Credit card skimming is a problem that is growing around the world at an alarming rate. It has become so common because it is incredibly easy to do! In the hope that this information makes you more vigilant with your security, the Skimguard team will reveal to you just how easy it is for common thieves to steal your identity, personal details, and money in just five steps.
Convenience for all
The convenience of RFID chip enabled items is impossible to deny. All you have to do is look back at the people waiting in the long lines at the airport while you step right through security after one scan of your 'e-passport,' to appreciate the time it saves us. Purchases are much quicker and more convenient too, requiring nothing more than a simple wave of a bank card above an RFID card reader. We have embraced these items because they save us time and effort but at what cost?
Unfortunately, RFID chips are convenient for thieves too. With just a few easy-to-acquire tools, thieves can skim your bank card details and spend your money undetected. If you do realise that it has happened, it will be when you check your bank statement at the end of the month and see a transaction at a strange retailer that you cannot recall- in other words, far too late.
What does a skimmer look like?
When you picture a skimmer, the image of a tech genius may come to your mind. Forget that. While it was initially pioneered by 'ethical hackers' to demonstrate just how insecure RFID technology is, it was quickly picked up by criminals. The truth is anyone can be a skimmer. If you can make a purchase on eBay, and connect a few computer cables, you can indiscriminately steal a stranger's credit card details.
This is how criminals are skimming...
Step 01_Hardware, Software
An RFID reader, a mag stripe reader and a laptop is all that’s required - as far as hardware is concerned. The RFID and mag stripe readers can be purchased online. The skimming software is installed on the laptop. That takes cares of step 1: not that difficult.
Step 02_Seek a crowd
Criminals conceal their laptop in a briefcase, or backpack, enter a crowded area, stand close to an unsuspecting victim, and the software installed on the laptop skims (steals) the victim’s credit card details.
Step 03_Stolen Data
The victim’s stolen data will display on the laptop.
The criminal then connects the mag stripe reader to the laptop, runs a blank card through the mag stripe reader, and embeds the victims card details on the blank card.
Then the criminal uses the counterfeited 'blank' to make unsolicited purchases. It’s that easy.
There's an app for that
Easier still, if you are capable of downloading an android app (more info), you are capable of being a skimmer. Skimmers can now download an app called NFC Proxy that uses the inbuilt NFC capabilities of their mobile phone to read the RFID chips of unsuspecting victims and then use that information to pay for purchases with the same phone.
What is NFC?
RFID technology requires one reader and one tag for a transmission of information to occur. These items are distinct. Your bank card is embedded with a RFID tag which communicates with the reader inside a point-of-sale terminal when in range. NFC (near field communication) works the same way, however, the NFC chip in your phone can act as both a reader or a tag depending on what the software tells it to do.