Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Watch Out for ATM Skimming. Peter Bruce Photo

The next time you pull up to an ATM, take a closer look at the machine. Does it look a little clunkier than usual?

Look too at what's around you: Are there mirrors? Is there a brochure holder over your shoulder? Does it look like there might be a false panel or an extra light bar attached to the machine?

[sun1010mw]Tim Goldman

If something looks or feels amiss, walk away. You might save yourself from perpetuating a consumer fraud called ATM skimming. That's when thieves attach devices onto ATM machines in order to copy a credit- or debit-card number, the information on the magnetic strip and even your personal identification number.

"Many consumers may not be aware that an ATM has been tampered with because they're not educated about this," says Robert Vamosi, a security, risk and fraud research analyst at Javelin Strategy & Research.

Consider this your lesson.

Sophisticated skimming devices placed right over a card-reader slot allow scammers to capture the information embedded on the magnetic strip of a debit or credit card.

Within seconds, they have all they need to duplicate your card.They might also have what's called a pinhole camera mounted over your shoulder -- say, in a plastic holder for brochures or a false panel -- that records your fingers tapping in your PIN. Or there could be an overlay on the keypad that does so.

"They're not just stealing your credit-card number and information like the expiration date, but also the information encoded on the back of the magnetic strip," says Brian Krebs, who has written extensively about ATM skimmers on his blog, KrebsOnSecurity.com. "All they need to do is encode the information on another magnetic strip and they've re-created your card. ...It's a wholesale re-creation of your card and you still have it in your wallet."

And it's a lucrative business. Theft from ATM skimming is approaching $1 billion annually, according to Bankrate.com. Javelin estimates that one in five people have been hit by an ATM skimmer.

While a traditional bank heist will net the thief an average of $5,000, ATM pinching yields an average of $50,000, according to Doug Johnson, vice president of risk-management policy for the American Bankers Association.

"We have seen a higher level of sophistication associated with devices," Mr. Johnson says, "which can tend to make losses larger than in the past when more easily detectable skimming devices were used."

The attacks tend to be in high-traffic areas, such as big cities or popular malls. But stand-alone machines anywhere also are targets.

Here are some tips to keep in mind next time you go to withdraw cash:

Trust your GUT instincts. If something doesn't look right or feel right, move on to the next ATM. "Victims have said that they had a feeling when they were using the machines that something wasn't right," says Javelin's Mr. Vamosi.

As you key in your PIN, cover the keyboard with the other hand to block anyone or a camera from seeing.

Don't use ATMs with unusual signage or instructions, such as a command to enter your PIN twice to complete a transaction.

Be picky about what ATMs you use. "Don't go up to an ATM in a dark place," Mr. Krebs says. "Find one that's in a well-lit area, publicly visible and not tucked away somewhere."

Use ATMs that you're familiar with. If you travel, stick to ATMs at a bank branch. "Using a stand-alone ATM is like playing Russian roulette, especially in major metropolitan cities," says Robert Siciliano, a McAfee consultant and founder of IDTheftSecurity.com.

So how can you tell if an ATM has been altered with a skimming device or camera?

A lot of skimming devices are "stuck onto the machine or nearby with Velcro or two-sided tape," Mr. Siciliano says.

Keypads that aren't concave, for example, could have overlays that flatten or pull the surface of the keys out. A card-reader slot might have a perfectly molded attachment over it that pops off. Some skimmers are custom-made with matching molding and a color that corresponds to a targeted ATM.

"Consumers should stay away from ATMs that appear to have been altered," says Malcolm Wiley, a spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service. "If anything on the front of the machine looks crooked, loose or damaged, it could be a sign that someone has attached a skimming device or a camera."

Be careful, too, of bank-card skimmers attached to the pumps at gasoline stations.

Last summer, law-enforcement officials in Denver, Los Angeles, Dallas and Florida arrested suspects who allegedly stole debit- and credit-card information by placing small Bluetooth-enabled electronic devices inside the pump handles, which are locked.

Thieves then didn't have to return to the scene of the crime to unload the information. It was all available to them on their laptops or through text messages -- at least until the batteries on the devices wore out.

