Vigilant Coquitlam Retailer Stops High-Tech Shimmers

A simple, new security procedure has stopped a high-tech fraud in Coquitlam.

55164_SHIMMER_Close_Up_THUMBNAILA major Coquitlam business now includes daily testing of its computerized point-of-sale terminals as part of its security routine. On January 11, 2017, one of those routine daily checks found that a test card was sticking inside the terminals. When the terminals were opened, they contained four very slim, plastic card ‘shimmers’ that contained microchips meant to illegally capture the banking data on your credit or debit cards. If the data had been successfully stolen it could have been used to create fake credit or debit cards.

The Coquitlam RCMP Economic Crime Unit (ECU) says these new, tiny card shimmers make the once-bulky, overlay systems called ‘skimmers’ virtually obsolete. You can’t see a shimmer from the outside like the old ‘skimmer’ versions says Cst. Alex Bojic of Coquitlam RCMP ECU, businesses and consumers should immediately report anything abnormal about the way their card is acting. That’s especially true if the card is sticking inside the machine.

55162_3_SHIMMERS_Dark_THUMBNAILThe Coquitlam RCMP ECU strongly urges all businesses to call police immediately whenever they find a shimming device. Like all victims, the privacy of each business will be protected. Sometimes multiple frauds can be linked over time; the evidence that comes from calling police about every point-of-sale fraud can be crucial.

No suspects have yet been arrested in Coquitlam but the investigation is active. The Coquitlam RCMP ECU has contacted investigators outside of our jurisdiction and has learned that the tiny card shimmers are starting to pop up everywhere.

A good way for everyone to protect themselves from shimming is to use the tap feature on our credit or debit cards. It’s actually very secure says Cst. Bojic, each tap transfers very limited banking information which can’t be used to clone your card.

If you or your business ever finds a shimmer in Anmore, Belcarra, Coquitlam, or Port Coquitlam, call Coquitlam RCMP right away at 604-945-1550 or 911 if the crime is in progress.