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CU System
Card fraudsters turn from high tech to old-school skimming
DES MOINES, Iowa (6/10/10)--Skimming is making a resurgence as a favorite method of card fraudsters to siphon cash, according to a new white paper from TMG (The Members Group). What is attracting fraudsters back to this "old school" method of theft? Fraudsters steal millions of dollars through skimming, and the skimming process is inexpensive, said Karen Postma, TMG Card Risk senior manager and author of the paper, "A Throw Back Threat." "High-profile data breaches achieved through high-tech thievery have been grabbing headlines steadily over the past five years, forcing criminals to dream up new and more devious ways to steal valuable information," said Postma. "Skimming, however, is a proven, relatively inexpensive way to grab small amounts of data over a very short period of time. A criminal with access to a couple thousand dollars and an Internet connection can procure a skimming device within a week, maybe less," she added. Skimming is achieved when a fraudster places a look-alike device over the card slot of an ATM or gas pump. The device can read the magnetic strip as credit, debit and prepaid cards pass through. It is often used with a pinhole camera that picks up the cardholder's personal identification number (PIN) as it is typed onto the keypad. This allows criminal access to the code before the PIN pad can encrypt it. The second installment of TMG's three-part series of white papers on fraud, "A Throw Back Threat" looks at skimming's comeback and some tricks-of-the-trade to help financial institutions combat this foe. "Staying on top of the latest and greatest in fraud tools and technologies is a must, of course. But, so too is keeping your eye on the mainstays of crime," says Postma. To download "A Throw-Back Threat," use the link. In the next few weeks, Postma will wrap up the series by unraveling how "Card Fraudsters Get Tricky with Travel." TMG is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Affiliates Management Company, which is owned by Iowa credit unions and their members.
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