Super skimmers: The new way criminals are hacking your account, even if you don’t swipe your card

DAYTON — Criminals are evolving and finding more sophisticated ways to steal your money – even with chip cards. Super skimmers are now being used, and security experts tell News Center 7, they’re much harder to detect. But there are things to watch out for to protect your money.

The sophisticated new device being used by criminals is called a shimmer. In November, surveillance cameras showed thieves targeting ATMs in Washington State.

“It was a shock,” said Elaine Fischer. She says she was a victim after a trip to the ATM. She says her information was stolen and $1,000 vanished from her account.

“Like how is this money taken out of my account when I haven’t left the house? My card is right there in my hand,” Fischer said.

Her information was stolen, her account compromised, and $1000 was drained from her account.

“This is really disturbing. I really thought a lot about the idea that someone had my information,” she said.

Turns out, Fischer was not alone. Hundreds of people had the same thing happen to them. But how? Surveillance video shows you the sophisticated new devices criminals are using. It’s called a Shimmer and it works like a skimmer, but it is added inside the card reader, and you can’t see it from the outside the ATM.

Chris Hansen with the United States Secret Service and Investigated Financial Crimes said It’s a cat-and-mouse game. The engineers that are protecting the system, they come up with new technology or new configurations, and then the bad guys, they figure out ways around that to get at the money,”

Hansen showed News Center 7′s sister station in Seattle, KIRO-TV, how the devices work.

“People are inserting the device into the place where you put your credit card in, and it’s meant to steal the credit card data when you insert your card,” Hansen said.

The shimmer may have been found miles away in Seattle, but experts say these devices are spreading, and it’s only a matter of time before one is found in the Miami Valley.

Last November, a skimming device was found at a Wright-Patt Credit Union ATM in Kettering.

Jason Frantz is the Vice President of Fraud Risk Management at Wright-Patt Credit Union. His job is to not only help customers when their accounts are compromised but also prevent it from happening in the first place.

“It’s really frustrating,” he said. “We take it personally when our members are attacked. We consider it an attack and we do everything to help them fight back.”

To keep their members safe, they share best practices with credit unions across the country. But they’re also working to keep a leg up on fraudsters.

“It’s a global fight, and everything is changing. What may happen in one geography will soon be happening in our geography,” Frantz said.

When something happens, like that skimmer device last year, they look at ways they can be better. Financial institutions work to keep the latest technology to prevent fraud, but Frantz said people have the biggest role in deterring those fraudsters and that means more training for their employees and fraud prevention classes for their members.

“Be observant. If you see cameras anywhere, be concerned. If you see damage to the terminals, be concerned and say something,” Frantz said.

In Seattle, Fischer was able to get her money reimbursed, but she said she thinks twice anytime she swipes her card.

“I would say I’m using it less, but ultimately convenience will probably win out and I’ll be back,” Fischer said.

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