by Mike Masnick

Credit Card Thieves Using Portable Scanners

from the there-goes-your-credit-card dept

A couple weeks ago, while out of town, I was paying for dinner at a hole-in-the-wall diner and noticed that the guy at the cash register swiped my credit card through two different readers. Something went off in my head, but I didn't think more about it until after I had left the restaurant, and now I'm a bit concerned. I haven't received my latest credit card statement, but I'll be checking it more carefully than usual. It doesn't make me feel any safer to read this article in the NY Times about the growing popularity of handheld credit card swiping machines that many scammers are taking advantage of. Scammers will scan as many credit cards as they can, and then sell the numbers to other criminals. Some waiters are even wearing the scanners on the their belt, since most people have no idea what they are or what they look like. Some have gotten more creative, such as fitting the scanner into a hollowed out beeper or the one case of someone who attached it to an ATM machine with a sign saying it was a credit card/ATM card "cleaner" for people to use. The scariest part, of course, is that there's really not much you can do to prevent this, other than trying to be aware of the risks - and checking over your credit card bill carefully.

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  • identicon
    Laurent Clause, 13 Mar 2003 @ 6:35am

    you's better use smart cards

    We do't have such problem in France with our credit cards using a chip since about ten years. That's what you call Smartcards in US. And we cannot pay without a personal 4 digits code.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Typo Police, 13 Mar 2003 @ 6:42am


    "ATM machine" is the same as saying "UK Kingdom" or "USA Amercia".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chris, 13 Mar 2003 @ 8:43am

    No Subject Given

    As much as I like the convenience of charging everything and writing one check a month to AMX, I'm starting to think that maybe its time to go back to using cash for most of my transactions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Phibian, 14 Mar 2003 @ 5:27am

    Now you're concerned?

    Mike, can't you check your transactions before you get your statements (by phone or online)? If so, you should, because the faster you report a problem, the better.
    Really, you should have cancelled the card right away (asking your credit card issuer to send you a new one under that circumstance is easy) - and it's not too late to do so.
    Also, if there are fraudulent charges, I hope you don't pay your balance automatically (direct debit), because payment of your balance (whether automatic or not) is considered to be acceptance of the charges, and it is a lot more difficult to get paid charges reversed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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