Police in Florida have issued a warning to consumers about a new type of slipover credit card skimmer that can be installed by thieves in the blink of an eye, as reported by TechWorm. A credit card skimmer can now be easily installed on the credit card terminals of stores, so fast that even management and clerks may be unaware.
Surveillance footage from a Miami Beach gas station shows three men enter and approach an employee at the counter. One man appears to distract the clerk while another stealthily slips a credit card skimmer over the point-of-sale terminal on the counter. Two of the men then appear to pay for items with cash.
Sometime later, the employees noticed the skimmer and called the police. According to reports, Florida authorities do not believe the device was able to transmit data: it is thought that the perpetrators would need to retrieve the device in order to obtain information gathered. Thankfully, the police came into possession of the skimmer before the would-be fraudsters could come back. The identity of the men does not appear to have yet been determined.
Krebson Security maintains a lengthy list of card skimmers in use by criminals today. The slipover model employed by the Florida gas station trio would seem to be extremely difficult to monitor. It would seem that customers of this station were quite fortunate that the police were informed of the skimmer’s existence before the crooks could return. It would also not seem surprising to see fraudsters employ such devices in more targeted attacks, installing the device to record the personal data of one particular person, and then quickly removing it once the desired data had been captured. Notwithstanding what would seem to be an obvious appeal of card skimmers to perpetrators of crimes targeting individuals, those who target more random groups would seem to have a brave new world of personal data and hard-earned money to target. Consumers take note.
In 2011, the FBI reported on a credit card skimming scheme that involved two brothers who were able to defraud two banks for a total of close to $1 million by installing devices on ATMs similar to what was employed by the Florida gas station schemers. In the past, installing a card skimmer required at least a short amount of time with no one else around. The new slipover card skimmers would seem to change the entire game.
Though card skimmers have been found just about everywhere, credit card terminals and ATMs in more isolated locations, sometimes left with little supervision for short periods, are seen as being more susceptible to skimmer fraud. Slipover credit card skimmers of the type seen in the video would appear to change the playing field for fraudsters. Instead of being relegated to quiet, back-alley ATMs, fraudsters can now attempt to set-up shop in a credit card terminal in any location where they are permitted to stand in line.
Staying abreast of the latest technology in use by scammers, as well as keeping alert when making purchases, goes a long way toward not becoming a victim. Look for signs that credit card terminals, ATMs, and other point-of-sale devices have been tampered with, such as pry marks, cracks, or other damage, and peeling paint or stickers.
The FBI also warns that skimmers are frequently found in tourist areas and that consumers must remember to shield others, or surveillance cameras, from viewing PIN numbers when using credit card terminals. Bank Rate reports that one out of five victims of fraud had their credit card PIN numbers stolen. Even with the newest slipover credit card skimmers, ATM machines located indoors would seem to pose less risk than those located outdoors.
Anyone who recognizes the men in the Florida gas station video has been asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.
[Photo illustration by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]