Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New way to protect yourself when using Interac

I love knowing people in the know. I found out recently about a way to keep your bankcard and bank balance safer. We all know to hide our pin number as we punch it in but there are a lot of ways to get our banking card information. Criminals are using cameras in ceilings and fraudulent pin pads to get our card information and pin number. The newest thing is a fake Interac card reader and pin pad that records your card info and pin number as you put it into the system so shielding the pad as you enter your number does not help. The device is under the pin pad to record what buttons you push, so covering what you are doing is not going to make a difference, it still gets your pin #.

The best thing to do is start putting in a fake pin number first, and then when it comes back wrong put the right one in. This works because the fake card reader will approve your transaction with the wrong pin number. What the reader does is record all your information and then says approved. It does not talk to the central server to confirm your information, it just approves it. This way no record shows up on your bank account and no money leaves your bank account. They take a loss on the product or sale because they can make it up with what they can steal, or get from selling your information.

By not recording the transaction it makes it difficult for banks to find out where the card information was stolen. If all the cards taken on day A all went to store B then it is easy to figure out what happened. However if there is no record of anyone going to store A and using their card it makes it almost impossible to figure out where the cards are being stolen. Often the fake card reader is used at the end of the month because people who receive statements will not get one for almost a month, are they going to remember what store they visited on day A and how much they spent. Chances are they will not notice the missing transaction. Though most of us use the Internet to track our accounts these days, most of us only notice what goes out, not what should have gone out. We will assume there is a delay in processing and recording the payment and that it will show up eventually. Then we forget about it.

Think about all the places you use your card then think about how many other people use their cards there as well. One day’s worth of people using their cards can be quite valuable. The criminal does not need to do this everyday, and don’t. There have been cases where an employee was paid to put the fake Interact machine on for their shift and then that is it, the criminals move it to another store the next day, the employee has some extra money and your card information is going to the highest bidder. How many people go through a corner store, coffee shop or gas station in 6 to 8 hrs?

There is only so much you can do to keep your bank information safe. The criminals keep developing new ways to get it from you. I do recommend that everyone who can needs to start using internet banking and checks their bank account daily. This way you are more likely to notice if something is wrong right away and stop it before your bank account is empty.

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