Managing Risks of Credit Card skimming

Debit Card ‘Skimmers’ are a Growing Problem with
illegal devices placed on ATMs that can steal identities

ATM and debit card “skimmers” are a big identity theft threat. Where scammers have installed devices to capture numbers and pins, many are falling victim when they use their debit cards at machines.

These “skimmers” can be placed on ATMs as well as fuel pumps. Often the devices fit over the machines’ card slots, capturing the data as the card slides through. When scammers obtain this information, they can make purchases or withdraw money from bank accounts.

Criminals steal not just money, but people’s identity. While modern technology provides many advantages, it is also increasingly being used by criminals.

Readers installed allow them to retrieve card information of customers using the ATM. Micro cameras can capture the card holders’ PIN entry. With both the card information and the PIN information, bogus ATM access cards can be created. Such cards can then be used to fraudulently withdraw money from customers bank accounts.

In one of the highest-profile “skimming” cases, thieves placed “skimmers” over debit card readers last year in 80 Michael’s stores in the USA. Michaels ended up replacing all 7,200 of its card readers at all of its stores.

You should be mindful of this threat when using debit cards at ATMs and fuel pumps. Look for any change to the ATM and don’t use it if it appears suspicious. Try to use the same ATM on a regular basis, so you will easily note changes, and choose ATMs at indoor, supervised locations.
When paying at the fuel pump, you can minimize your risk by using a credit card instead of a debit card to pay for gas. Or, you can use a debit card but select “credit” instead of “debit.” That way, you won’t have to enter your PIN.

It is important to be aware, that very sophisticated gadgets can easily be attached, that look very much like they form part of the actual machine. Be careful and when in doubt, do not use them or check with the proprietor or bank that provides these machines.