Credit Card Skimmed (rant)

Joined
Jul 29, 2007
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I returned home from my vacation a couple of days ago only to discover that someone had skimmed my bank card and made multiple unauthorized purchases! :mad:

I went to the bank and immediately filed a fraud complaint. Going through my list of transactions, I'm guessing my card was most likely skimmed at a Hess gas station in Lake Buena Vista (Orlando, at Disney) while visiting there three days before I left for a cruise.

This really irritates me beyond belief. Why does our government (or any government for that matter) permit the sale of skimming devices and skimming apps for smart phones?? There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for anyone to own a skimming device or app! While there are many privacy laws protecting the content of your phone (authorities can't randomly search your phone), we as individuals and our banks are losing millions every year thanks to the use of these skimming devices.

I don't know who is more ruthless; the people who thought up and created these devices, the people who sell these devices, or the thieves who use these devices to steal your money? I am somewhat inclined to add to this list both the government for not doing anything to aggressively ban these devices and the banks for not doing more to secure your transactions (safer cards, vendors need to confirm cards with photo ID, etc.).

I can't believe that Samsung has an app available for skimming cards!! Why?? Are they trying to corner the thief market??

Please be very cautious about where you use your bank card, especially at gas stations, especially in tourist cities like Orlando. Look for any signs of a skimmer. Research them online to know what they look like so you won't fall victim to one like I did.
 

LyndeeLoo

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Sorry that happened, Sandy, but it's not just skimmers. Here in St. Louis we had a huge problem with fraud just this past March at one of the local grocery stores. This affected everyone who used a debit or credit card at the store. I was one of them. Fortunately, no monies were taken from my account, and my bank, as soon as they became aware of what was going on, automatically cancelled the cards of everyone who shopped at the grocery store and reissued new ones (we never had to report it).

Fraud, unfortunately, happens everywhere. We have to be really careful nowadays, no matter where we are.
 
Joined
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Indianapolis, IN
As a former LEO, we ran into this somewhat frequently. Often, thieves buy normal scanners intended for point of sale purchasing and them modify them to be used for illigitamte purchases. Frequently these thieves will use the device prior to swiping your card for a purchase. Restraunts are prone to this as the server takes your card away, and you have no idea what is happening.

You did the right thing by filing a fraud complaint, this should protect you in the future. I would keep a close eye on your credit reports with a reutable monitoring service just to be safe.
 
Joined
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Sorry that happened, Sandy, but it's not just skimmers. Here in St. Louis we had a huge problem with fraud just this past March at one of the local grocery stores. This affected everyone who used a debit or credit card at the store. I was one of them. Fortunately, no monies were taken from my account, and my bank, as soon as they became aware of what was going on, automatically cancelled the cards of everyone who shopped at the grocery store and reissued new ones (we never had to report it).

Fraud, unfortunately, happens everywhere. We have to be really careful nowadays, no matter where we are.

Some banks and credit card issuers are better than others at fraud detection and prevention. My Visa card is through my credit union. Occasionally I will get a call regarding transactions they regard as suspicious. All we can do as consumers is check our accounts diligently.

I agree with the OP's anger at companies that provide the hardware and software that enables this.
 
Joined
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I was never aware of this app, is iT also in use in the UK?

Yes, it most definitely is.

Here is a link to a site that shows the technology and how to identify skimmers.
http://krebsonsecurity.com/all-about-skimmers/


And here is a link specific to skimmers used in UK and other parts of Europe:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2011/sep/20/technology-links-newsbucket




This is an article about the actual App used for skimming:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2013/04/24/nl-smartphone-credit-card-skimming-app-424.html
 
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
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NJ
This really irritates me beyond belief. Why does our government (or any government for that matter) permit the sale of skimming devices and skimming apps for smart phones?? There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for anyone to own a skimming device or app!

The “skimming device” is usually a modified card reader and there are many reasons why one would want to have a card reader, for instance to be used at a POS in a legit retail business. The same (albeit to a lesser extend) can be said about software used to clone or write cards. Think of schools, hotels, corporate cafeterias; there are many places outside banks where magnetic cards need to be "charged" or programmed.

Cameras are used for nefarious purposes as well; when the government is busy to outlaw the sale of card readers, maybe they should outlaw the sale of cameras as well?
 
Joined
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Thornhill, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto
The “skimming device” is usually a modified card reader and there are many reasons why one would want to have a card reader, for instance to be used at a POS in a legit retail business. The same (albeit to a lesser extend) can be said about software used to clone or write cards. Think of schools, hotels, corporate cafeterias; there are many places outside banks where magnetic cards need to be "charged" or programmed.

Cameras are used for nefarious purposes as well; when the government is busy to outlaw the sale of card readers, maybe they should outlaw the sale of cameras as well?

Not all cameras, just Digital ones.
 
Joined
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Fairfax, Virginia
Instead of looking at card readers, they should probably look at ways to ensure the transaction is valid when the charge card is used. An example might be a pin number that you would have to punch in on a keypad for transactions over $50. I'm sure that folks much more knowledgeable than me could come up with ways to improve the security of our credit card transactions.
 
