The New Undetectable Credit Card Fraud

Published on 30 January 2017 by Raffick Marday

The New Undetectable Credit Card Fraud
Now and then, credit card issuers come up with more sophisticated security mechanism to safe credit card transactions. It all started with the magnetic strip before advancing to the chip and pin technology. But just as these card issuers work hard on protecting you, so do fraudsters and other cons in thwarting their efforts.

If the recent reports by the British Columbian forces are anything to go by, credit card users have a reason to fear the new, highly efficient, and undetectable credit card fraud scheme, Shimmers. Here is a breakdown of this new crime method and tips on how you can still enjoy safe credit card transactions.

Definition of shimmers and its origin

If you have been using card transactions for long or following up on credit card news, you must have heard of the credit card fraud commonly referred to as Skimmers, the mother of Shimmers. Both of these credit card frauds adopt a similar method of stealing from their innocent victims, copying credit card data. But they are quite different in their data collection techniques.

For long, skimmers were used to swipe and read the magnetic strip on the credit card. To achieve this, different criminals adopted varied techniques of adding them to the ATMs and similar cash vending machines. In most cases, criminals would create a new ATM front and skillfully fix it atop the real one. Others have been known to strategically place cameras in the ATM booths and use them to capture credit card pins.

Nonetheless, the complexity of the entire skimmers process made it easy to detect this fraud and even avoid it. Do you wonder why you are always advised to cover the ATM keypad with your other hand when inputting your pin? That’s one way of avoiding skimmers. It is also quite easy to tell if the ATM has been tampered with by carefully looking at it before inputting your card details.

What makes Shimmering different?

Shimmers, on the other hand, are smart, innovative, and technologically complicated thereby making them hard to detect. It takes the form of a very thin card with an embedded flash storage and microchip. Unlike the skimmers fixed atop the keypad, shimmers cards are inserted into the ATM’s card reader.

The fact that they don’t interfere with the ATM activities or your current transactions makes them undetectable to both the user and the institutions running them. It also implies that these cards can lie around a single machine collecting and store credit card data for weeks unnoticed.

How to avoid shimmers

The fact that they are sophisticated doesn’t mean that they are out of control. Banks and card terminal agents can help reduce their effects by conducting daily checks on their systems. You too can ensure the safety of your card transactions by opting for tap-to-pay options where card terminals look poorly maintained or exposed to fraudulent activities.

Such include terminals with no security cameras that act as deterrents to fraudsters avoiding being caught. Until card issuers come up with a reliable shimmers detection method, you can also employ other burglar-proof payment and settlement options at your disposal such as Apple Pay.


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