Turns out, every gas pump uses a universal key, easily purchased online for a few bucks.

Want to know more about these skimmers? See Brian Krebs' blog All About Skimmers.

The FBI warns: Taking a Trip to the ATM? Beware of Skimmers. Recently, here in Georgia, an investigation was launched covering six states, as described in this news story: Secret service launches 6 state investigation into ATM skimmers.

If you think you've been a victim of credit card skimming, contact your local U.S. Secret Service field office. If you're not sure whether to report, see When and how to report fraud to the U.S. Secret Service.

Be smart when swiping your card.

  • Never let a cashier or server swipe it for you or take it out of view.
  • Keep an eye on your credit card account, checking every statement line-by-line
  • Report any suspected fraud immediately to your bank, certainly within 60 days
  • Don't swipe your card at gas pumps that are "in the shadows," or pay inside
  • Look before you swipe

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