Are you frustrated because your debit card information has been compromised? SO ARE WE!!!! Let me explain: Over the past few years, “fraudsters” have become increasingly creative when coming up with ways to steal your information.
We want to assure you that we have not been made aware of ANY data breaches which originated from Advantage!
The most common types of businesses where we have seen debit card information compromises have been restaurants, retailers and gas stations. The fraudsters use different means to steal the card information. Here are some examples:
At gas pumps and ATMs, fraudsters may install a “skimmer”. This is a very thin device which is installed on the card swiper which actually records the information off of your card when you swipe it. The information is then used to make a fraudulent card, then purchases are made with the transaction being routed to your account.
At restaurants and retailers, the criminals have become very adept at using technology to steal information. These types of establishments us point-of-sale (POS) devices to facilitate your payment. You swipe your card, the system sends a message to your account to verify that you have enough money, if you do, the system sends back an authorization to approve the purchase. The data is then sent from the merchant to their card processor who handles the transaction and makes sure the merchant receives their money. Our experience has shown us just how complex the business of fraud has become. A restaurant was using the process described above. We had a sudden spike in abnormal debit card activity. Many purchases were occurring out of state and were coming through at exactly the same hour, minute and second. We monitored this activity and began to identify certain patterns including a common point of purchase for each of the compromised cards. When we found one, we did further research and blocked all of the cards that were used for transactions within certain timeframes. Even though most of these cards had not been used fraudulently, we had reason to believe that the information could have been stolen and would be used at a later time. We blocked the cards, contacted members and reissued cards. We worked with the restaurant owners, the Monroe County Sherriff’s Department, computer networking and security experts and other financial institutions to make changes in the security levels and structure of the internal networks at the restaurant.
The security experts found a virus on the internal network of the restaurant. The virus was collecting debit card data and transmitting it out to fraudsters. Sufficient steps were taken to correct the problem at that restaurant. Unfortunately, there are many more similar situations out there. We do our very best to monitor our systems, keep members informed and reissue cards as quickly as possible.
In an effort to share information about this type of activity, there is a local group of security personnel that meet monthly to discuss current issues. These meetings include representatives from credit unions, banks, retailers and law enforcement. Cooperation among local financial institutions has helped put pressure on law enforcement to make sure these problems, when identified, get corrected as quickly as possible.
We thank you for your continued support of Advantage. Please be sure to protect your account information and we will do everything we can to protect you as well.Debit Card TIPS and useful information: