Scammers replace credit card readers in Irish stores

Fraudsters posing as authorized bank service personnel replaced credit card readers in retailers stores' in northeast Ireland with their own.

Fraudsters in northeast Ireland posing as authorized bank service personnel replaced credit card readers in retailers' stores with their own, capturing data that can be used to empty bank accounts and make purchases.

As many as 10,000 credit and debit cards may have been compromised by the time authorities became aware of the scam late last week, said Jennie Chamberlaine, marketing manager for the Irish Payment Services Organization, on Monday.

Those whose details have been stolen will be notified by banks, and it is possible card details have already been used for fraud Chamberlaine said.

Financial institutions such as the Bank of Ireland reacted by shutting down some cards while also limiting overseas withdrawals to as little as Euro 100 (US$169). An investigation is under way by Ireland's National Police Service. Few other details were immediately available.

Overseas withdrawals are limited because the scammers can take the data they've captured from the magnetic stripe on the back of the card and encode it on a dummy card. That card can then be used to withdraw cash overseas.

The scammers can't take out cash at ATMs in Europe that use the "chip-and-pin" system. European credit and debit cards have an embedded microchip that is checked at the ATM; cards that should have the chip but don't are rejected. Criminals have yet to successfully replicate those microchips.

The chip-and-pin system also requires a PIN (personal identification number) to be entered during a purchase rather a customer signature as is accepted in the U.S. and many other countries.

The European system has caused a marked dropped in fraudulent transactions from lost and stolen cards, but resulted in an interesting change in fraud.

Chip-and-pin's greatest weakness is the lack of its worldwide use. Criminals now clone cards and go to countries that don't have ATMs that verify the presence of the microchip, fueling a transnational trade in credit and debit card details.

Chip-and-pin also doesn't affect "card not present" fraud, where data is used to make online purchases. That data is often captured through phishing, or frauds where a fake Web site is built in order to trick people into divulging sensitive information.

"Card fraud has tended to move to the weakest link," Chamberlaine said.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?