As the biggest shopping event of the year grows nearer, Black Friday, data thieves will be out to steal personal data by tampering with checkout machines in department stores, supermarkets, gas stations and even doctors’ offices.
Their main target is debit card account numbers and PINs.
Technology may make purchasing easier and faster than ever before, but it definitely is also making it easier for criminals to find means of stealing your money.
Ever since big retailers have improved their networks and expanded use of encryption to thwart hackers, now the data thieves have moved on to target debit card data when unprotected in a public setting during the swipe and PIN-entry process. These thieves are posing as repairmen and installing skimmers and storage devices that capture account numbers from the magnetic strips on a card and the PIN number that is keyed in by the customer into the payment terminal. The debit card account number and PIN is quickly converted into cash up to its limit at an ATM because for about $200, a thief can embed a stolen payment card number onto a blank magnetic striped card and with the associated PIN and bingo! Free cash.
Just recently, Barnes & Noble disclosed that thieves got away with installing corrupted checkout terminals in 63 bookstores in 9 states. 63?!? The case is undergoing a thorough investigation, but they have yet to know how many customers were affected. Also, Verizon had issued a data-breach investigation unit and it was noted that thieves have begun targeting terminals used by patients for co-payments and deductibles at health services facilities. Verizon annually investigates several hundred data-breach cases and reports on trends, but does not disclose names of the victimized companies.
So once a consumer’s debit card has been emptied by the thief, there is little he/she can do. Banks do not have to work with the victims of fraud involving a debit card at a point-of-service terminal. Other than avoiding the use of debit cards at POS terminals, there probably is little a consumer can do.
Any advice? Sure…
Switch to a credit card.
Here at Donald J. Medeiros Insurance Agency our goal is to try to help our viewers by suggesting solutions for all needs. By no means can we address each reader’s specific concerns in every incident. So, we strongly advise to check with a professional to address your specific needs. However, you can also contact us for any insurance questions or concerns and we will be happy to help you. We offer a complete line of auto insurance, homeowners insurance and commercial insurance products for all of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.