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October 17, 2017

Bluetooth Technology Can protect Against Fraud and Identity Theft

Getting gas or going to an ATM machine is supposed to be an easy, basic transaction. Unfortunately, fraudsters are making these daily, necessary activities extremely risky by installing skimmers – electronic devices used to capture credit card information that are, unfortunately virtually undetectable to the naked eye. Their design is made to match whatever machine they are covering.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller, made a video to warn people everywhere of the scam, where he shows how to detect a skimmer. He ultimately reveals what he ways is the simplest way to do it: “Just go to your phone, go to settings, hit Bluetooth. If you see a long string of numbers or letter trying to connect, that is probably not good.” Yes, the Bluetooth technology in a smartphone is enough to keep information protected.

At gas stations, skimmers tend to be placed at the end pumps, where installation is less lkley to be noticed. The Florida Department of Agriculture offers this advice to avoid gas pump skimming: pay with cash and avoid using a debit card. Try to avoid the compromising of PIN numbers as much as possible. With credit cards, the money pulls much more slowly and includes better fraud detection and protection.

At an ATM machine, try to look for cameras, but always cover your hand when typing in your PIN number. Test the machine to ensure it is securely in place or at least have an awareness of any pieces that may not completely add up. That could mean the machine has been tampered with, in which case, you’re safer going into the bank or finding an alternate ATM. Again, if suspicious, turn on your Bluetooth when to help out and, if you think you’ve identified a skimmer, do not use the compromised reader, and notify authorities immediately.

Gas stations have received an extension until 2020 to update pumps with chip services, which are designed to be much more secure than magnetic strips, meaning this is a threat for another three years. So, keep your Bluetooth handy and remain vigilant. 

Edited by Erik Linask

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