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Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia: E-Skimming Hitting Online Shoppers

From the Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia:

For years, scammers have used a small device on ATMs, gas pumps, and other terminals to harvest credit card information. As technology has improved, this form of “skimming” has become less effective. Scammers aren’t deterred. They’re now using a technique called “e-skimming” to steal credit card data from online shoppers. 


How the Scam Works


You’re online shopping with a reputable website. You put an item in your cart and proceed to check out. You enter your credit or debit card number and your billing address to make the purchase. Everything seems normal.


What you can’t see is that cybercriminals have hacked into the company’s server and planted malware on the site. This harvests your personal information including your credit or debit card numbers. You won’t be aware your information was stolen until the company discovers the breach and alerts its customers. Other times you’ll find out after scammers used your credit card and fraudulent purchases begin appearing on your statement.


How to Protect Yourself from E-Skimming Scams


Keep a close eye on your statements. Check your bank and credit card

statements regularly to confirm all charges. If you notice any suspicious

activity, immediately call your bank or credit card company and report it. Use the customer service number found on the back of your card or on your monthly statement.


Make online purchases using a credit card. Use your credit card instead of your debit card to make online purchases. It’s much easier to dispute charges made with your credit card.


Consider using a virtual credit card.

Some credit card companies and banks offer virtual cards to their clients. These provide a unique credit card number to use when shopping online that links to your normal account. If any unusual transactions are made or the number is compromised, other charges are immediately declined.



For More Information


Get advice on protecting yourself online by reading the BBB Tips for Smart Shopping Online.


If you’ve been the victim of a scam after making an online purchase, be sure to report it at Your report can help expose scammers and protect other consumers.


About BBB: BBB serving Central Virginia serves Richmond, the Tri-Cities, Charlottesville, and Fredericksburg, as well as 42 surrounding counties from Fauquier to Mecklenburg and Northumberland to Amherst. The nonprofit organization was established in 1954 to advance responsible, honest, and ethical business practices and to promote customer confidence through self-regulation of business. Core services of BBB include business profiles, dispute resolution, truth-in advertising, scam warnings, consumer and business education, and charity review. 

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