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Increasing Risk of Digital Money Skimming

December 12, 2011, by Ken Jorgustin

card-reader-skimmer

As modern-day technology has advanced, there has been an alarming increase in reports of credit card reader skimmers including ATM, grocery store, retail store and gas station pump credit-card reader skimmers. Technology and ‘know-how’ has advanced sufficiently such that replicating the machines that are used to scan and read credit and debit cards has become fairly simple for the modern day technology thief.

The sophistication of card-reader-skimmers is exemplified in the following report from ‘Krebs-on-Security‘ where a recent skimmer confiscation reveals the mechanism which was ‘printed’ on a 3D resin printer. A mini camera was built in so as to see the ATM user enter their pin number. Blue tooth technology is often used so the thief (who is very near by) can instantly receive the stolen information.

Just a few days ago in the San Francisco area, abc World News reported that thieves who inserted data-skimming devices into card readers at Lucky’s supermarket self-checkout counters ripped off as many as 500 of the California chain’s customers. Data-skimming devices inserted into the readers allowed the crooks to steal information like the shoppers’ PIN numbers, expiration dates and security codes from the cards wirelessly.

I’m sure you’ve heard reports in your own area of similar card reader scams. It seems to me that I’ve been hearing more and more lately…

 

Why bring this up on a survival preparedness site? Because risk awareness is the first step to ‘be prepared’. Knowing that the convenience of digital money comes with its risks, may prompt some to use cash as much as possible instead. Plus, your purchase habits cannot be tracked with cash, while your debit card (or credit card) leaves a record of everything that you do, and where-and-when you do it (if that’s a concern for you).

On a side note, isn’t it quite crazy when you think about it… that is, we are working our life away for invisible ‘digits’, backed by nothing at all (same goes for the paper money). So long as enough people continue to believe in the value of the nothingness, the system keeps on keepin-on.

 

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