As 2012 approaches, and companies continue to pursue compliance with the PCI DSS, the threat of data theft still looms large for merchants. On December 12, 2011, CNN, and other news organizations, ran a story announcing that US authorities arrested four Romanian Nationals in connection with a data theft scheme that had been active since 2008. The four individuals would hack into Point of Sale (POS) systems and install Trojans and key-stroke loggers to capture payment card data. This data was then used to make fraudulent purchases, primarily in Europe. 150 Subway restaurants, as well as over 50 other retailers, were victimized and an estimated 80,000 cards were compromised.
As consumers, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the holiday season and drop our guard when it comes to safe shopping. The increasing balances on credit cards often result in people not checking their statements until after the holiday season. In a rush to make purchases, caution may take a back seat to convenience and the prevalence of goodwill may convince some shoppers that criminals wouldn’t take advantage of the holiday season. Unfortunately, the holiday season is when criminals are often most active.