Preventing skimming

For those who don’t know skimming is when a person records the information on a credit or debit card without the persons permission, and in most cases without them knowing. Skimming has been going on for a long time and continues to be a big issue. Just recently a German man was sentenced to three years in prison for bringing skimming equipment into the UK. SANS had a article about this in there news bits that read:

A German man has been sentenced to three years in prison for bringing card skimming technology into the UK. Thomas Beeckmann was arrested at Victoria Station in London in June; investigators say he was carrying sophisticated skimming equipment, some of which would allow users to retrieve data captured by skimmers though Bluetooth technology from a distance of 100 meters. Beeckmann’s sentence includes time for refusing to divulge his laptop encryption password to law enforcement officials as well as for possessing skimming equipment.

Law enforcement in the United States as well as other countries are continuously investigating skimming attacks. But the problem I have found is that even with investigations and prison sentences, skimming attacks are still to easy to preform with little risk of getting caught. Equipment to perform simple skimming attacks is very easy to come by. A simple search around the internet and you can find a place to purchase some equipment at not to high of a price. Also people don’t really watch out for skimming much, which makes it easy to get away with and not get caught. If people don’t know its happening there not going to report it to the police.  An article at said:

Skimming most commonly occurs in restaurants, where the card owner looses contact with the card and a purchase is made. It takes about two seconds to scan a card through a portable reader, and the reader records all of the information on the credit card. Portable card readers are small enough that someone could easily conceal one in the pocket, sleeve, and even in their hand.

Which brings to question, how many people even think about whats happening to their card when they give it to the waiter or waitress at a restaurant.

What to do to prevent skimming? I doubt it will ever just stop happening, so the best thing to do is just be aware of how it can happen, and watch out for it. If your careful about how you use your card, and who you give it to there’s less chance your cards information will be stolen.