"These new skimming devices are better and getting harder and harder to detect," Mr. Siciliano says

Cheers Peter Bruce Photo

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Going to Press...

It's on the boat to China. Yes the book has finally gone to press. Sorry about the delay

That being said we need one last favor PLEASE HELP...

We need everyone to pass this blog posting around to raise awareness so we can sell some more books to cover costs.

PLEASE throw this link out on your Face book,blog,twitter where ever you can

Here is the link


Thanks in advance

PS ...the book would make a great holiday gift. Here is a direct link to buy


Best regards Peter Bruce at bforacure

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This is a list of some fabulous wedding locations that Peter Bruce Photo has worked in Northern California:

Bay Area Weddings Kohl Mansion www.kohl-mansion.com, Pacific Athletic Club www.pacclubevents.com Post Ranch Inn www.postranchinn.com, Seascape Resort www.seascaperesort.com Sofitel Hotel www.sofitel.com, Ruby Hill Golf Club www.rubyhill.com, The Ritz Carlton Halfmoon Bay www.ritzcarlton.com, Ventana Inn www.ventanainn.com

Carmel & Pebble Beach Weddings Bernardus Lodge & Winery www.bernardus.com, Carmel Valley Ranch carmelvalleyranch.com, The Highlands Inn www.highlandsinn.hyatt.com, The Holman Ranch www.holmanranch.com, Stonepine www.stonepinecalifornia.com, Inn at Spanish Bay and Lodge at Pebble Beach www.pebblebeach.com

Los Gatos Weddings Byington Winery www.byington.com, Nestldown www.nestldown.com

San Jose Weddings Dolce Hayes Mansion www.hayesmansion.dolce.com, The Fairmont San Jose www.fairmont.com/sanjose, Silver Creek Valley Country Club www.scvcc.com

Saratoga Weddings The Mountain Winery www.mountainwinery.com, Villa Montalvo www.villamontalvo.org

San Francisco Weddings Argent Hotel www.argenthotel.com, Asian Art Museum www.asianart.org/rentthemuseum.htm, City Club of San Francisco www.cityclubsf.com, Clift Hotel www.ianschragerhotels.com, Conservatory of Flowers www.conservatoryofflowers.org, The Fairmont San Francisco www.fairmont.com/sanfrancisco, Ferry Building www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com, The Golden Gate Club www.presidio.gov, Great American Music Hall www.musichallsf.com, Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco www.fourseasons.com, Hamlin Mansion www.parties-sf.com, The Flood Mansion www.floodmansion.org, Legion of Honor www.edible-art.com, Mandarin Oriental www.mandarinoriental.com, Mark Hopkins www.markhopkins.net, The Palace Hotel www.sfpalace.com, The Regency www.regencycentersf.com, Ritz-Carlton San Francisco www.ritzcarlton.com, Rubicon www.sfrubicon.com, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art www.sfmoma.org/events, Westin St. Francis www.westinstfrancis.com

Napa Valley & Sonoma Weddings Auberge du Soleil www.aubergedusoleil.com, Beltane Ranch www.beltaneranch.com, Calistoga Ranch www.calistogaranch.com, Cline Cellars www.clinecellars.com, Hans Fahden Vineyards www.hansfahden.com, Meadowood www.meadowood.com, Viansa Winery www.viansa.com, Villagio www.villagio.com

Winery Weddings Clos La Chance www.closlachance.com, Guglielmo Winery www.guglielmowinery.com, Thomas Fogarty Winery www.fogartywinery.com, Wente Vineyards www.wentevineyards.com

