Geek Trivia

Skimmers Are Used To Capture What Kind Of Data?

Credit Card Numbers
BitTorrent User IDs
Email Headers
Social Security Numbers
During World War II The U.S. Government Banned (But Quickly Returned) What As A Cost Saving Measure?
credit card skimmer attached to an ATM
Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Answer: Credit Card Numbers

Skimming is the process of lifting a person’s credit card information for criminal use. Historically, criminals conducting skimming operations needed access to the paper trail left behind by credit card use (such as store carbon copies or documents from the credit card company). The widespread adoption of credit and bank cards coupled with advances in technology have given way to more sophisticated and immediate skimming techniques.

Modern criminals use small electronic devices known as skimmers to lift credit card information directly off the card. The devices are either held in the hand (where they are used by someone who has temporary access to your card, such as a waiter or bartender) or attached to locations where the victim would willingly insert their card (such as the opening of an ATM). The devices store the data from the swiped cards in flash memory, which is then added to a larger database at a later date. The most sophisticated skimmers are capable of recording not just the card data, but extra information like card security codes and PIN numbers (collected by built-in cameras that monitor adjacent activity during the time the card is used at the ATM).