Scammers and thieves are constantly coming up with new ways to steal your hard-earned money. While card readers become more sophisticated, scammers and thieves are meeting that sophistication with new, inventive ways to steal your card information. Here are 3 things you didn’t know about card readers as well as how thieves are taking advantage of card reader technology.
1. Card Readers Can be Faked
Entire credit card readers can be faked by thieves. While you think you’re using a credit card reader at an ATM or business, it might actually be a fake reader that is stealing your card information.
At an ATM, you’re likely holding your hand over the PIN pad, so thieves can’t see you enter the pin. They don’t need to see you enter a pin when scanning your card will give them all the data they need directly from your card. The data that the skimmer copies is used to create a duplicate card that thieves will sell to others.
Often the thieves will use a skimmer over a weekend when the banks are not open. They’ll add one to an ATM that isn’t in a busy area since they don’t want to be seen adding the piece. It’s easier to use a different ATM than go through the hassle of losing your money even if the bank or credit card issuer will take the charges off your account.
2. Many Businesses Passed the Chipped Card Reader’s Deadline
While many card owners received a new card in the mail, there are many who did not. New debit cards with embedded chips were supposed to be mailed out by October 1, 2015, but that deadline passed with only a certain percentage of people receiving their new cards.
With this information, thieves are sending email to millions of people claiming to be their credit card issuer needing information about their account. When the person clicks on the included link, they end up on a scammer’s website providing account information directly to the thieves. Clicking the link can also cause malware to be installed.
New cards should have been delivered already, but if they aren’t, your credit card issuer doesn’t need you to email vital account data to them. They have your information. Credit card chip readers don’t exist in all locations anyway, and some are not working properly either.
3. Chipped Card Readers Don’t Need PIN Numbers
All the hoopla about chip card readers doesn’t mean that you’re completely safe from fraud and thieves. Scammers are still able to steal cards and data with the use of skimmers, and in some readers, they don’t need PIN numbers to work their thieving magic on your bank account.
Previously, when a card was stolen, the thief would need a PIN number to remove any money from the card. With the chip reader cards, they don’t always need a PIN, which makes it much easier to steal money from you. While they still need to create a chip for the card, which is harder to replicate, it’s not always needed since not all card readers are current with chip technology.
This is especially true in Europe. An upgraded card reader might only require a signature or the chip alone. You should never relax when it comes to making sure your card isn’t stolen.
Keep your card safe from hackers by shielding the PIN pad with your hand. If you notice that there’s a weirdness to the ATM you’re about to use, avoid it and report your suspicions to the bank. Merchants should be checking their card readers often to ensure that a skimmer or sniffer wasn’t added to the machine.
“While chip card readers are not completely hack-proof, they are tremendously effective at protecting consumers from hackers and thieves,” said Pointman Inc. You’ll still have to use common sense when responding to emails from hackers. Don’t give out personal information that might be used to steal your money.