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Consumers and retailers still at risk from rogue employees and surprisingly organized criminal groups

Personal information stolen through the Internet remains a significant threat, but “real world” physical data theft when consumers increasingly use their debit and credit cards in public must be addressed, experts note.

Credit and debit card skimming, which traditionally involves attaching a reader to a PIN pad or similar device, has caused retailers and consumers trouble in the past.  Most recently, a major grocery store chain discovered a number of compromised self-checkout credit/debit card readers that were taken care of as quickly as possible, according to the store.

Save Mart, parent company of Lucky grocery stores, recently discovered credit/debit card readers in 20 San Francisco Bay Area grocery stores.  Specifically, the readers were found only in self-checkout lines, and Save Mart reportedly moved quickly to ensure offending scanners were taken offline.

Here is what Save Mart had to say:  "As a precaution, we recommend our customers who used a self check-out lane in the affected stores verify and monitor all credit/debit accounts with their financial institution to ensure everything is in order. For more information, we suggest you visit the Web site of the California Office of Privacy Protection or the Federal Trade Commission."

Lucky repaired all machines that were tampered with, and double checked all self-checkout credit card/debit card scanners in its 234 stores.  The store also apologized for "any inconvenience or concern" that was generated after this announcement was recently made public, and promised to ensure customers are informed of major issues.

US lawmakers continue to deal with an increase in credit card theft that ranges from tampered with credit card readers, spyware used on the Internet, and sophisticated theft by criminal gangs. 

There is a new threat of RFID card skimming, which involves criminals using electronic recorders able to wirelessly read the magnetic strips on bank cards.  These newer methods of theft pose problems for misinformed consumers and a court system unable to handle drastic changes necessary for evolving forms of crime and identity theft. 

Also of grave concern is the overall complexity of some criminal groups currently stealing credit card information from consumers.  For example, 28 people were recently indicted for their part in a credit card theft ring, in which seven waiters used skimmers to help steal information from high-limit credit cards -- and later created counterfeit IDs and credit cards to make purchases at designer stores across the east coast.

The battle against credit card skimming will continue into 2012, with grocery stores, gas stations, and consumer electronics retailers on the lookout for devices that have been tampered with.  Security experts warn consumers to remain vigilant when they use their credit card, along with checking bank statements online and when they arrive in the mail.

Sources: NY Times, SaveMart



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In God We Trust all Others Pay Cash
By LineOfSight on 12/1/2011 6:33:33 PM , Rating: 3
Seems to me with all the new fangled different ways to have your money stolen electronically we should go low tech, cash is still king in my pocket. I am a credit card merchant and cringe aevery time i receive an online sale or one over the phone, American Express just went up on their rates again but it's no longer the most expensive. Miles cards, reward cards, ect ect....are even worse... I hate you..... Pay with cash and the price will be cheaper and you won't have to worry about an electronic eye looking for your pin number. I specifically look for the cash price vs credit card gas pumps. Why do the card company's need 1.5% of the national GDP. 3%+++ if you are like me and accept then over the web or phone mail order.

Rant Rant Rant

But alas this probably the one only time I would suggest having the Government step up to the plate,take over and produce an SECURE electronic payment system that all citizens can use freely. Getting the banks 'Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and other Networks' out of this would relieve citizens and business of this spongesucking system. ....How about a palm reader...retna scanner....




By TheDoc9 on 12/5/2011 11:25:30 AM , Rating: 2
Some good ideas here but no thanks to the biometrics. 2 way password authentication would work just as well.

Cash is the most important thing people can use though, at the end of the day however criminals will have to change who they are for this to ever truly stop.


RFID can read magnetic strips?
By FrankJBones on 12/2/2011 3:44:37 PM , Rating: 2
"There is a new threat of RFID card skimming, which involves criminals using electronic recorders able to wirelessly read the magnetic strips on bank cards."

Magnetic Strips are read/written using Radio Frequency? i may have to deep fry my degree and eat it, you know, unless you are incorrect.




By EricMartello on 12/2/2011 6:03:58 PM , Rating: 2
Poor choice of words on the author's part. No, you cannot use an RFID scanner to read magnetic strips, but many newer cards do include an RFID chip which can be accessed by an RFID scanner and that's probably what he want to say. You don't even need to be close since the scanner has an effective range of 4-5 feet, so just standing in a crowd of people with an RFID scanner can net you some good loot. You can protect yourself by using a metal wallet or sleeving your RFID-embedded cards in a sleeve that blocks the RF signal.


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