What Is A Skimmer?
A skimmer is a device that’s attached to an ATM (Ready Teller, Cash Point, MB etc.) or any other kind of point-of-sale terminal that secretly steals credit and debit card information.
More often than not, the theft of information occurs when customers put their cards into the various machines in order to withdraw cash, or to pay for something.
Take a look at the two images, one is a regular ATM cash point, and the other one has a skimmer attached to it.
Would you have been fooled by the bottom one?
Most customers and even bank workers don’t notice them!
This particular skimmer was discovered on Dec. 6, 2009, and it was attached to the front of a Citibank ATM in Woodland Hills, Calif.
Why Are Skimmers In The News Right Now?
Because even David Marcus, who is the president of PayPal, just had his credit card details stolen, and the thieves later used the info to go on a major spending spree.
Marcus said on Twitter,
"The card was probably "skimmed" at the hotel that I stayed at, or at a merchant that I visited during a recent trip to the U.K.".
"They then cloned it and went on a shopping spree".
The EMV Chip Didn’t Help
Marcus noted that his stolen credit card had EMV chip technology, which is a supposedly a more secure system that’s currently in use all over Europe.
But EMV didn’t prevent the data from being stolen!
* EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa
Where Are Skimmers Being Used?
Well there are many different types of skimmer and they are being improved upon all the time.
But a very popular one can be attached to the card scanner in a supermarket.
These skimmers can be purchased for just a few hundred dollars, and just picture how much money a dishonest employee can make!
And just imagine a thief surreptitiously installing one at his local supermarket.
The skimmer might provide credit card information in the thousands for months!
At The Gas Pump Too
And many skimmers are operating at gas stations too!