Secret Service Warns of Gas Pump Skimmers This Holiday

Are you planning to get away for the Fourth of July? U.S. Secret Service has warned the public to watch out when using your credit card at the gas stations this holiday.

According to AAA, it’s going to be the busiest and craziest Fourth of July holiday in history. That’s why Secret Service agents from all of their 36 offices will be locating and recovering skimming devices from gas stations in 21 states during the holiday.

Skimmers are devices that detect and retrieve credit card information for the purpose of fraudulent activities. Gas stations are the number one target on prime holidays.

“Because today’s gas pumps are typically unattended, developing suspects and making arrests in skimming cases is difficult – but not impossible,” the agency said in a statement.

The team has recovered more than 70 skimmers when they researched and ran a campaign for the memorial day this year.

Credit card thieves are getting smarter with their strategies, and even experts may be fooled. But there is still a way to catch them.

Read here for tips on how to stay safe this Fourth of July holiday.

Beware Of New Credit Card Chip Scam

We may be learning about Virtual Reality and holographic technology in 2016, but the latest wave of scamming is taking a seemingly out-of-date approach with a new twist: E-mail.

Many of you have probably received new credit or debit cards with a little metallic square on the left side. If you’ve gone to the store or bank and tried to swipe the magnetic strip like you’ve been doing for decades, you’ve probably been told to “insert your card and leave it in until the transaction is complete.” That little square is actually an embedded microprocessor chip called an EMV (named after its developers: Europay, MasterCard, and Visa).

In a nutshell, when you swipe the original  magnetic strip, it contains unchanging data that can be replicated over and over again. When you use an EMV, it creates a unique transaction code that is valid only as long as the transaction is in process. By doing this, it adds an additional layer of security and ensures that your information cannot be duplicated.

This chip was designed to drastically reduce fraud in the U.S., since it has more than doubled over the past 7 years. The EMV is new to us in the USA, but has been around for over 20 years. France was the first country to implement EMV chips on credit/debit cards.

After noticing drastic fraud reduction in countries using EMV, the USA is giving it a go – and per usual, scammers are taking a different approach to try and gather your information. Since they know that gathering your transaction data is highly unlikely, they’re resorting to the old, fraudulent email tricks.

By faking email addresses and claiming to be your bank, scammers are sending fake email notices to customers informing them that their chip enabled cards are on the way – but in order for them to take effect, they must update their personal and banking info. The emails are said to look legitimate, using bank graphics and similar email addresses.

The 3 most important takeaways are as follows:

  1. Never reply to an email with ANY personal or banking information.
  2. Never click any links directly from an email. If you need to get to your bank page, type the URL in yourself to ensure the validity of the site you’re accessing.
  3. Never call a number from an email to give your information. If you need to speak to somebody or have questions about the legitimacy of the request, call the number on the back of your card and/or go into a branch location and speak to someone in person.

As for implementation of the EMV card, you will soon see EMV card readers in most places you go. Many major retailers have already transitioned, with man others to follow suit. Mobile card readers are also being updated to abide by the new laws. Automated fuel dispensers have until 2017 to make the change, but are currently following existing fraud liability rulings. Any other parties that haven’t adjusted could potentially face higher costs in the event of any large data breach. Just like when using software, the best thing you can do to ensure your security is to stay up-to-date on practices.

Always practice caution when you receive “bank emails,” or when dealing with anything that seems even the least bit suspicious. Remember to go directly to your trusted source before engaging in communication.