Earlier one assumed that criminals used skimming techniques to gather information on cards. However, the fraudsters seem to have become more tech savvy and use 'sniffers' in order to intercept card information. Investigative agencies state that scammers use these latest techniques where malware is used to gather information at point of sale or the processing company. This software basically targets networks that are not secure. Merchants who use networks with inadequate protection or anti-virus features are soft targets as cyber criminals are always on the prowl and scanning networks.
More than approximately 94 million accounts were compromised in 2006 when cyber criminals used this sniffer software to gather information to hit the company of Marshall's and TJ.
While investigating the latest case in Seattle, investigative agencies and the police claim that they have identified multiple areas where security has been compromised. Now businesses and merchants seem to have woken up and installed better anti-virus software. Hopefully with these upgraded versions and installations the fraud will be contained. The investigative agencies such as the Electronic Crimes Task Force is seriously pursuing the leads that it has on its suspects but they have yet to zero in on the businesses at this point in time.
Clients who have used their cards in the recent past (especially in the Capitol Hill neighborhood) should closely monitor and keep a close check on their cards and bank accounts. If any discrepancies are found customers should report the matter immediately to their respective banks as well as credit card companies. The secret service has advised individuals who might have become victims to the Capitol Hill Credit Card scam to file a complaint with the Seattle Police Department immediately in order to aid further investigation.
Fraudsters have used the sniffer technology all over and fraudulent practices have been reported from at least six states as well as Europe. Hence investigative agencies have issued confirmations that this fraud is not merely limited to Seattle alone but have spread much more. The volumes of this type of fraud seems to have increased and spread very rapidly as high-volume cases (sniffer) have been reported from all over the country throughout this year.
Once the card information is stolen, these cyber thieves use that bit of information to make an insignificant purchase in order to test the information from the stolen card. Then this information is in turn used to make purchases or alternatively the information is sold to other scammers around the world. The information is openly sold on the web too.