Financial institutions in North Carolina, including the $18 billion State Employees' Credit Union have been wrestling since roughly mid-December with a novel approach to card skimming.
Customarily card skimming has involved devices being attached to the outside of ATMs that capture the card numbers of machine users and cameras to record their personal identification numbers. The thieves then use this information to steal money from cardholder accounts.
But this most recent skimming attack relies not on devices attached to ATMs, but instead on devices placed on this inside of gasoline pumps at busy, high traffic, service stations in the Triangle part of the state.
According to Leigh Brady, senior vice president with SECU, the device's locations on the inside of the gas pumps mean they are hidden to cardholders and the credit union has launched a public relations effort to alert all cardholders, whether members or not, to ways they can protect their information.
"Clearly not only our members were being hurt by this, but we felt like we had to say something as loudly as we could to help cardholders protect themselves," Brady said. The credit union adopted a pro-active media stance, contacting local media outlets with the story. SECU executives urged cardholders to either use their cards as credit rather than debit cards, which means they would not use their PINs or to cover their the keypad with the other hand to block the view of any hidden cameras."