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Directive Blogs

Directive has been serving the Oneonta area since 1993, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Credit Card Skimmers Are a Real Threat - Be On The Lookout

card skimmers

If you thought that small town Oneonta wasn’t at risk of cybersecurity attacks and scams that you see in the headlines, you might want to think again. Most of the time, smaller businesses (especially around upstate New York) feel that they’re not a viable target for cybercriminals. After all, these kinds of issues are just concerns for bigger companies in larger cities, they surely don’t happen here, in Oneonta... right?

Unfortunately, as a discovery in our area has proven, wrong.

Immediately before Memorial Day, a technician came to repair the ATM outside of the Southside branch of Community Bank. This technician discovered a skimming device installed in the ATM. These devices are used by cybercriminals to steal the data they need to steal their victim’s finances, swiping information as the unwitting victim swipes their card. This method of stealing credit card information to create a duplicate card is a highly popular one among cybercriminals, related to a full 37 percent of all cases of credit card fraud in the United States.

According to Capt. Scott Heggelke of the New York State Police Troop C’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the ATM is believed to have shut itself down in response to the tampering. As a result, this scam may not have affected anyone, but it is still crucial that anyone that could possibly have been affected monitor their finances and credit cards for odd, unexplained charges. It also isn’t a bad idea to periodically review your financial statements whether you’ve heard about a potential event or not.

Whether this scam was successful or not, it only proves that you don’t have to be located in a major metropolitan area for things like these to affect you. Businesses need to be especially concerned, as their point-of-sale devices could easily be tampered with to similar effect. You certainly don’t want your business associated with anything that puts your clients and customers into a tough position.

You also need to make sure you are careful with your business’ finances as well. A cybercriminal could do some serious damage if a company credit card was swiped in the wrong place. Fortunately, there are also ways to mitigate these effects. In the case of Community Bank, their credit cards are supplied through Visa, which has a zero-liability policy for fraudulent charges.

Regardless, the best defense is awareness. Take a few moments to check if something seems out of place on the ATM machine - and if at all possible, elect to enter the bank and work one-on-one with a human teller instead.

You also need to be mindful of other cybercrimes that could strike your business. From phishing attacks to ransomware infections and everything in between, these attacks can be leveraged from across the globe - in some ways, making them even more likely to affect you. This is why it is important that all aspects of your cybersecurity are mindfully managed and locked down.

If you have reason to believe that a business in the area has had a skimmer installed in its devices, contact the New York State Police by calling (607) 432-4844.

For more assistance with your cybersecurity and other business IT needs, reach out to us at 607.433.2200.

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Wednesday, July 18 2018
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