Self-Storage Proving Resistant to Credit Card Skimming

July 2, 2013 2
Self-Storage Proving Resistant to Credit Card Skimming

Last year, infamous international criminals Antonio Gabor and Simion Tudor Pintille used a self-storage facility in Queens, NY, as the headquarters for a credit card skimming scheme.

Inside their storage locker, federal agents discovered hard drives with 6,100 stolen bank account numbers and hundreds of hours of ATM video footage, as well as more than 1,000 plastic cards encoded with stolen bank account information.

Pintillie, a Romanian citizen, and Gabor, an expat from Denmark, “skimmed” 50 Chase and Capital One ATMs throughout Manhattan, NY; Milwaukee; and Chicago.

By surreptitiously placing wafer-sized “skimmers” inside ATM card readers and “pinhole” cameras near the keypads, Gabor and Pintille were able to access $3 million from more than 6,000 individual accounts.

The two criminals are behind bars, but authorities think they had at least nine accomplices.

Although skimmers have historically targeted ATMs and gas stations, any machine with a card reader is at risk, particularly outdoor kiosks that lack surveillance by humans.

Self-Storage Kiosks
Considering OpenTech Alliance’s Insomniac kiosks racked up more than $24 million in self-storage transactions last year, storage kiosks could become a target for skimmers. So far, they’ve gone unnoticed by criminals.

OpenTech Alliance President and CEO Robert Chiti explained why skimmers haven’t targeted storage. “The kiosks are generally not in very busy areas. I would guess criminals are looking for higher transaction volume,” he said.

Also, the Insomniacs’ cameras probably act as a deterrent, Chiti said.

“I imagine video has kept us out of harm’s way,” he said. “All of our machines all have cameras on them. We have two-way video; we can see them, they can see us.”

770-camera copy
Additionally, OpenTech has teamed up with Magtek to build card readers equipped with sophisticated encryption.

If you use credit card readers or kiosks at your facilities, you can take some simple steps to ensure your tenants’ data is kept safe.

Security Stickers
Generally, theses stickers are placed over a credit card machine’s seams or screw holes, as they’re designed to indicate a machine hasn’t been tampered with.

It’s relatively easy for a sophisticated crook to place a new sticker on a terminal, so if there’s been a security breach, be sure to check the security stickers.

4 terminals

Other Tips

  • Be wary of unannounced visits from kiosk maintenance folks. Historically, skimmers have gained access to card readers at gas stations by pretending to make service visits.
  • Keep a surveillance camera on your kiosk at all times. If you discover that a camera has been moved or damaged, be sure to check the kiosk for tampering.
  • Ensure that your kiosks are well-lit at night.

Images courtesy of krebsonsecurity.com, opentechalliance.com, pcisecuritystandards.org

  • Lucky13X

    As a consumer, I was not aware such “skimming” technology was out there. Thanks for this article.

    Hopefully as more facilities get kiosks which can be beneficial for customers checking in or paying bills in the late hours, the facilities will be sure to take these precautions to protect their clients.

  • Jullian Miller

    Credit card skimming is a growing nuisance and an growing concern among ATM owners and consumers. The security stickers are a good step and would prove helpful to avoid skimming of ATM machines.