Officials in Ohio Warn Against New Credit Card ‘Shimming’ Scam

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The Montgomery County Auditor is warning about a new credit card scam known as ‘shimming’. It’s similar to ‘skimming’, but this time hackers are getting information from the credit card chip readers.

We’re seeing more and more of the chip readers pop up at supermarkets and retail shops across the Miami Valley. It’s meant to be a safer and more secure alternative to swiping your card, but now hackers are now taking advantage of the new chip readers to take money out of your pocket.

Whether you swipe or insert, hackers are now finding new ways to steal your money.

“I’m terrified because I work really hard for my money,” shopper Amber White said. “With them coming out with the chip it was kind of good to have, but now they’re overpowering the chip.”

And that’s exactly what’s happening. As Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith explains, he expected thieves to eventually catch on to the new chip readers and be able to manipulate them to get information.

“These guys will eventually evolve,” Keith said. “And this will continue to be a problem because there is money to be made at this.”

‘Shimmers’ are paper-thin embedded microchips with flash storage. Scammers insert them inside chip readers. You can’t tell if a shimmer has been inserted and it doesn’t stop cards from being used in the machine.

The next time someone inserts their card, their information is recorded on the shimmer. Hackers then use a special credit card and insert in the chip reader to get all the information from the shimmer.

Shoppers we spoke with were in disbelief over this new trend.

“The chips were supposed to cover all those extra bases,” shopper Steven Moore said. “Really it is kind of scary.”

To best protect yourself:

  •     Check your credit card statements routinely.
  •     Sign up mobile alerts and text messages to alert you anytime you card is used.
  •     If you see something that looks like skimmer report it to police.
  •     If you see someone messing with a credit card machine call the authorities.

Keith says to be stay safe shoppers should be extra alert, especially as temperatures change.

“As the weather gets warmer, as far as putting skimmers on gas tanks,” Keith said. “Its more likely to happen in the warmer weather.”

The auditor says so far there’s been no cases of ‘shimming’ reported in the Miami Valley.

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