Seascape Resort, Seascape Golf Club, Hollins House, Holman Ranch, Nestldown, Highlands Inn, Monterey Penninsula Country Club, The Lodge at Pebble Beach, Carmel Mission Ranch, Bernardus Lodge, Post Ranch, Ventana Inn, Clos LaChance, Guglielmo Winery, The Ritz Carlton Halfmoon Bay, Byington Winery, Villa Montalvo, Saratoga Country Club, Chateau La Cresta, Maison du Lac and Gardens, The Forum, Marin Art and Garden Center, Ralston Hall, Kohl Mansion, Crow Country Club, Fairmont Hotel, Grace Cathedral, Notre Dame Des Victorias, Old St. Hillary's, The Regency Building, Aqua Hotel, Grand Hyatt San Francisco, Grand Cafe and Hotel Monaco, The Pan Pacific Hotel, Flood Mansion, Hamlin Mansion, The California Culinary Academy, Golden Gate Club or Presideo Officers Club, Log Cabin at the Presidio, Bohemian Club, SF MOMA, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Omni San Francisco Hotel, Sir Francis Drake Hotel, The Westin Saint Francis, Swedenborgian Church, Palace Hotel, W Hotel, The Clift Hotel, Claremont Resort & Spa, The Brazilian Room, Viansa Winery, Elliston Vinyards, Cline Cellars, Savannah-Chanelle Vinyards, V. Sattui Winery, Hans Fahden Winery, Thomas Fogarty Winery, Auberge du Soleil, Chardonnay Golf Club, Beaulieu Gardens, Meadowood, St. Francis Winery, Hacienda De Las Flores, Ruby Hills Country Club, Black Hawk Museum, Wente Vinyards, Grand Island Mansion, Bacara Resort & Spa, Stone Manor, Calamigos Ranch, Beverly Hills Hotel, The Four Seasons Beverly Hills, St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort and Spa, The Lodge at Torrey Pines, Casa Del Mar, Catalino Room, Resort at Squaw Creek, The Lodge at Rancho Mirage, El Monte Sagrado, Ballroom at the Ben & the Crystal Tea Room, The Penninsula Chicago, The National Hotel, The Breakers, Bellagio, The Paris Hotel, The Venetian, The Halcyon House, Meridian House, The Chanler at Cliffwalk, The Plaza, Regent Wall Street Hotel, The Otto H. Kahn Residence, New York at the Park Avenue mansion, Barton Creek Resort & Club, Magnolia Room, Nottoway Plantation, Yellowstone Club, Casa de Campo, The Four Seasons Maui, Casa Sol de Oriente, Las Ventanas, Villa de Sol, La Casa Que Canta, Costa Careyes, Punta Cana Resort and Club, Orangerie in Holland Park, The Dorchester, Claridge's Hotel, Home House, Treetrops Lodge, Lago di Como, Villa D'Este, Vatulele, Turtle Island.

Wedding photojournalism for the following Cities in the U.S. and Canada:
New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, Dallas, San Antonio, Detroit, San Jose, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Columbus, Austin, Baltimore, Memphis, Boston, Washington D.C., El Paso, Seattle, Denver, Charlotte, Fort Worth, Portland, Tucson, Pheonix, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Cleveland, Long Beach, Virginia Beach, Atlanta, Sacramento, Oakland, Costa Mesa, Minneapolis, Honolulu, Miami, Colorado Springs, St. Louis, Santa Ana, Pittsburgh, Arlington, Cincinnati, Anaheim, Toledo, Tampa, Buffalo, Saint Paul, Corpus Christi, Aurora, Raleigh, Newark, Lexington, Anchorage, Louisville, Riverside, Saint Petersburg, Burmingham, Jersey City, Norfolk, Baton Rouge, Rochester, Madison, Fort Wayne, Scottsdale, Montgomery, Shreveport, Augusta, Lubbock, Chesapeake, Grand Rapids, Richmond, Yonkers, Spokane, Glendale, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Winnipeg, London, Hamilton, and Quebec.

Wedding Photographers Serving These European and Asian Pacific Rim Cities and Metropolitan Areas:
China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Bali, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Marshall Islands, Virgin Islands, Micronesia, New Zealand, Cook Islands, Moorea, Germany, UK, France, Paris, Italy, Greece, Oslo, Norway, Stockholm, Sweden, Helsinki, Finland, Copenhagen, Denmark, London, Dublin, Ireland, Scottland, Monaco, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Athens, Vatican City, Vatican, Vienna, Austria, Kiev, Ukraine, Prague, Czech Republic, Brussels, Belgium, Costa Rica, Cayman Islands, Grand Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Croix, St. Thomas, Cannes, Hawaiian Islands, Japan, Tokyo, Guadalajara, Acapulco, Mexico, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Cozumel, Cancun, Brazil, La Paz, Argentina, Chile, Santiago, Peru, Lima, Beijing, Shanghai, Okinawa, Osaka, Sapporo, Taipei, Easter Islands, French Polynesia, Sydney, Australia, Melbourne, Hanoi, Bangkok, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, South Africa, Cairo, Egypt, Morocco.