Joined
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Aberdeen, WA USA
Sorry for your misfortune, Sandy, but the devices are not the criminals...

As Lurker pointed out there are legitimate reasons for these devices... Dealers that sell
at Flea Markets or roadside/sidewalk stands, many delivery people or service people, the
list goes on and on... Especially in this age when people carry less cash and more plastic,
like yourself (and me too) for example... Businesses that only accept cash find themselves
loosing business, and sometimes even going out of business, because of it... Even the guy
with the hot dog-stand or pretzel-cart needs to accept plastic and, therefore, needs these
devices... How often did you actually use cash on your vacation...?

Nefarious people will always use whatever they can to steal from you... Before these devices
existed (back in the "old" days) thieves would just swipe your card with one of those machines
that used a carbon copy receipt (remember those machines)... They'd swipe half a dozen of
those receipts before bringing back your card and then submit them to the CC company for
payment... Back in those days you wouldn't know about it for at least a month (or even more)
because there was no internet to check your account, you had to wait for your "snail-mailed"
statemtent...

At least today you can monitor your account instantly and regularly and catch it before it gets
really bad... :wink:
 
Joined
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Aberdeen, WA USA
Instead of looking at card readers, they should probably look at ways to ensure the transaction is valid when the charge card is used. An example might be a pin number that you would have to punch in on a keypad for transactions over $50. I'm sure that folks much more knowledgeable than me could come up with ways to improve the security of our credit card transactions.

I agree...

When I buy online they usually ask for that number on the back of my card to
verify that I'm in possession of the card... I also have pin numbers for all of my
cards but to date I've never been asked to punch it in for a POS transaction, they
always just have you sign the electronic pad... I think anyone could sign the pad
and it would accept it... Pin numbers would be more secure, I think, both at POS
and online...
 
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Joined
Jul 29, 2007
Messages
1,027
Location
SW Florida
Sorry for your misfortune, Sandy, but the devices are not the criminals...

As Lurker pointed out there are legitimate reasons for these devices... Dealers that sell
at Flea Markets or roadside/sidewalk stands, many delivery people or service people, the
list goes on and on... Especially in this age when people carry less cash and more plastic,
like yourself (and me too) for example... Businesses that only accept cash find themselves
loosing business, and sometimes even going out of business, because of it... Even the guy
with the hot dog-stand or pretzel-cart needs to accept plastic and, therefore, needs these
devices... How often did you actually use cash on your vacation...?

Nefarious people will always use whatever they can to steal from you... Before these devices
existed (back in the "old" days) thieves would just swipe your card with one of those machines
that used a carbon copy receipt (remember those machines)... They'd swipe half a dozen of
those receipts before bringing back your card and then submit them to the CC company for
payment... Back in those days you wouldn't know about it for at least a month (or even more)
because there was no internet to check your account, you had to wait for your "snail-mailed"
statemtent...

At least today you can monitor your account instantly and regularly and catch it before it gets
really bad... :wink:


I'm still standing my ground on this. Let's use the example of controlled substances and items (medications and guns for example). There are plenty of measures to ensure neither guns nor certain medications get into the hands of people without proper permissions (yes, there are instances when they do make it into the hands of criminals, but these are the exception and usually highly publicized).

Why can't there be then a control system where either a legitimate business license or other form of verifiable information is required before online vendors sell these skimmers to people? Kind of like having a legitimate prescription if you buy meds or a gun dealer's license if you want a firearm shipped to that location? With today's technology, why can't the government impose a system where a tracking number is required to be tagged on to points of sale with these skimming devices?

Again, these online vendors are supplying tools to criminals knowing they are doing so.

My solution? I suggest there be a law passed where businesses that are proven to have had a gas pump or cash register compromised due to a skimmer be held liable for both civil and criminal action. Somewhat Draconian? Maybe. But that will be the kick in the rear needed to ensure that gas stations and retailers take better measures to prevent people from placing skimmers on their property.
 
Joined
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Newcastle
:confused:

The USA has clearly enacted some pretty sweeping legislation recently without letting on to the rest of us...

/OT

Here, Chip & PIN is ubiquitous, although some banks & retailers now offer a "contactless" version, which I personally think is a step backward...
 
Joined
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Aberdeen, WA USA
Sandy, I know you're upset but what your saying isn't even practical or logical...

If I was a waiter and you handed me your card I could simply, using a pencil and a piece of paper, write
down your name, CC number and the security code from the back of your card... Since many places like
restaurants also require identification I'd probably be getting your address and drivers license number
too... Then sell that info to someone who will use it to steal from you... Knowing you are on vacation and
that you probably won't be checking your account for awhile makes it even easier, and I never needed to
"swipe" your card to do it...

The device isn't evil and it's not a criminal, the person stealing from you is... The simplist way to combat
this kind of thing from happening is to regularly check your account for unauthorized transactions... Even
while, and especially when, you are on vacation...

