If you’ve never had your card skimmed, congrats. I’ve currently been skimmed at two gas stations that I know of, one coffee shop, and a Sonic drive-through.
Each time ended up costing me about thirty minutes on the line with a credit card company and then being sans card for a couple of days while my old number was deactivated and a new one sent. Still, in the grand scheme of things it’s been much less of a hassle than carrying cash was.
Current skimmer setup/operation
A skimmer device can be installed in a gas pump in under a minute. The current generation of skimmers don’t even require the criminal to come back and risk getting caught removing the hardware, they just offload anything they’ve skimmed via Bluetooth so all a thief has to do is be within 30 meters or so and pair with the device.
Data obtained from skimmer is sold on the dark web, cards coded, and random people (usually homeless in my area.) recruited to use said cards and give products to someone else in exchange for some money.
All the skimmer hardware is pretty much the same as why wouldn’t it be? It works. That’s where the ability to catch the skimmers comes in – all on the market currently have BT radios that transmit with the first two MAC digits as HC-05. So all a sniffer has to do is see if anything in range has that.
What if I don’t trust Skimmer Scanner?
You don’t need to – you can get any Bluetooth scanner and run it yourself looking for mac addresses with HC-05. It also doesn’t protect against other methods of skimming such as:
- Older skimmer you have to remove, take home to get data.
- Skimmer that only fires up BT radio at certain times of day
- Skimmer that uses a SIM and a phone plan to transmit data (uncommon)
- Skimmer that uses NFC/WiFi/different method to transmit data
- Skimmer that uses a different chipset (which they will soon enough)
What if I just want to pay inside?
Good luck, enjoy the walk and wait.
I usually credit the first place I found it however they’re displaying porn ads today so yeah…Android Authority was my second spotting of this.