Tiny Bluetooth Card Skimmers Will Make You Hug Your Debit Card

It’s probably not a good idea to use your debit card at the gas pump. Not because we have anything against debit cards, but because we’ve learned of yet another group of criminals who planted invisible card skimmers in pay-at-the-pump machines at gas stations in the southern United States.

teeny_skimmer
Sure, the Target breach makes boring old hardware hacks like this look boring and unsophisticated by comparison. Just add this to the rapidly growing list of ways that crooks can stick invisible hands into your wallet, draining your bank account.

The skimmer shown above came from a ring of 13 skimsters who have been charged with draining $2 million from the accounts of cardholders all over the South.

Bluetooth skimmers aren’t always an inside job. They’re typically installed in a stealth operation, right in the sight store employees. One person pretends to pump gas while others distract the cashier. The skimmer silently and invisibly collects card data and PINs, and the thieves can collect data without even pulling up to the pump again.

How can you protect yourself? Well, in this case, our tips about checking for mini-cameras and poorly secured PIN pads and card slots won’t do any good. The best protection is only to limit your losses: don’t use a card linked to your main bank account at gas stations.

Gang Rigged Pumps With Bluetooth Skimmers [Krebs on Security]