Skimming Rate in California Rises

Bob Styran, IT audit expert
February 09, 2011 /

Malicious card readers set up inside gasoline pumps in California for skimming tactics have become rampant all over the state, authorities said.

Thieves are now launching online attacks all over California to siphon the data contained in the debit or credit card of consumers, which they could use to make fund transfer from the accounts of the victims to theirs or when making purchases.

Skimming is a kind of mobile theft in which fraudsters put up a magnetic device on Automated Teller Machines or any other machines that allow monetary transactions to steal highly confidential information from ATM cards.

Since December lat year, cases of skimming in Sierra Madre, Los Angeles have reached 380, all occurring in gasoline stations, according to Los Angeles police records.

Debit card users have now grown in number. According to Nilson Report, debit card use has risen from 47.7 percent in 2003 to 58.9 percent in 2008. Experts are advising card users to be cautious when making payments.

On December, Brian Krebs, a former Washington Post security reporter who has conducted a study on skimming, shared in his security blog a series of videos detailing how skimmers have modified tactics that now make use of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM).

According to Krebs, the new skimming tactic developed by thieves could allow online theft in a matter of minutes through the GSM-based skimming that evolved from a wireless-based device.

Krebs revealed the information tipped to him by a skimmer that the GSM-enabled device makes skimming easier and faster that even when the police could arrive at the crime scene to remove the malicious device from the targeted machine.


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