NYPD Tests Low-Cost Tool to Combat Credit Card Skimming
Credit card skimmers steal more than $1 billion every year from consumers in the United States, according to the Secret Service. Chip credit cards have done a good job in combating this sort of fraud, but smaller stores often cannot afford to upgrade their point-of-sales systems to the newer, more secure systems.
If a retailer is using an older system, criminals are able to install a “read head” on point-of-sale systems that copy a user’s credit card information when a card is swiped. The data is then automatically transmitted to the fraudster’s computer.
Engineers from the University of Florida may have a solution. The researchers created the “Skim Reaper,” which is a credit card-sized device that slides into a card reader and detects whether a skimmer has been installed on the system.
The Skim Reaper costs only $50. The NYPD has been testing the Skim Reaper and is happy with early results, according to the Washington Post.
Currently, the NYPD employs four detectives who are trained in uncovering skimming devices, but the Skim Reaper would allow even untrained officers to detect fraud. To use the device, a detective simply needs to slide the credit card-sized reader into the machine. This card is attached to a smartphone-sized device which displays “possible skimmer!” if the machine has been compromised.