Register Skimmers Could Be Stealing Your Info [AUDIO]
For less than 50 bucks, scammers are purchasing a product that has the ability to latch onto a store's data channel and steal customers' personal information.
The keystroke loggers have been available for years, but their use for fraudulent purposes is a developing trend.
"It doesn't surprise me because the crooks have to evolve," said Brett Montgomery, Fraud Operations Manager for Identity Theft 911.
The devices are about an inch in size and can plug into a port on a store's computer. However, a store clerk may not even know they're coming across a skimming device because it looks exactly like the connector used for a mouse or keyboard.
"It's intercepting the data that's sent on the communication channel," Montgomery added. "It captures any of the keystrokes…as well as the credit card data that gets sent through."
Stores sometimes ask customers for a driver's license as well. One quick scan can tell a crook your name, address and license number.
The Ps2 keystroke loggers aren't hard to purchase. They can easily be found on Ebay, categorized as "professional surveillance" products.
Montgomery said the smartest thing a consumer can do is regularly check credit card statements. One shouldn't avoid using cards; folks have protection through their credit card company as long as the fraud is reported within a couple of months.
Several of these skimmers were installed at a Nordstrom in Florida a few weeks ago. The thieves were caught on camera installing the skimmers, and authorities believe no personal information was compromised since the devices were never retrieved to gather the data. Crooks, though, can connect the skimmers to a wireless network for another $100.