And to take it even farther the days of "physical" cash is rapidly coming to an end... They day will come,
faster than you may think, when the only way someone can give you money is with a card... When you
sell something at your yard-sale, when you sell your car or your old couch "you" will need to swipe "their"
card to get paid, and you'll need a device (probably your smart phone) to do it... :wink:
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2007
Messages
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Location
SW Florida
Sandy, I know you're upset but what your saying isn't even practical or logical...

If I was a waiter and you handed me your card I could simply, using a pencil and a piece of paper, write
down your name, CC number and the security code from the back of your card... Since many places like
restaurants also require identification I'd probably be getting your address and drivers license number
too... Then sell that info to someone who will use it to steal from you... Knowing you are on vacation and
that you probably won't be checking your account for awhile makes it even easier, and I never needed to
"swipe" your card to do it...

The device isn't evil and it's not a criminal, the person stealing from you is... The simplist way to combat
this kind of thing from happening is to regularly check your account for unauthorized transactions... Even
while, and especially when, you are on vacation...

And to take it even farther the days of "physical" cash is rapidly coming to an end... They day will come,
faster than you may think, when the only way someone can give you money is with a card... When you
sell something at your yard-sale, when you sell your car or your old couch "you" will need to swipe "their"
card to get paid, and you'll need a device (probably your smart phone) to do it... :wink:


There has to be a better solution to this problem. I know that my ideas are somewhat extreme, but something needs to change.

As for the cash issue, I think the opposite is taking place. I predict more people will be going back to cash transactions in the future. The more people get burned by skimmers, the less enthusiastic they will be about using electronic payment methods. I for one will be using cash for the next several months until the sting of this skimming theft is farther behind me.

My wife and I were thinking about driving back to Disney this weekend with our kids as we usually do every other weekend, but I am too upset with this whole fraud thing to consider going back for awhile. While not my immediate intent, Disney and the city of Lake Buena Vista will lose out on my money this week thanks to the thief who skimmed my card.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
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Location
Los Angeles, CA
I buy tons of stuff online and in my estimation, my card gets illegally used at least once a year. I think I actually got used to it. I simply call my bank (Logix) and they return the money right away while they investigate the case. One time I saw that someone had charged $250 and $100 on a Target store in Ohio. I called my bank and I told them that I've never been to Ohio. They said that whoever charged my card ACTUALLY had the physical card in his/her hands. I said that's impossible because I have the actual card right here. They said they will look into it but I got reimbursed right away and they sent me a new card with new number.

At first I was really upset and bothered that someone used my card, but after 3 stealings, I got used to it. As long as I get my money back, we're good. Don't let it bother you.
 
Joined
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As for the cash issue, I think the opposite is taking place. I predict more people will be going back to cash transactions in the future. The more people get burned by skimmers, the less enthusiastic they will be about using electronic payment methods.

I don't know Sandy.. I hate carrying cash. It's dirty, and if you lose your wallet, you're screwed.

I for one will be using cash for the next several months until the sting of this skimming theft is farther behind me.

Don't lose your wallet :smile:
 
Joined
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Messages
10,008
Location
Aberdeen, WA USA
There has to be a better solution to this problem. I know that my ideas are somewhat extreme, but something needs to change.

Things are changing but, like everything else, it takes time... Ways to prevent theft are invented and then
the thieves invent ways to get around them... It's a never ending "war" that has been going on since the
time we slept in trees and ate our meat raw...

The next step will probably be bio-metrics... They are making finger print scanners now that not only
scan your print but also sense whether you are a living person... I "think" it reads whether you have
a heart beat and a bio-electric field... This prevents someone from simply using a copy of your print
or, in the worst case, cutting off one of your digits and using that...

You may not think so right now but credit cards are a lot safer than cash... With fraud protection you will
probably eventually get your "electronic" money back and you didn't suffer any physical injury in the theft
of it... With cash you'd probably never get it back and, God forbid, you could be seriously hurt or killed in
the taking of it... :wink:
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
SW Florida
I buy tons of stuff online and in my estimation, my card gets illegally used at least once a year. I think I actually got used to it. I simply call my bank (Logix) and they return the money right away while they investigate the case. One time I saw that someone had charged $250 and $100 on a Target store in Ohio. I called my bank and I told them that I've never been to Ohio. They said that whoever charged my card ACTUALLY had the physical card in his/her hands. I said that's impossible because I have the actual card right here. They said they will look into it but I got reimbursed right away and they sent me a new card with new number.

At first I was really upset and bothered that someone used my card, but after 3 stealings, I got used to it. As long as I get my money back, we're good. Don't let it bother you.

Thanks Joseph! My bank told me it would take 7 to 10 days. Looks like the thieves cloned my card but did not use my pin number. The only times I use my card with a pin number is when I get cash from an ATM. I usually use it as a credit card at gas pumps.

I'm sure that this is much more common than I expect, but it still really irritates me! It's not fair that that these thieves get away with this without any consequences. :mad: Something in the system definitely needs to change.
 

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