Skimming And Scanning:
Don't Let Your Credit Cards Go Shopping Without You

So, you take last month’s credit card statement out of the envelope, look it over and realize something’s wrong.

Your eyes tick off a string of charges that you know for a fact you didn’t make— $188.85 at the Ultimate Beef Jerky Outlet? While you may adore the tasty dried meat snack, you would never spend more than $150 on jerky. Never.

Finally, you go total bitch-cakes when you do some further sleuthing and trace back the mysterious $38 eBay charge on your card to a chicken nugget that is allegedly shaped like Abe Vigoda’s nose.

So the damage has been done, but it’s not irreversible. Most credit card companies are willing to strike the unauthorized charges from your bill and refund your money—as long as you notify them within 60 days of the issued statement. But the real question is: If the card is still in my fanny pack, how did it happen?

Criminals employ a number of nefarious ways to lift your credit card and banking information without getting "go-go gadget arm" on your pockets (or fanny pack if that’s how you roll).

Read below to find solutions to two forms of fraud that are widely talked about today—skimming and scanning.

Skimming credit/debit card information at point of sale (POS) stations (i.e., ATMs, gas pumps and cash registers.)

While this scam has been around for several years, skimming was named one of "2010’s Top Fraud Trends." One example of skimming occurs when thieves use a "universal key" to open gas pumps and embed a device that captures card numbers. They also position a pinhole camera nearby that records the pin numbers. Fake cards are then encoded with the information and fiscal havoc ensues.

How do skim artists do this without getting caught? Sometimes it’s an inside job, orchestrated by an employee of the institution. Other times it’s just good scouting; crooks pick stations that don’t have adequate camera surveillance. And any of those other instances in between, it’s the devil’s work. Seriously....

Solution: Don’t use single-standing POS terminals in badly lit or deserted areas; they’re the most likely targets for skimmer action.

Or, break the senseless cycle of plastic and start using the paper stuff. It’s not always as convenient as charging it, but it’s beats the hassle of canceling your card, updating your information with online merchants, waiting to get your new card in the mail ... you get the point.

Scanning radio frequency identification (RFID) chips on your credit/debit card


So what’s up with the microchip that’s implanted in all the credit/debit cards these days? Well, it’s actually a radio transmitter, and this type of technology has been around since WWII. RFID chip embedment is everywhere, from shoes (inventory management) to humans (for healthcare and security reasons ... and electronic-based government mind control—sorry, Philip K. Dick’s ghost made me say that).

Although banks claim that RFID chips on cards are encrypted to protect information, its been proved that scanners—either homemade or easily bought—can swipe the cardholder’s name and number. (A cell-phone-sized RFID reader powered at 30 dBms (decibels per milliwatt) can pick up card information from 10 feet away.

And while there hasn’t yet been a recorded case of RFID fraud, many experts recognize that it would be difficult track and that the verdict is still out as to how scanners will affect consumers in the future.

Solution: Some people recommend wrapping your card or bill fold in aluminum, but do you really want to be that guy with the tin foil wallet?

Other less socially damning suggestions: Buy a card sleeve or wallet that blocks RFID transmissions, stack your cards together to mitigate some of the scanner’s ability to read information or leave your cards at home and only use cash in public places.

While proactively outfoxing the fraudsters is an admirable plan of attack, it may not always keep you safe; crooks have a way of staying one step ahead of everyone. The best protection is being doggedly aware of your spending. This means religiously reading your credit card statements every month and keeping track of your receipts as points of reference. And as far as plastic goes, sometimes it’s just better to leave home without it.


Digital Family Life
2012 Olympics Apps
4 Ways To Backup Music
5 Weather Apps
9 New Years Apps
Apps for Baseball
Best Movie Apps
Buy Baby Domain Name
Children, Sleep & Technology
Facebook Parenting
Father’s Day Gift Guide
Foodie Mania
Free Mobile Apps
Gamification and Sports
Get in Shape
Graduation Gift Ideas
Lose Your Smartphone or Tablet
Mobile Apps & Natural Disasters
Mobile Device at the Ballpark
Music in The Cloud
Parent's Guide to Online Safety
Phishing Scams
Sci-Fi/Fantasy Sites
Social Media & School - #1
Social Media & School - #2
Social Media & School - #3
Social Networking
Summer Vacation
Summer Vacation & Tech Usage
Tech Savvy Teens
Technology & Music
The Next Top Chef
Three Back-To-School Scams
Toddlers and Tablets
Tumblr Food Sites
Will Tablets Replace Laptops?
Wine & Mixology Sites
Mobile Security
3D Technology for Mobile
5 Phone Hacking Stories
7 Internet Security Lies
Best Apps for Vacation
Geolocation Services
Mobile Security Questions
Payment Technology
Prevent Phone Hacking
Smartphone & Tablet Security
Solar Powered Devices
Tax Refunds and Mobile
Voice Recognition & Security Threats
PC Security
5 Infographics
Computer Hackers & Predators
Computer Security Glossary
Computer Security Threats
Computer Virus Information
Credit Card Fraud
Email and Instant Message Activity
File Loss and Data Corruption
File Sharing and Downloads
Internet Browsing Safely
Internet Dangers
Internet Security FAQ
Interruptions from Popups & Spam
Malware Symptoms and Threats
Online Fraud Prevention
Online Identity Theft
PC Performance Problems
Phishing Scams
Prevent Malware Popups and Scams
Unexplained PC Behavior
You Are What You Google
Online Shopping & Banking
Banking Trends
Cool Music Apps
Credit Card Information
Credit Card Protection
Holiday Shopping Infographic
Holiday Shopping Tips
Mobile Fashionista
Top Music Sites
Digital Citizenship
Can Technology Save Lives?
Digital Grassroot Activism
Tech & Developing Countries
Cyberbullying & Online Predators
Online Activities
Your Child's Online Reputation
Managing your Online Reputation
Digital Communication Style
Job Hunt Identity
Social Networks & Privacy
Sure Footed Social Networking
Wipe Your Device