E-Skimming: What is It and How to Safeguard Against It

You’ve probably heard of skimming, that nefarious practice of installing devices in ATMs or gas station credit card machines that secretly record one’s financial information. But have you heard of e-skimming?

Also called web skimming or Magecart, e-skimming is when scammers edit JavaScript code and “capture the credit card data in real time as the user enters it,” according to the FBI.

Yeah, not good. And it’s on the rise.

So, what can you do to help safeguard your financial information from e-skimming? A few things:

  • Use a virtual credit card (a temporary number that allows you to use your real credit card without exposing your info to a retailer’s website)
  • Pay through a third party, like PayPal or Venmo
  • Keep all your tech’s operating systems and applications up to date
  • Pay attention to your bank accounts and credit reports

For businesses and agencies that take online payments, the FBI recommends the following tips to help protect against e-skimming:

  • Update and patch all systems with the latest security software. Anti-virus and anti-malware need to be up-to-date and firewalls strong.
  • Change default login credentials on all systems.
  • Educate employees about safe cyber practices. Most importantly, do not click on links or unexpected attachments in messages.
  • Segregate and segment network systems to limit how easily cyber criminals can move from one to another.

If you’ve been a victim of this online scam or any other fraud, report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov or call your local FBI office.

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