FBI: Criminals may be ‘skimming’ your online payment info
We've warned you plenty of times about "skimming" devices on ATMs and other credit-card readers that can capture and store all of your card's data. And we've told you easy ways to avoid becoming the next victim.
Unfortunately, this latest warning from the FBI office in Newark doesn't come with any simple solutions. Just hope you're not one of the unlucky ones.
The FBI has received an increase in complaints over the past year about "e-skimming," through which cyber criminals can obtain your card data in real time when you make an online purchase. They do this by introducing skimming code on e-commerce payment card processing web pages.
As a consumer, you'd have no idea what's occurring behind the scenes of a retailer's website. So unlike the traditional skimming approach, which you can outsmart by looking for additional hardware or inconsistencies on an in-person card reader, this malicious act is impossible for the average online shopper to detect — since you're entering your card number, expiration date and security code on a keyboard.
"Not only will it go to the legitimate payment processor, but it also takes a copy of that data and sends it to the bad guys," Ryan Brogan, acting supervisory special agent for cyber crime in Newark, told New Jersey 101.5.
Brogan called e-skimming the "next evolution" in the "cyber black market ecosystem."
The threat has impacted retail, entertainment and travel industries, as well as third-party vendors supporting them, the office said. But the bigger brands are less likely to have this malicious code on the back end of their sites, Brogan said.
"From your small- to mid-tier businesses — these would be the types of places that would be targeted," he said. "They're not going to have their own payment processing systems."
The FBI encourages consumers to file complaints related to cyber crime through the agency's IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center) website.
According to the IC3 database, New Jersey ranked among the top 10 states in 2018 for total losses related to Internet crimes ($79,711,752). The Garden State had 8,440 victims in that year.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at email@example.com.