Credit Cards and debit cards usage reaches its crescendo during the holiday season as consumers buy gifts for their loved ones or just take advantage of the many good deals and sales that can be had. Along with it, credit card fraud and identity theft are also most active and prevalent during this particular season.
Among the tools that thieves use to steal identity or enable fraud are credit card skimmers, counterfeit cards and embossers.
The US Secret Service knows the tools and techniques that thieves or gangs use, but is aware that the problem is widespread and pervasive. There are groups and gangs that have international operations and have chapters in different countries and regions.
Crooks are also proving to be cunning and elusive. Police are currently searching for a man who implanted credit card skimmers in pumping stations in Redondo Beach. The man was able to hack thousands of credit and debit card information and investigators said that the suspect has already used some of the information in a number of transactions.
MagTek, a company known for its readers, is also active in developing anti-credit card fraud devices. One official in an interview said that skimming is a huge problem and that people can easily acquire skimmer devices online. Another issue that compounds the problem is that there is presently no law that penalizes or criminalizes the possession or ownership of a credit card skimming device.
He added that gangs or thieves would usually hire restaurant servers to help them carry out their criminal activities. Credit card skimmers are compact enough to easily fit in someone's pocket. Servers, who receive a customer's credit card, can pull up the skimming device on their way back to the kitchen or counter and swipe the card.
MagTek, as of the moment, is testing a product that could help merchants avoid processing unauthorized purchases. At the back of each credit card is a magnetic stripe that contains a unique series of codes. Using this principle, MagTek developed a gadget that can distinguish if a credit card being run through it is a counterfeit or original.
Below are some practical tips and advice to prevent credit card fraud and identity theft:
1) Regularly check your credit card purchases. If possible conduct a weekly monitoring of your account.
2) Use your credit cards more than debit cards, since the former has better fraud protection features.
3) Occasionally change your credit card by periodically requesting your bank for new cards that contain brand new account information.