Wedding and Event Photographers serving the Four Seasons Hotels:

The Four Seasons Atlanta, The Four Seasons Austin, The Four Seasons Aviara, The Four Seasons Boston, The Four Seasons Buenas Aires, The Four Seasons Caracas, The Four Seasons Chicago, The Four Seasons Costa Rica, The Four Seasons Dallas, The Four Seasons Hawaii, The Four Seasons Houston, The Four Seasons Las Vegas, The Four Seasons Los Angeles,
The Regent Beverly Wilshire, The Four Seasons Maui, The Four Seasons Mexico, The Four Seasons Miami, The Four Seasons New York, The Pierre, The Four Seasons Newport Beach, The Four Seasons Palm Beach, The Four Seasons Philedelphia, The Four Seasons Punta Mita, The Four Seasons San Francisco, The Four Seasons Santa Barbara, The Four Seasons Vancouver, The Four Seasons Amman, The Four Seasons Berlin, The Four Seasons Budapest, The Four Seasons Cairo, The Four Seasons Dublin, The Four Seasons Hampshire, The Four Seasons Istanbul, The Four Seasons London, The Four Seasons Milan, The Four Seasons Paris, The Four Seasons Prague, The Four Seasons Provence, The Four Seasons Bali, The Four Seasons Bali at Jimbaran Bay, The Four Seasons Bali at Sayan, The Four Seasons Bangkok, The Regent Jakarta, The Regent Kuala Lumpur, The Four Seasons Shanghai, The Four Seasons Singapore, The Regent Singapore, The Four Seasons Sydney, Grand Formosa Regent.

Wedding and Event Photographers serving The Ritz Carlton:
The Ritz Carlton Phoenix, The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay, The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, The Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey, The Ritz Carlton Pasadena, The Ritz Carlton Los Angeles, The Ritz Carlton San Francisco, The Ritz Carlton Colorado, The Ritz Carlton Aspen, The Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch, The Ritz Carlton Amelia Island, The Ritz Carlton Coconut Grove, The Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne, The Ritz Carlton Naples, The Ritz Carlton Naples Golf, The Ritz Carlton Orlando, The Ritz Carlton Palm Beach, The Ritz Carlton Sarasota, The Ritz Carlton South Beach, The Ritz Carlton Atlanta, The Ritz Carlton Kapalua, The Ritz Carlton Maui, The Ritz Carlton New Orleans, The Ritz Carlton Maison Orleans, The Ritz Carlton Boston, The Ritz Carlton St. Louis, The Ritz Carlton Las Vegas, The Ritz Carlton New York, The Ritz Carlton Battery Park, The Ritz Carlton Central Park, The Ritz Carlton Cleveland, The Ritz Carlton Philedelphia, The Ritz Carlton Georgetown, The Ritz Carlton Pentagon City, The Ritz Carlton Tysons Corner, The Ritz Carlton Washington D.C., The Ritz Carlton Montreal, The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman, The Ritz Carlton Montego Bay, The Ritz Carlton San Juan, The Ritz Carlton St. Thomas, The Ritz Carlton Cancun, The Ritz Carlton Santiago, The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong, The Ritz Carlton Shanghai, The Ritz Carlton Bali, The Ritz Carlton Osaka, The Ritz Carlton Seol, The Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur, The Ritz Carlton Singapore, The Ritz Carlton Berlin, The Ritz Carlton Wolfsburg, Penha Longa Hotel and Resort, The Ritz Carlton Barcelona, The Ritz Carlton Istanbul, The Ritz Carlton London, The Ritz Carlton Sharm El Sheikh, The Ritz Carlton Egypt.

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