I’ve been reporting on ATM skimming of bank cards by criminals, and subsequent credit card skimming at gas pumps since June of 2010; In The News – ATM Skimmers Industry, Cybercriminals Changing Attack Method on ATMs, and ATM Skimmer Crime; Moving From Bank ATMs To Gas Pumps; and now the crooks are expanding to retail stores such as restaurants and supermarkets. As reported by Silicon Valley Mercury News.com, “Jetro Holdings, one of the largest restaurant supply wholesalers sent letters to their customers, mostly restaurants, to cancel their credit cards in the wake of a data theft that was apparently linked to Russian criminals.” “Lucky Supermarket shoppers were also caught up in a card-skimming scheme that’s claimed more than 500 victims.”
This crime, which allows access to, in the case of bank ATMs, all banking accounts and passwords; and in the case of credit cards, access to your credit card account, PIN, and your credit; is very lucrative to the cybercrime organizations, such as the Russian Mafia and others…or they wouldn’t still be in this business.
However, as they’ve improved their tactics from using replacement, difficult to detect, skimmers on ATMs and gas pumps to gather your personal information; to modifying the software that runs on the central computers that receive the information from the card readers. They’re getting access to those central computers either through a successful hack into them and/or with help from insiders in the companies involved.
This latest scheme involves the use of the supermarket self-checkout registers as customers pay for their groceries with their credit card. And I predict that there will be an expansion to other retail businesses in the very near future. These cybercriminal organizations have a history of expanding successful activity, so beware.
There’s not much you can do to avoid this criminal activity, should your favorite store be targeted, except stop using a credit card to pay for your purchases, or if not, start diligently monitoring your credit card statements for purchases or withdrawals you have not made; and immediately notify your credit card company.
As always, I appreciate your comments on this subject…so please do. And be careful out there…it’s dangerous these days.
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Home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.