Dostal & Kirk is an independent insurance agency dating back to 1875. We have offices in Bucyrus, Galion and Powell, Ohio. Dostal & Kirk can service all of your personal insurance, commercial insurance, life insurance and financial services needs. Follow our blog to stay up to date on agency and industry news. Our Mission is to build client relationships that are based upon three fundamental principles: trust, value, and service.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Be Alert for Skimmers and Scammers!
By: Mike Dockery & Matt Johnson
The Cincinnati Insurance Company
Before you swipe your bank card or credit card to make a payment
or complete a bank transaction, be alert for skimmer devices attached inside or
over the real card reader. Criminals use skimmers to capture the information
from the magnetic strip on credit or debit cards, gaining unauthorized access
to consumer accounts.
Skimmers have become increasingly prevalent as they are easy to
put in place. The skimmer device fits right over or inside the real card
reader. When the card is swiped, it passes through the skimmer before going
into the real reader. Skimmers have popped up at bank drive-through ATMs, gas
stations and other businesses, especially in remote locations or places that
are difficult to monitor.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your account
information stays safe.
Look before you swipe
Look for signs of tampering or bulkiness of the card reader you
are about to use. If it looks too thick, damaged, loose or just does not look
right, report it to the bank or business and use a different machine. Consumers
have even reported parts of skimmers coming off the ATM. The FBI offers additional
tips and illustrations of what to look for. If you see someone tampering with
or hanging around an ATM machine, report this information as soon as possible
to law enforcement or the bank or related business hosting the machine.
Sometimes criminals hang around machines to collect information via a Bluetooth
connection or wait for an opportunity to add a skimmer or make changes to a
Protect your chipped card
Many newer credit cards have radio frequency identification (RFID)
chips. The chips use a wireless, electromagnetic field to transmit information
across short distances. Criminals use small remote skimmers that can be
concealed in a pocket to collect information from the RFID chip. With these
skimmers, the card need not be physically swiped to compromise the information.
The electronic pickpocket need only walk a few feet away from you to collect
information from the chip.
To prevent information theft, use a card carrier with a lined
casing to shield the signal from the card. The Massachusetts Office of Consumer
Affairs and Business Regulation put out a Consumer Alert describing
additional measures you can take, such as stacking several RFID-equipped cards
What to do if you're hacked
If you do fall victim to a
skimmer or RFID scam, immediately report it to law enforcement, providing as
many details as possible. Contact the security department of your bank or the
retailer whose card was compromised. Close the account and put a fraud alert on
your credit file. Find additional information to protect your accounts on our identity theft prevention site
and from the Federal Trade Commission.