Happy Thursday Folks,
Today we embark on a new adventure that will hopefully drive home the need to think before you shop. On Monday and Tuesday, I described some of the situations you could be faced with while shopping at bricks and mortar retailers. What I didn’t touch on was the outbreak of credit/debit card ATM skimmers. So, let’s begin!
Here is the set up:
I am a thief. I want to collect as many credit card numbers as possible so that I can rob people of as much money as possible. How do I do this without getting caught? I know, I will set up a standalone ATM in the middle of a crowded mall. Ok, so I will rent a “vendor spot” near the food court, and bring in my big ATM after hours. My machine is large, and I will advertise a $1 use fee. I will set up my laptop to collect all data from the card swipe and PIN pad. The next day, customers who need cash will come to my ATM, swipe their card, type in their PIN, but then the software I installed will say “We’re sorry, this ATM is currently out of funds, please check back at a later time.” At the end of the day, I will go to my ATM, download the day’s take to my thumb drive, go home, and upload all the information to my “Hacker ELITE Underground Black Market” website, and start selling my new found credit/debit card details and PIN codes.
Ok, now that is a very much romanticized version of what happens with this type of scam; however, 34 of these “ATMs” were found in the United States and Europe last year alone. “34, that isn’t very many, what is the real risk?” The authorities believe that as FEW as 400,000 people’s cards were stolen. AS FEW AS! They know this from the video surveillance of the area. So, my point behind the fictitious scenario is that these “ATMs” do exist in the wild, and they will rob you blind if you give them the chance. If you need to get cash, use your bank. Don’t trust the signage on a standalone ATM in a mall. Go to the actual bank and use their ATM. Besides the fact that they are safer than the standalone, they also don’t charge a fee.
Protect your information, protect yourself; Coffee is brewing people, it is time to wake up!!!