Beware: It’s Getting Easier to Skim Credit Cards

Credit card skimming devices are becoming more popular around the U.S. and causing a growing number of Americans to have their personal identity stolen by thieves who install these small devices at gas station pumps.

Credit card skimmers are installed on pumps so when customers swipe their cards. their account info is copied from the magnetic strip on the back, according to Consumer Reports. If a person is using a debit card, their PIN is also copied by these devices. The identity thieves then create counterfeit cards using this information to withdraw cash from ATMs or to make purchases.

Many gas pumps can be opened with a master key and criminals are getting their hands on duplicates of these keys to access the inside of the pump and install the skimming device. It is also becoming more popular for criminals to use wireless internal skimmers that send card data to them through a Bluetooth device, which eliminates the need for the criminal to return to the pump to retrieve the skimmer and stolen information stored on it, the Consumer Reports article stated.

“They just need to be within 30 feet of the skimmer, so one guy can go in to buy a Slurpee and distract the clerk while his partner sits in their car near the pumps downloading all of the stolen card data,” Al Pascual, senior analyst of security risk and fraud at Javelin Strategy & Research, told Consumer Reports.

Free Credit Check & Monitoring Sign up for your Credit.com and get a FREE credit score plus personalized Action Plan to help you improve it. FREE and updated every 30 days. Get Started Now »

Hard to Detect

As skimming becomes more common, the technology criminals are using is becoming more advanced. The skimming devices are now harder for law enforcement to find, the Orange County Register reported.

In southern California, criminals are making devices from just $50 worth of electronics and installing them at gas stations. Criminals target this area because they believe the people visiting gas stations have a higher income and because the stations are generally empty after 10 p.m. which makes it easier to open the pump and install a skimming device, the article stated.

Sgt. Scott Spalding of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s economic and computer crimes detail told the OC Register that skimming in southern California is a “sophisticated system.”

Avoiding Becoming a Victim

Consumer Reports offered some identity theft tips to avoid becoming a victim of skimming at the gas station. Instead of using a credit or debit card, use cash to pay for gas, the source said. If you must use a card, use a credit instead of a debit card. and if you have to use a debit card, never enter your PIN. There should instead be an option that allows you to use a debit card as a credit card.

Image: moodboard

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Get the latest tips & advice from our team of 50+ credit & money experts, delivered to you via email each week. Sign up now .

Identity Theft 911 is the nation’s premier consultative provider of identity and data risk management, resolution and education services. To learn more, visit http://www.idt911.com .

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Source: blog.credit.com

Category: Credit

Similar articles: