Photo via Sean MacEntee

Police find credit-card skimmers in several Walmart self-checkout lanes

These lanes are like catnip for crooks who want to install skimmers.

 

John-Michael Bond

Tech

Published May 26, 2016   Updated May 26, 2021, 5:17 pm CDT

Here’s a cautionary tale for those of you who like to skirt human interaction and go straight to the self-checkout line. Police are currently investigating electronic credit-card skimmers found in the self-checkout lanes at Walmarts in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and Fort Wright, Kentucky. 

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How is this possible? For one thing, credit-card skimmers are incredibly easy to install, even without the privacy of a self-checkout lane. Here’s a video of one brave criminal quickly installing one in front of a cashier at a Miami Beach gas station. 

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Now imagine how easy it is to install one of these without a cashier standing in front of you.

Credit-card skimmers aren’t cheap—they retail for $300 even without the electronics needed to power them and store your data—but they’re easy to pay off once you’ve stolen people’s money.

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The increased prevalence of skimmers is part of why retailers have encouraged the move to chip-based credit cards in the last year. Chip-based cards are harder to counterfeit using modern skimmer technology. It’s much easier for crooks to read a magnetic stripe. 

If you’re worried about your information being skimmed, make sure you’ve updated to a new chip card and insert your card into readers rather than using the magnetic stripe.

There’s no sure-fire way to avoid being scammed, but let these Walmart tales be a warning to at least take basic steps to ensure the security of your financial information.

H/T Krebs On Security

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*First Published: May 26, 2016, 2:37 pm CDT