WASHINGTON -- As the art of skimming evolves, retailers need to be aware of some of the techniques and technologies criminals use to access data at their stores, said an agent with the Secret Service.
Steve Scarince, assistant to the special agent in charge, Los Angeles Field Office of the Washington, D.C.-based Secret Service, said criminals get more sophisticated with technology but often use simple devices and rouses to execute their crimes.
Here are a few hard and soft tricks to be aware of:
Criminals are using 3-D printers to replicate in stunning detail the cover of an in-store point-of-sale (POS) terminal. These devices can capture credit-card and personal identification numbers (PINs). The printer creates a polyurethane mold from which criminals can make 20 fake facades before the product shows defects. Thieves come into the store in pairs, with one distracting the cashier while the other installs the device. It can take four seconds.
3-D at the pump
With 3-D printers, criminals can also replicate outdoor POS, duping unsuspecting customers into using compromised card readers. Thieves will use many methods to install the devices, sometimes driving multiple cars and vans onto the lot to block a cashier’s view of the pump.
Altered card readers
Another trick criminals have used is to purchase inexpensive card readers and attach “parasite” computer boards to them. So instead of a something an inspector can readily see, the skimmer actually looks like part of the in-pump POS.