Today more than ever, criminals can easily capture and steal your credit and debit card information thanks to small, stealthy devices known as “skimmers.”
Now, law enforcement officials are asking citizens to help keep an eye out for several signs of this fraudulent credit card scheme occurring at busy gas stations and ATMs across America.
Please help in the ongoing fight against credit card thieves; stop and take a moment to familiarize yourself with the 6 ways to make sure you aren’t scammed by a credit card skimmer.
According to Krebs On Security, skimmers are typically placed at the mouth of the credit/debit card acceptance slot, and are designed to capture the data of the magnetic strip on the back of a customer’s ATM card when the card is entered into the machine. Usually, thieves will plant a secondary device used to record the customer’s PIN, such as a hidden camera or a PIN pad overlay. With the data from the magnetic strip and the customer’s PIN, the thieves can later clone that ATM card and use it to withdraw cash.
The above picture is reportedly a real-life skimmer in use on an ATM. You can see how the arrows are very close to the skimmer (the yellow card reader). That is a sign a skimmer was installed over the existing reader, since the real card reader would have some space before the arrows.
6 Ways To Help Bring Fraudulent Credit Card Thieves To Justice:
1. Shield your PIN & look for cameras: Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for small cameras that look hidden or out of place. The easiest step you can take to avoid having your PIN stolen is to block your hand typing in the PIN with your other hand. Always assume someone is watching you enter your PIN; it is not uncommon for thieves to install small cameras on popular ATMs.
2. Check for tampering: Before putting your card into a reader, check it for tampering. Look for anything different or misaligned. If it looks suspicious, do NOT use the machine and report it immediately to your financial institution or law officials immediately.
3. Wiggle everything: Every time you go to pay for your gas at the pump or use an ATM, pull on the credit card reader to see if it is tight or loose. If it’s loose, DO NOT use it. ATMs don’t have loose parts. If anything jiggles, back away from the machine and report to financial institution or law officials immediately.
4. Avoid stand-alone ATMs: Try to use ATMs that are located at a bank, preferably inside the lobby area. These are less risky because thieves have a hard time installing skimmers in frequently-monitored areas.
5. Frequently check bank statements: Timely reporting is very important in cases of fraud, so be sure to keep an eye on your debit and credit card transactions. Criminals are becoming more sophisticated, which means you need to stay vigilant. Stay on top of your bank statements and report any suspicious activity immediately to your financial institution.
6. Most importantly, remember to report the theft: If you are a victim of a skimmer, report it immediately to your financial institution or law official, and provide as much information as possible.
Watch the full report below to learn more ways to protect you and your loved ones from credit/debit card theft.
Please help law officials bring these criminals to justice. Share these important warnings with every credit or debit card owner that you know!