Credit and debit card skimmers are nothing new -- they've been around for quite a while, but they're getting better and better, to the point where it takes a few months until someone figures out that a skimmer was implanted on an ATM or gas pump. Today's skimmers are more sophisticated than ever, and the attention to detail that hackers provide is pretty impressive.
One of the latest skimmer frauds happened in Oklahoma, where thieves installed their cards skimmers on several gas pumps and waited for drivers to pull up to fill up their tank. In just a couple of months, the thieves rounded up $400,000, by using the stolen card information at ATMs, and withdrawing cash.
However, the skimmers only worked on debit cards, not credit cards. The thieves used a card skimmer and a fake PIN pad overlay in order to get the PIN number for the associated debit card. The thing is though, the fake overlay looked so real, that it took a couple of months before people became suspicious.
Security expert Brian Krebs says that gas pump skimmers "have moved from analog, clunky things to the level of workmanship and attention to detail that is normally only seen in ATM skimmers." Investigators said that the skimmer technology used in this situation was "way more sophisticated than anything they’ve seen previously."
The crazy part about these new, sophisticated skimmers is that they use Bluetooth for remote access, so the thieves never have to physically interact with the skimmer after it's installed, and they can live off of the power from the gas pumps themselves, so they'll never run out of juice. This is why it's probably best to use a credit card at the pump, but it's also important to make sure everything looks legit, since pumping gas is almost second nature to drivers.
SOURCE: Krebs on Security