Using credit card skimmers is one of the major ways identity thieves steal a customer’s identity today. Skimmers can be placed on ATM machines, merchant credit card terminals, or other card reader locations. Criminals use these electronic devices because they are fast, accurate, and can access tones of information before they are discovered or removed. To spot credit card skimmers, it is important that you first understand how credit card skimming works.
How credit card skimming works
Credit card skimming entails refitting a legitimate card reader with another fraudulent one. Then, during a legitimate transaction at a shop or restaurant or at an ATM, the cardholder is unaware that the information on their card is being copied onto a skimmer. Note that the magnetic strip on your card is critical and contains information like your name, telephone number, card number, credit limit and PIN. Therefore, it is important that you always stay alert when using your credit card.
How to avoid credit card skimming
The following tips can help you avoid credit card skimmers, and reduce instances of credit card fraud.
- Keep a close eye on your credit card: While shopping or at restaurant, do not let your credit card out of site. These are probable places for skimming to occur since you lose the possession of your card for a few minutes.
- Look out for suspicious equipment: Identity thieves may sometimes place skimmers on the card slot of an ATM. Do not use an ATM if you notice anything suspicious with the ATM. Another reliable option is to use a familiar ATM that you are comfortable with.
- Do not swipe your card through more than one device, and ensure the employee handling does not do it either.
- Keep Your PIN secret: When entering your PIN during credit card transactions, make sure that there is no one watching. Even when you are alone, guard it well: skimmers are known to use cameras to observe people entering their PIN.
- Examine your bills closely: If you notice any unauthorized changes/ transactions, it is important you report it to your bank immediately.
These are just some of the ways you can prevent credit card skimming. By staying alert and reporting any suspicious activity, you can help reduce fraud and credit card skimming.
For more tips on avoiding skimmers check out this in-depth article at Krebs On Security