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How to spot a card skimmer at ATM’s and gas pumps ?

What is Card Skimming?

Card skimming (also known as ATM skimming) is when a fraudster is able to copy your debit or credit card data from the magnetic strip on your card when it is used. Typically, a small, hidden camera is also set up to capture your PIN as you enter it while making a payment.

The information captured from your card is then copied onto a blank debit or credit card, which can be used to make fraudulent transactions.

Mostly skimmers are stealing credit and debit card information from ATM’s and gas pumps. According to FICO, there is 70 percent rise in debit cards compromised at u.s. atms and merchants in 2016

How do card skimmers work?

Card skimmers are comprised of two parts:

The skimmer itself — a small device that is fitted over the original card reader. When your debit or credit card is inserted, the skimmer records the data that is stored on the magnetic strip of the card. Since these skimmers are placed on top of the original card reader, the transaction will process as normal, and you may not realize that your data has been copied.

These devices are created to look like the actual card reader, so they can be hard to spot.

The camera or keypad overlay — a small camera that is placed where it can capture you inputting your PIN, or a keypad overlay fitted on top of the legitimate keyboard that records your PIN when you enter it. Again, these devices are created to fit in with the surroundings, so it can be difficult to recognize that they don’t actually belong there.

Above are the 2 main tricks used by card skimmers, you can spot a credit card skimmer with above techniques.

What to spot and avoid Card Skimming fraud?

Gas stations, ATM are some of the places these tricks are used. Here is how to avoid,

– Always shield your PIN as you enter it.

– Take an extra look at the card reader. If it is a different color from the rest of the machine, looks like it may be damaged, has glue or other adhesive substances on it, be cautious.

– For the gas pump, look to make sure the security tape on the pump is not broken. That’s your clue to see if a skimming device has been placed inside.

– You could use your debit card as credit so you don’t have to type in a pin and you’re better protected.

– Look for anything that might have a tiny hole or slot for a hidden camera to be placed, especially where it could be aimed at the keypad.

– Make sure your contact information is up to date with your bank or credit card provider. This is the information banks will use to contact you if they suspect any fraudulent activity. This includes making sure your mailing address is always current so that any replacement cards you may ever need are sent to the right address!

– Always review your account activity and statements. If you see anything that appears to be fraudulent, contact your bank immediately.

[ reference – dcu.com, wspa.com, FIFO ]

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