‘Shimming’ new technique in credit card hacking

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If you thought that chip in your credit card protected it from hacks, think again.

Scammers have found a way around the new security measure with a technique called “shimming.”

It was only a year or two ago that new credit cards – with what’s called “EMV” technology, those embedded microprocessor chips – became available.

Those chips code each transaction for our protection.

But now, thanks to scammers, we’re targets once again.

Just a few years back, when swiping was the norm, scammers used skimming machines to read the card information.

And it didn’t take long, once the chip card replaced the magnetic strip, for scammers to catch up with the technology.

“What scammers are doing is they’re inserting a super thin device into the part where you insert your credit card, like the slot  — and they are stealing your credit card information,” said Hope Evans with the Better Business Bureau.

Evans says they’ve received reports across the country of this type of hacking.

The message to consumers: Be Cautious!

“When they are inserting their credit card into the slot, and there’s a lot of resistance, they should notify the merchant. And also, if you’re seeing any suspicious activity on your bank account, whether it be a charge that you know that you didn’t purchase, then you should notify the bank,” said Evans.

If you have tap-and-pay set up, either with your card or smartphone, that may be a good option because it’s more difficult for scammers to get your information.

And as an extra precaution, try to avoid the ATM, and instead go inside your bank to get cash.

Shimmers can be even more effective than skimmers because they can easily be inserted into indoor, in-store terminals.

And when the scammers go to retrieve the data, it just looks like they are paying.

(Thanks to our sister station, WSPA, for their assistance in the writing of this article)

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(This story was originally published May 17, 2018)

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