Week 7: The Lowdown on Skimming & Shimming

What it is & how to protect yourself

  • Security
  • November 02, 2018
  • FCU Team

Debit and credit cards are the most popular forms of payment in America today. So, it probably comes as no surprise that they are also the most susceptible to fraud. With the emergence of EMV Chip technology, most people thought this type of fraud would become a thing of the past. Unfortunately, the bad guys were thinking too and have found a way around the security features of chip cards. 

Before EMV-Chip technology, debit and credit card fraud typically originated with a device called a skimmer.  Skimming occurs when fraudsters attach false fronts (skimmers) to ATM and/or gas pump payment terminals to rip-off the details of your card’s magnetic stripe to duplicate your card.

The newest way to target your card is called shimming. Shimming is a far more rare form of fraud that targets EMV chips. This type of device is installed inside the terminal where your card is inserted. The device fits into the side of the chip on your card and just like skimmers, it picks up the details of your card information. One thing fraudsters have not learned to do is recreate the electronic chip, so card details are then transferred over to an electronic strip. 

It seems like for every updated security feature that is implemented criminals find a way around it and leaves you wondering what you can do to protect yourself! 

What to do

When it comes to shimming , it’s a bit harder to protect yourself since the devices inside the card reader, but there are ways to avoid becoming a victim. With the prevalence of new electronic payment forms using an EMV chip isn’t always necessary: 

  • Use the contactless tap-and-go feature on your credit or debit card instead
  • Use contactless mobile services such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay

These types of payment methods encrypt each transaction so your banking and/or card information is never even made available to the merchant.

What about when you need cash?

We suggest:

  • Using ATMs in or at banks when possible since standalone ATMs could be more vulnerable
  • ALWAYS cover the keypad with your hand when entering your PIN
  • NEVER continue with a transaction if you encounter any resistance when inserting your card
  • If you notice anything suspicious just go inside to a teller.

As your credit union we do our best to keep you informed of potential threats, but it is always important to stay vigilant. Never hesitate to let us know when something may not seem quite right and we're only a phone call or visit away if you ever have questions or need to report suspicious activity. 

 

 Sources: 

https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/payment-method-statistics-1276.php

https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/shimming-is-the-latest-credit-card-scam/

https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/new-card-skimming-is-called-shimming.php

 

Comments
Nagesh Lingayat
Nice blog! Thanks for sharing it.
11/28/2018 3:10:17 AM