July 21, 2017

NACS: Skimmers switch to “shimmers”

Just when you thought the tide might be shifting toward the good guys in the skimming game, the bad guys unleash a new weapon—the shimmer, WFMY-TV reports. The paper-thin device about the size of a credit card can be wedged into the card slot of a gas pump or ATM. A microchip embedded in the shimmer, along with flash storage, can grab credit and debit card data that thieves use to create a counterfeit magnetic strip card.

The good news is that shimmers only work on mag-stripe card readers, not on chip readers. The bad news is that it’s even harder to see if a shimmer has been secreted inside the card reader.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is alerting the public to be on the lookout for shimmers by monitoring credit and debit card statements. “So, it’s account information, it’s pin numbers, it’s the encrypted information that’s already taken place. They’ll take that information, and then create dummy cards from that data that was harvested from that machine,” said Sandra Guile, a BBB spokeswoman.

The BBB also noted that when inserting a card into a reader with a shimmer, the card sometimes become stuck, FOX19 in Cincinnati reports. Other suggestions for consumers to protect themselves from shimmers include opting for the chip reader, withdrawing funds inside the bank instead of at the ATM and covering the keypad with your hand when entering a PIN.