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How Your Credit Card Can Be Hijacked

Updated on May 13, 2011

Hi, welcome to our wonderful store full of wonderful arts and crafts. Hi, welcome to our Chrevron gas station, our Shell gas station. Hi, welcome to Safeway. OMG, Macy's has great cosmetics and clothes, will this be cash or credit\debit? Debit? Not a problem.

Yet.

You never know when you are about to be looted nowadays. It can happen anywhere in second and until your bill arrives, you think everything is cool. That is what several customers of the Michael's Arts and Crafts store chain in 20 states, thought. Then the bill came- $1400 was looted from his account or charged. 

How?

The customer's cards are hijacked without anyone knowing about it because of the small skimmers thieves had inserted into store's machines, unbeknownst to even them. The skimmers actually duplicate the card and steal the date on that small magnetic strip. As the owner enters their PIN numbers, a small hand-held card reader and pinhole camera to montor the customer's finger movements.The info is now sent to the thieves who create a duplicate car of yours and then use the card with the stolen PIN to access ATMs and take all your money and run.

Is this scary or what?

Thieves stole at least 90 customers credit\ATM car info who shop at Michaels. The store in in California. This happened last year to a major grocery store outlet back east and most of the skimmers try with ATM\Debit cards so that can take loot instantly. Criminals have also targeted gas stations. Cards with chips are more secure than those with magnetic strips, but how much more?

Since the criminals must physically install the skimmers at the POS, cashiers are frequently distracted away by a group, and while away, they install the device. They also do this by posing as repairmen of the equipment. It is a quick switch because the new machine already has the skimmer, so the repairman simply tells the cashier is defective and replace it. Now they are real business. Usually, compromised accounts have denominations of $500 or more gone, that was the tipoff  security analysts found and also from the same location. So, check your accounts frequently and report any unrecognized losses.

Now, the old saying, "Buyer beware" really does have truth to it!

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