FBI warns of e-skimming ahead of holiday season

FBI warns of e-skimming ahead of holiday season

Posted: Updated:
LUBBOCK, Texas -

Ahead of the holiday season, the FBI is warning of e-skimming, a tactic hackers use to steal payment information when making a purchase online.

Regular credit card skimming is stealing account and pin numbers from a card reader, and e-skimming works almost the same way.

It injects a malicious code into a website only at the point where a customer is submitting their payment info. It lets hackers steal data in real time.

"On that last page, where you're going through your payment, they'll introduce a code where they can capture the information that you're entering and skim that, and once they retrieve it, they'll either sell it or use it fraudulently themselves," Philip Partin, supervising FBI agent, said.

The Bureau has received an increase in complaints over the past year about credit card theft by this method, Partin said. Any business supporting payments online is susceptible, and in most cases, it is hard to tell if a website is infected.

"A business is probably not going to know about it until after that malicious code has been harvesting quite a few pieces of information from your customers," Greg Linder, CEO and President of the Better Business Bureau of the South Plains, said.

When shopping online, a credit card is the safer option, Linder said. Customers should make sure their software is up to date, with strong firewall protection. Vendors should also get their sites scanned regularly.

"They can educate their employees, use cybertools like antivirus and firewalls, things that IT people would know about, to keep them updated," Partin said. "That's the best that they can do to keep these things from happening."

It is a risk everyone takes every day, Partin said, and the best way to prevent these attacks is for customers and vendors to be educated and understand the tactics cybercriminals use.


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