You'd Never Spot This Skimming Device Found on a Safeway Checkout

Illustration for article titled You'd Never Spot This Skimming Device Found on a Safeway Checkout

Skimmers have been growing ever more advanced in recent years. Do you think you’d be observant enough to notice that this checkout front-plate was about to gobble up your card details?


Krebs on Security has obtained these images of a card skimmer used on a self-checkout terminal at a Safeway store in Maryland. (You might remember that Safeway recently admitted that it was investigating card skimming attacks at several of its stores.)

The device is what’s known as an overlay skimmer: It slips straight over the top of a pay point in order to grab data from your card’s magnetic stripe and capture your PIN, while requiring no direct hardware interaction with the checkout itself. Because it doesn’t interfere with your payment, the only thing it needs to do is look convincing—which it does.

Of course, chip-and-pin skirts this issue altogether. But if you find yourself at a checkout which requires you to swipe your card, you may want to give the fascia a quick check (without, you know, destroying the pay point altogether). And as ever, if you’re in the slightest suspicious about where you’re putting your card, you should walk away without making the purchase.

[Krebs on Security]



I don’t understand why Safeway hasn’t moved to accepting EMV chip cards. The two stores near me both have terminals that will accept them, but neither store is configured to actually use them, thereby forcing you to swipe if you want to pay with a card.

I’m sure there’s some backend work on their part that has to be done, but it should still be better than facing a major data breach.