Opinion: Why the frak does my credit card keep being skimmed?

Are cyber criminals one step ahead of the banks?

Despite my obsession with social media and constantly telling people where I am and what I'm doing, I pride myself as being a generally careful person with my personal data both online and in the non-Web world. I'd call myself Web savvy, able to spot spam easily, and I'm careful about where I use my credit card. Despite my cautious nature, in the past year alone I have had my credit card skimmed, not once, not twice, but three times.

My bank was great with informing me about what had happened each time and luckily, no funds had been accessed. The bank were, however, unable to give me any idea of where the skimming had taken place, how I could better protect myself from future attacks, and why I had been targeted multiple times.

With news that five Australian key members of an international fraud syndicate had been arrested and charged earlier this month after conducting acts of EFTPOS skimming, it doesn’t come as a surprise that such attacks are hitting close to home more and more, but is there anything you can really do to protect yourself?

Apart from closely covering the keypad at an ATM when entering your pin, the next best thing is to be aware of what is being printed on receipts when using your card, and making sure you can see when and where your credit card is being swiped. Despite all of your best efforts, though, a recent report has claimed that the advanced nature of online criminals could continue to make skimming an issue until the ATM industry adopts more advanced technology.

It’s a statement echoed by authorities in Australia, with Queensland Police officer, Brian Hay, earlier this year claiming that local police forces are behind the eight ball when it comes to dealing with cyber crime, with online criminals having greater access to new technology and resources than the boys in blue.

It seems I was one of the “lucky ones” that was skimmed, with no funds stolen from my account; a statistic that goes against a report from federal Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor, who recently said the future of skimming is set to cost the Australian community $100 million a year. It makes you wonder what banks and retailers can do when the bad guys seem to be two steps ahead of them.

Follow Lisa Banks on Twitter: @CapricaStar

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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