Are Credit Card Machines in Taxis and Parking Garages Safe?

Odd Cents - Are Credit Card Machines in Taxis and Parking Garages Safe_

Credit card data theft is very real. There are people out there desperate for your credit card information and they are taking all of the steps they can to get it. The most recent hack targeted Master Card and Visa credit cards which were used in New York taxis and parking garages. One important question comes to mind. Are credit card machines in taxis and parking garages safe?

My first instinct given what has happened would be to say no. I read a couple of articles and it seems as though the chain of contact is very long with many connections along the way. The best way for me to understand this was to put myself in the shoes of one of those customers. Please feel free to correct me, if you have a clearer understanding of how this works.

Let’s say that I got into a taxi in New York. I did not have enough cash for the fare, so I decided to use my credit card. I take it out of my purse and swipe it in the credit card machine. The machine is linked to the taxi cab company’s server. My information, which includes the credit card number, my name, my address and date of birth is then sent to a processor who sends the information to my credit card company.

The credit card company does all of its checks, and consequently issues the authorisation that everything is legitimate. The authorisation is sent back to the processor, who then sends confirmation to the taxi company/ taxi. All of this happens in a matter of seconds, so you can imagine the complexity of the behind-the-scenes software that makes this happen.

In this particular case, they are saying that the breach was with the processor of the information. Was there a lapse in security? Was there a computer glitch that screwed everything up? Reports are saying that ten million customers have been affected. That is a huge problem and the urgency can not be put into words.

The threat of identity theft is of great concern in a case like this and you can not help but wonder how many times this has happened. Another post that I read was a bit eerie. It questioned the safety of swiping your credit card in a taxi. And this was just a few days before this “massive” attack was made public, . But this raises other questions. After you swipe your credit card in any credit card machine in an store, is your information really safe?