Swiping your credit card can be dangerous: Beware of Credit Card Skimming at ATMS and Gas Stations

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"Skimming" is one of the newest ways thieves have found to steal your information from credit and debit cards. For as little as a hundred bucks, criminals can purchase card readers to use as a handheld device or installed into ATM machines to swipe your card -and information, without your knowledge. Rogue employees in restaurants, stores and gas stations, simply slide your card through the device and information on your card is easily copied. The card is then returned to you, and the stolen information is later downloaded to a computer where the information can either be sold on the web, or deposited onto a blank credit card.

Here are a few of the latest stories:

Using an ATM can be convenient, but it can also be risky if you're not careful.

 Experts said identity theft involving ATMs is on the rise.

A new study found that there is a higher rate of identity theft involving ATMs in convenience stores because they are more susceptible to tampering. It's a process called skimming.

"There are devices that can be inserted into the card slots of ATMs that will copy the magnetic info of the backs of credit cards," Kansas City police Master Sgt. Jim Schriever said.

Experts said that ATMs owned and operated by banks are most secure when it comes to protecting personal information.

 "I've seen them in courtyards or attached to convenience stores, and you actually don't know who the owner is and what they're doing with that info," Schriever said. MORE


ATM thieves have drained $2 million from bank accounts across the country without ever touching a machine.

They targeted people using Citibank ATMs at 7-Eleven stores nationwide.

Investigators said the thefts are part of a disturbing trend where hackers break into servers containing PIN information. The ID thefts took place between October and March.

McAfee security experts said the ATM operators or manufacturers did not properly encrypt the data.

"They did not take the proper steps to safeguard their data. To know someone isn't doing their job to protect our pin numbers and our cards makes you feel insecure," McAfee's Vimal Solank said.

Security experts advise people to change their PIN often and shop with companies they know.


Restaurant Owner Charged with Stealing Credit Card Numbers

South Florida/Sun-Sentinel/Federal prosecutors have charged a Broward County restaurateur with stealing credit card numbers from customers and ringing up more than $100,000 in fraudulent charges.

Bruce Horner, 54, of Coral Springs, is also accused of depositing 59 bad checks worth $4.6 million into his personal bank account. He withdrew roughly $400,000 before bank officials realized the checks would not be honored, according to charges unsealed Thursday.

The transactions took place between March 2007 and Feb. 2008, and Horner used the proceeds to pay personal and family expenses, the charging document states.

Horner is expected to plead guilty next week to conspiracy, bank fraud and wire fraud charges and could be sentenced to more than 20 years in prison. His attorney declined to comment.

According to prosecutors, Horner ran the fraudulent charges through a merchant credit card terminal established under a stolen identity. He used roughly 50 credit card numbers obtained from customers at Wat a Lunch n More in Tamarac and funneled the deposits into various bank accounts set up by accomplices, prosecutors alleged.

Horner sold the restaurant in May 2007. New owner Richard Collins said he cooperated with authorities and the restaurant no longer records credit card numbers. More


State police seeking pair in 'card-skimming' probe

MIDDLETOWN - Labeling them as "persons of interest," Pennsylvania State Police are distributing photos of two men as they continue to investigate a series of credit-card "skimming" incidents.

According to state police, Wawa locations in Delaware, Chester, Montgomery and Bucks counties, as well as New Castle, Del., have had skimming devices placed inside the gas pumps as far back as April.

A co-op in Bryn Mawr appears to have been compromised in early June.

The culprits have used the stolen debit-card information to make withdrawals from ATM machines at Wawa and 7-Eleven stores throughout the area, in addition to casinos in Atlantic City, N.J.  MORE

Beware of credit card skimmers

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Writing checks is becoming a thing of the pass, but seem like it should be the new future considering the skimming that's going on. How can this be avoided. What in the world is this world coming to? I thought I saw on the news where you can ask your credit card company to to give you a card with a magnetic strip or strip of steel across your credit to avoid thieves. I just don't know.

Edna -Thanks for commenting. You are right about the dangers of skimming as thieves get aggressive and innovative it's becoming increasingly difficult to avoid be a victim of some type of fraud. Checks are not the answer either. Unfortunately they know how to take account numbers and recreate bogus checks. And remember, if a thief gets their hands on your debit card or check book -they can clean out your account. Credit cards are the better way to go...

The best thing any of us can do is to take all precautionary measures to lessen the impact and have a plan of action. I often say, the best way to prevent an identity theft -is to be prepared for one!

As a victim and advocate, it's important to understand that if it happens once, odds are pretty good it will happen again because criminals sell our information to multiple thieves. It wasn't until after I was hit several times that I set out to learn how I could make the mess be less cumbersome, frustrating and costly -both financially and emotionally. I became a LifeLock subscriber because I didn't want to do the work -or be on the hook for losses -anymore!

Because LifeLock likes my message of education and awareness they give a 20% discount to those who use the promo code: denise.

In doing so -it's a mere $88.00 a year or $8.00 a month -whichever plan you utilize. Then as a LifeLock subscriber -if you become one of the tens of millions to be notified of a data compromise or theft, or your wallet is lost of stolen, it's their problem -and not yours. They make the calls, replace cards, bail you out of jail, etc. etc...

They promise to "fix" the mess and they back that promise up with $1 million dollar guarantee. Nowadays, having a plan of action, knowing what, where and how to restore your identity if stolen is vital -but having someone else do the preventative and restorative work gives great peace of mind -and that is priceless!!

Thanks for letting me know that I'm not the only one who is struggling with personal debt. I lost my job recently and have not been able to find anything in my field. I have stopped using all of my credit cards. And I now always pay cash for everything. I didn't figure that I would ever get into this kind of a situation.

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