Tech Jungle

Beware Credit Card fraudsters around
August 5, 2007, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Technology, Tutorials

Credit Card Skimmer

Be alert when you swipe your credit card or even flash it. A new menace is lurking around in the city – a small gadget that has the ability to copy your credit card details in a fraction of time.And even more the culprit may be the innocent looking cashier or waiter or petrol pump attendant or even the pretty girl sitting next to you.Police also got a shock when they came to know of the presence of this small three inch gadget called “SKIMMER” by ceasing from the Bangladeshi touts who duped a jeweler with a cloned credit card. The police fear that these touts are not the only ones using Skimmers to clone the credit card and take advantage of. Investigators have also warned that these Skimmers can also be used to clone the details from the PAN card, driving license, ATM debit card etc. The beauty of these skimmers is that they copy the details with precision that the owner doesn’t even come to know that the card has been copied till the time a huge bill is served on him for a purchase made in his home country or UK, US where he never visited in his life time.
Skimming is turning out to be a huge menace worldwide with Singapore, Japan and Indonesia recording a 45% spurt in such crimes. In the early versions of skimmers the credit cards had to be swiped in the gadget whereas modern versions are far more sophisticated. Now the fraudsters have to be in the arms length distance of the card being swiped to copy all the details without ever touching the victim’s card.
What’s more scary is that this gadget “Skimmer” is available in the market for only Rs.7000 to Rs.10000. This makes it pretty handy to buy.

What is Card Skimmer?

A Skimmer is a battery operated magnetic device, up to three inches long. The device is manufactured to copy the details of the magnetic strip on the credit card, driving license, debit card or PAN card. These details are then used to make a cloned card which can be used easily to dupe the original owner of the card. This device cost between Rs.7000 to Rs.10000 and can be purchased online as well.

Credit Card Skimmer
The device is used mostly at retail outlets: Bars, Restaurants, shopping complexes and petrol stations. It has been reported that sometimes the employees are involved in the racket of cloning the cards and duping the original owner.

The person who stole the information of the card using the skimmer may use the information on his own or sell the information to a bigger racket. This bigger racket may even use this information to make cards and use in the foreign country. A single skimmer can copy up to 12000 cards information.

How to safe guard yourself from Credit Card related thefts?

Credit card, debit card and related fraud are a multi million dollar industry throughout the world. It’s been reported that fraudsters in UK itself netted 504.80m pounds in 2006 through this crime.

Here’s is how you can safeguard your card:

1. Don’t let the vendor take your card out of your site such as in Petrol pumps where the attendant takes card and swipe it for the charge.
2. Always checks the receipts and bank statements after each transaction made by you. If possible verify by calling up the credit card help line for the recent transaction made.
3. Subscribe to the Alert facility, which comes for free. This will enable you to know the transaction and its amount made from your credit card whenever your card is swiped for any transaction.
4. Interestingly, a credit card receipt is enough to make a replica of the card you own. In US, customers are advised to shred the receipts after verification.
5. Keep changing the PIN number of the card. And never write it on any paper as anyone can access the papers and take advantage. Also don’t use date of birth, anniversary as these can be easily guessed.
6. Don’t use same PIN for all the cards you own.

That’s not enough, in case of ATM’s :

1. If you suspect the ATM has been tampered in any way or if you find any shady characters around, simply walk away and report your suspicions to the bank.
2. If you see a strange object/gadget near the card slot, don’t insert your card. Keep an eye out for the miniature camera (these records your PIN).

3. When keying in your PIN cover your hand with the other palm. This way you can hide the PIN number details.

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