Well it’s that time again, time for another credit card skimming scam. This one, however, occurs in one of the more unlikely places you’d expect: automated stamp machines at your local post office! That’s right, it appears one of the places you’d least expect a fraud scam to be perpetrated–a government building–is the latest hot-spot for debit card theft.
You can read some additional tips on preventing identity theft here.
Krebs on Security recently broke this story and it’s a good one. In what will surely go down as one of the most brazen scams on the part of the thieves, it appears skimming devices were installed on the automated stamp kiosks found in many post offices across the country. Skimming devices, you may remember from other posts, are devices that are secreted into place over the card readers whereby they read and capture the card’s magnetic code; thieves may also use hidden cameras or keypad capturing devices to get the associated PIN number from the card as well.
According to Krebs’ report, fraudulent card activity appeared to be popping up from cards used at Automated Postal Centers (APCs) in 13 states along with Washington, DC. The states included: Nebraska, New York, California, Colorado, Arizona, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Utah, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Oregon. It appears these thieves were able to capture both the debit card number and the PIN as well, using the info to fabricate new cards and make cash withdrawals–usually between $500 and $800.
While Krebs states that the Secret Service–the branch primarily responsible for investigating these types of crimes–has yet to comment on the case, an arrest was made in Oregon by a man believed to be using the stolen cards to make withdrawals. He goes on to say that consumers can better protect themselves by using credit cards instead of debit cards, which have better fraud protection in general.
What’s perhaps scariest about this is the fact that it’s occurring at such a regulated and “secure” place. The only more brazen attack would be if they were targeting ATMs at a police station! This just proves that you should always be on your guard and always make purchases with the most secure method possible, and to be cautious about these machines we’ve always assumed were safe.