A new type of malware that is infecting credit card readers used at retail establishments as well as ATMs is posing a huge problem for American consumers using their credit cards and debit cards for purchases. The malware is called the Dump Memory Grabber malware. It is believed that the malware is the creation of Russian criminals. Once installed on a credit card reader such as you would commonly find at the checkout counter of many stores or an ATM, the malware is able to read the information encoded on the credit card or debit card, such as the name of the card holder, the account number and the card’s expiration date. This information is transmitted from the card reader or ATM to the criminals automatically electronically. The information once received is used to creat fake credit cards that can be used to access the credit or in the case of debit cards, the bank accounts of the people whose card information has been stolen. So far, credit and debit cards of Chase, Capital One, Citibank and Union Bank of California have all been hit by this scam.
Unlike the “skimmer” which I have described before in scamicide.com, a person using an infected credit card reader or ATM has no way of knowing if the machine has been tampered with. The best thing you can do is to make sure that you constantly monitor your credit card bills for unauthorized purchases and report them immediately to your credit card issuer. Federal law limits your liability to no more than $50 and most credit card issuers will not even charge you that amount. However, with a debit card you do not get the same protection. If you do not discover that your debit card has been compromised promptly, you risk losing your entire bank account tied to the card and even if you do discover the breach immediately, your account will be frozen while your bank investigates the matter. My advice is not to use your debit card ever for purchases. Only use it as an ATM card.