A recent TikTok video from @bolas_ciclas captured the attention of many users as it exposed credit card skimmers found in San Jose and Gilroy, California. The TikToker urged viewers to check for hidden cameras and skimmers installed on ATMs and card readers at stores, restaurants, and gas stations.
@sanjosetweets @bolas_ciclas found a credit card skimmer @bankofamerica on Monterey Rd in Gilroy CA. I just recently posted about a skimmer being found @bankofamerica ATMs in Stockton as well as San Jose State University. Yall gotta be careful. I left BofA a few months ago because I kept getting hit smh. 🎥@bolas_ciclas ‼️‼️ #sanjosetweets #sanjoseca #gilroyca #creditcardscam #creditcardskimming #bayareanews #sanjosenews ♬ original sound - sanjosetweets
Criminals have long used skimming devices to steal cardholders' finanical information and personal identification numbers (PINs) without their knowledge, often receiving the stolen data via Bluetooth according to ABC7 News. The development has led to at least six agencies in the Bay Area issuing warnings about these scams. San Jose State University Cyber Security expert Ahmed Banafa mentioned the simplicity and speed with which these skimming devices can be installed, while emphasizing the risks associated with stolen financial information.
Instances of card skimming have been reported across several Bay Area locations, from Tamalpais Valley 7-Eleven in Mill Valley to a Sunnyvale Chevron 7-Eleven. In addition, Petaluma Police Department revealed skimmer devices and tiny cameras placed between a local Bank of America ATM and three 7-Eleven outlets.
TikTok User @karenxvx added, "It happened to my sister at Bank of America on Aborn / East Capitol Expressway San Jose too last month." The original video poster replied, "SMH it's always BofA too."
On the San Jose State University campus, a student discovered a credit card skimmer at the Bank of America ATM located in the SJSU ATM Kiosk. In response to this growing threat, the University Police Department took prompt action by issuing a Community Safety Advisory.
As detailed by the FBI, card skimming costs financial institutions and consumers more than $1 billion each year. In-depth security news outlet KrebsOnSecurity highlights that these skimming devices can be disguised as a part of the cash machine and are used by criminals to steal data, allowing them to create fake credit or debit cards and withdraw from victims' accounts.
It's important for cardholders to be vigilant and practice caution to safeguard their financial information. Cyber Security expert Banafa recommends using credit cards with chips whenever possible since the chip is encrypted and more secure. Another approach is to opt for third-party payment options like Apple Pay or Google Pay, which do not transmit credit card information directly.
By regularly inspecting card readers and ATMs for any visible signs of tampering, and comparing devices to others in the vicinity, cardholders can reduce the chances of having their financial data stolen. And taking just a few extra moments to check devices can go a long way in protecting themselves.