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December 29, 2008

  • News:  The Skimmer Scummers.

    Not all restaurants are equal. It's become so commonplace to just pay the tab by inserting our little plastic' in the waiter's tab folio' sleeve, we don't even interrupt the sentence we're in the middle of, as we nonchalantly pass our credit card away. In the past, this has never been much of a problem. But, just like with the internet, things must change with technology. With the proliferation of skimmers', it becomes a simple task for a waiter to just step out of view long enough for a quick swipe though the simple little seemingly innocuous device on his way to the real scanner at the counter. (Skimmers come in different forms, but will store magnetic stripe information for later upload onto computers.) Who's to know when or where the credit card was compromised. After work, the little device can easily be scuttled home for upload and greater credit card black market rewards.

    The credit card black market industry already boasts of having a $5.3 billion line of credit using compromised cards from owners who are yet-unaware. Called skimming', this profession is one of the fastest growing. Simply swipe all the credit cards you want, then go home and upload the data. Be sure to memorize the little 3-digit number on the back. CVV2 (card verification value) codes are those simple 3-digit codes on the back of the card that are so easy to memorize. They're used for transactions where the actual card is not physically present at the time of sale (like by phone or online.) Compromised cards with matching CVV2s bring in the best prices in the black market -- second only to full-blown bank account credentials.

    It may seem a little awkward, but if you find yourself in a place where security seems a little lax, it may be best to find an excuse to accompany the waiter in such a way as to always know where your credit card is. Skimming is a growing problem around the world and though the devices are a little pricey, they can pay for themselves quickly. Mom & Pop fraud rings are popping up all over and novices are being busted every day. But, black market professionals aren't being busted and their business is thriving. Be careful.

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