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ICFE eNEWS #16-20 - July 6th 2016

Consumers and Businesses Take Action Against Credit Card Skimmers

By Yan Ross, Director of Special Projects, ICFE

A broad array of publications picked up the recent KrebsOnSecurity report about credit card skimmers installed in self-checkout lanes at several Walmart locations. It appears that nationally hundreds of thousands of retailers use the potentially affected Ingenico credit card POS [point-of-sale] terminals, posing a threat to both businesses and consumers.

Not only do the skimmers compromise the security of the consumer's credit card, permitting the thieves to clone the cards and use them for unauthorized purchases, but the businesses using the point-of-sale terminals may be cheated out of the price of the sale or find themselves liable for damages.

Although it has not been widely distributed, or even heavily promoted in the media, Ingenico has issued a security bulletin on how to identify a skimmer commonly used on self-checkout lanes powered by Ingenico iSC250 card terminals.

The following is a summary of the advice from Ingenico on how to spot the skimmers.

  • SIZE - In order for the overlay to fit on the POS terminal, it must be longer and wider than the target device, so the case overlay will appear noticeably larger than the actual POS terminal. This is the primary identifying characteristic of the skimming device. A skimmer overlay of the iSC250 is over 6 inches wide and 7 inches tall while the iSC250 itself is 5-9/16 inch wide and 6-1/2 inches tall. If the edges of the terminal are covered over, there may be a skimmer on board.
  • BACKLIGHTING and LED Light - The most common type of skimming device blocks the backlight on the keys from coming through on the PIN pad. Also, the green LED light that glows during a contactless card transaction is blocked by the skimmer. If you can't see the backlight on the keys, be aware there may be a skimmer in place.
  • MAGNETIC STRIPE READER INTERFERENCE - The most common skimming devices have magnetic read heads that may interfere with the legitimate magnetic card reader on the underlying POS terminal, leading to greater numbers of read failures. If you experience trouble swiping a card, report it to the store management.
  • WHERE'S THE STYLUS? - All checkout terminals include a tethered stylus that customers use to sign their names after swiping their cards. According to Ingenico, the skimmers made to fit the iSC250 appear to prevent the ordinary placement of the stylus due to the obtrusive overhang of the skimmer overlay. If you can't find the stylus to sign the screen, there may be a skimmer in place. Be aware, however, that many retailers set their terminals to omit the signature requirement for sales below a certain dollar figure.

There is an excellent opportunity for consumers and businesses (and their employees) to work together to foil the criminals who install these skimming devices.

First, they may take note of the four main indicators of the presence of the skimmers.

Next, once removed, the skimmers and the substantial investment they represent are lost to the thieves.

Finally, the active participation and cooperative action strengthens the relationship between the business and the customer. It's a lot more pleasant to announce the identification and removal of a skimmer than to have to notify customers of a data breach!

More information from KrebsOnSecurity is posted online.

The ICFE's Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist® XV CITRMS® course is now available both in printed format and online.

The Textbook and Desk Reference edition of the course book is also available online. Bulk pricing and discounts for veterans and students available. Inquire at yan.ross@icfe.info

Yan Ross Bio PhotoYan Ross is ICFE's Director of Special Projects, and the author of the Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist® XV CITRMS® course. As an accredited educator for over 20 years, he has addressed Identity Theft Risk Assessment and management for consumers, organizations holding personally identifiable information, and professionals who work with individuals and organizations who are at risk of falling victim to identity thieves.


Paul S Richard PhotoICFE eNEWS is available FREE upon request by visiting our Web site and filling out the contact form, and selecting "Yes" for "Add to Mailing List. Please pass this eNEWS on to your peers and interested others and invite them to subscribe for free. Also, visit the ICFE's new Web site: StudentDebtHelp.org

Sent by:

Paul S. Richard
President - Executive Director
Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE)

About the ICFE:

The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation).  The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely. 
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.

The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org).  CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed.  In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.

The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much.  ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.

Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org.  Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G,  a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.

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