Card Skimming Incidents Continue to Grow

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Card Skimming Incidents Continue to Grow


WEST WENDOVER, Nev. – Pay-at-the-pump card skimming attacks are a growing concern. Despite press coverage and education efforts, skimming incidents continue unabated, according to a Bank Info Security report.

What makes fraudsters so dangerous is once they notice a town or city is educated to the point it can prevent such attacks, they move on to other locations where card skimming is less known, the report noted.

West Wendover is the latest locale to see skimming attacks grow exponentially. Police have issued a warning at ATMs and pay-at-the-pump gasoline terminals here. "I get the sense that this community in Nevada is, perhaps, somewhat new to the experience of gas pump skimming," John Buzzard, monitor for credit report agency FICO's Card Alert Service, told the news outlet. "It's not uncommon for small communities to inherit the problems of larger cities nearby, as fraudsters migrate their scams to areas where consumers are less aware of the possibility of having their payment cards skimmed."

Card skimming attacks are expected to continue because law enforcement penalties are not strict enough, said Chuck Groat, vice president of bankcard risk management at Zions Bank. "Pay-at-the-pump skimming is still really easy to perform, and I don't believe the proper incentives or penalties are in place to reduce these types of attacks from a merchant perspective," he said.

In addition, Groat said the expense of upgrading gas stations is too daunting for convenience store owners. "Investing in new technology may be higher than the perceived cost of any reputational risk," he added. "Or they just have a mindset of, 'It will never happen to me, so why take any proactive measures?'"

To help trim the number of skimming incidents, Robert Siciliano, a consultant and fraud expert, said c-store owners must unite to fight back. Banks have had limited success counteracting similar problems at ATMs.

"[C-store owners] don't stand a chance in fighting this crime unless they collectively make significant changes and upgrades in the security of their existing technologies," he told Bank Info Security.

and MasterCard have recognized the skimming problem and are both trying to help retailers. The credit card companies have announced card technology enhancements that must be completed between 2013 and 2015.