The popular chain of stores and grocery shops Safeway is under the threat of card skimming scams in the bay area, with two shops from California discovering skimming devices attached to their ATMs. Several shops from Colorado were also targeted by scammers as well in the past week.
Credit card skimming consists of attaching a hidden camera or a complex device to an ATM in order for the credit card number and PIN to be lifted. This information is later used by hackers to produce fraudulent cards in order to make illegal purchases or even attain money from the unaware public’s bank accounts, through bank withdrawals.
The process of skimming is extremely complex, requiring both stealth and heavy pre-planning from the hackers. They can sometimes even manufacture entire ATM machines and cardboard processing terminals, constructing them in such a way so that they can house the skimming devices inside of them, making their discovery much harder than before.
This type of fraud can be circumvented by not using ATMs located in stores, opting for direct credit card purchases instead. By removing the instantaneous manner in which ATM machines conduct their operations, a higher degree of protection is acquired. Having a constant connection with the bank, through emails that tell the specifics of every purchase, location, date and items bought, also helps by a fair amount.
Even though this lapse in Safeway security was reported last month in November, the official statement from the company regarding the skimming was released this Thursday, December 17th. The company advises its clients to have a more cautious approach during this holiday season, especially during sales and shopping sprees.
With Christmas being just around the corner, various fraudulent scams such as credit card skimming will suffer a rather hefty increase. Taking into account that almost every American citizen will partake in gift shopping or other similar activities in the coming weeks, hackers and scammers will have a friendly environment in which they can conduct their illegal activities.
By displaying patience and checking with your bank from time to time in order to spot if any unusual transactions have been made, the public masses will quell the threat of hackers almost completely. Even if employees at Safeway, as well as every other store around the US, check their ATMs and checkout lines constantly to deny the threat of scammers, the clients themselves can help as well.
Fortunately, the skimming devices from the California shops in Dublin and Walnut Creek, as well as those from Colorado’s Denver, Lakewood, Arvada, Englewood, and Conifer, were removed before any actual activities went underway. Said devices were located and removed during morning routine checks before clients actually entered the store.
Even if Safeway is under the threat of card skimming scams in the bay area, the company claims that its security will get a massive boost in the holiday season in order to stop this from ever happening again. But if they will make their clients display a higher degree of carefulness, the process of eliminating the threat of hackers will benefit from wider spread as well as a faster speed.