Credit card skimmers are what nightmares are made of especially when your bank account is attached. All throughout the United States, identity thieves are using hidden credit card skimmers to help themselves to your credit card number. Many of us use our credit card because it is convenient and allows us to be cash free, but when it comes to identity theft this may be the worst thing you can do.
Skimming at the pump
Identity thieves hide credit card skimmers inside gas pumps; so before you insert your credit or debit card, think twice. Unfortunately, in May 2013, law enforcement found credit card skimming devices hidden inside the gas pumps of 2 different gas stations in Walnut Creek, California. For information on the exact location of these gas stations visit http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/east_bay&id=9107247
ATM card skimmers
Identity thieves set up a hidden camera or keypad overlay to record your PIN entry. Criminals will then obtain your card number by inserting a skimmer that slides right over the outside of the card reader, so most people don’t even notice. According to the FBI, skimmers are only left in place for a few hours at a time. The best defense against ATM skimmers is to avoid using random and outside, easily accessible ATM’s.
Fast food credit card skimmers
According to an article posted in April 2013 by the Sun Times in Chicago, identity thieves used credit card skimmers at restaurants such as McDonald’s and Taco Bell by bribing employees to swipe each card using a small credit card reader. This investigation also found a food vendor at Wrigley Field who used a credit card skimmer.
The 99 Cent store
In 2011, members of the Armenian Power organized crime gang installed credit card skimmers at several 99 Cent stores throughout Southern California. Identity thieves actually installed credit card skimmers directly onto cash registers at this popular store and almost got away with it; until the manager noticed that the credit card transactions were not clearing properly. Had it not been for the malfunction the credit card skimmers caused, this group could have kept on stealing people’s information indefinitely.
Payroll debit card theft
A group of hackers in 2008 obtained access into the computer of a well-known payment processor known as RBS WorldPay. Once these hackers acquired account and debit PIN numbers, they then proceeded to create fake ATM cards and went to the bank. The lesson is that you need to be careful who you trust. The problem with online schemes is that identity thieves often operate out of the country but recruit people within the United States to help them, so if you know of anyone who has information about an online scam please contact the FTC at https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx