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Top Three Ways Customers' Credit Card Info Can Be Stolen In Your Stores

Posted by Bryan Wang

As a merchant you should be aware of the threats out there to your customers’ credit card information safety. If credit card info is stolen on your locations or premises then customers will see you as partially culpable for the stress and damages they have to suffer and will voice their anger over social media, damaging your brand’s image on very public forums.

When Target’s security breach became public for example customers flooded the company’s Facebook page with complaints, visibly voicing annoyance and marring their social media presence. Target also reported a noticeable decline in sales during the Christmas season right after their disclosure of the breach.

But with new Point-of-sale (POS) malwares and cyber theft techniques emerging each week it may be difficult for a merchant to keep up with the latest threats and be able to understand how their customers’ info may be stolen.

Below we outline three new ways that your customers’ credit info is being stolen. Watch out!

Credit Card Theft Apps:

Previously thieves had to find ways to get unsuspecting targets’ wallets to get access to the physical card. This type of theft would be easy to catch using your surveillance cameras or well trained employees on the look-out for your customers’ safety.

Now however thieves can access your patrons’ credit card data without even having to touch their credit cards. It’s as easy as downloading an app. Free apps are now available that allow thieves to steal info via near field communication. Credit cards such as those from Visa and Mastercard which are enabled to pay via a ‘tap’ mechanism such as payWave can be breached by a thief through proximity to the target’s credit card. Thieves bring their smart-phone close to their target’s wallet or pocket and can obtain their credit card information even if the credit card is in a wallet or coat pocket through a quick scan. Credit card information can be stolen in as little as one second.

As a merchant you should let your store staff know about this new practice and train them to keep an eye out for suspicious people. Many of these types of thefts occur in crowded malls where consumers are distracted.

Unsecured POS Systems:

Whether you are a small, medium or large business POS security should be of utmost importance. Make POS security a priority because your customers expect you to provide them with a secure shopping environment and also because a POS breach on your premises will bring negative attention to your brand. Remember as a business owner you are required to be PCI compliant. PCI compliance is a set of requirements designed to ensure that all companies that process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. Beyond this as of October 2015 you also now have to meet Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (EMV) standards which entails a shift from processing and accepting magnetic-stripe credit cards to safer chip-and-pin cards.   If you are a small business you may be wondering about the cost of this and if you are a medium to large business you may need someone to guide you through the new requirements, rules and regulations. By choosing a POS provider such as Givex who can provide a modern EMV and PCI compliant POS such as Vexilor you avoid breaking evolving security rules. A modern POS such as Vexilor is also cost-saving due to free software and hardware upgrades, installment payments, and low overall cost. With new POS malwares emerging constantly your customers’ sensitive information is insufficiently protected if you have a legacy system which does not meet security requirements or an app which does not protect you from malware contracted via the Internet.

Credit Card Skimming:

Along with hacking unsecured POS systems, cyber-criminals also use credit card skimming as a common method of credit card information theft. Credit card skimmers are credit card readers that copy the data of the credit card’s magnetic stripe. The device is smaller than a deck of cards and fits over an existing card reader. This method of credit card info theft requires the criminal to re-visit the machine they have installed the device on to get the files with the stolen data. These devices can be placed in a variety of locations such as vending machines and gas stations.  Like a POS breach a credit card skimmer on your premises can reflect negatively on you, creating the perception that you do not care about your customers’ security. It is important to check ATMs in your premises and other susceptible payment terminals for skimmers regularly and monitor employees and who they may let in after hours.

These three security breach types can ruin your previously happy customers’ opinions of you and cause genuine distress for them. If you are concerned about your POS security contact Givex for a free consultation and demo!

Topics: Point of Sale