How Do Credit Card Skimmers Work?

Credit Card Skimmers

Credit card skimming can happen almost anywhere. The one we hear about most is at the gas pump. A device is attached over top of the credit card reader so when a card is run the reader copies all your card information. A counterfeit card is then made and used either online or where a chip card reader has not been installed. An additional method is for a camera to be placed on the outside of the screen so that photos of your card and pin can be taken. This can also happen at an ATM.

In the last year at two different fast food restaurants, drive thru employees used pocket skimmers to copy credit cards. They would run it through the regular machine and then pass it by the skimmer before handing it back. It was so fast that it was hard to see on video in real time. Waiters can also do this when they take your card to charge for your meal.

Protect Yourself From Credit Card Skimmers

Protect Yourself from Credit Card SkimmingSo how do you protect yourself from skimmers? First off, check your credit card/bank account regularly. When using an ATM or gas pump, test the card reader to see if it moves. It also should be the same color as the rest of the machine. Look for small cameras. Don’t use ATMs that aren’t at a bank or gas pumps that are far away from the business front. Scammers don’t want to be caught so they try to attach devices away from sight and video.

DO NOT use your bankcard as debit. Always use it as a credit card. You have much more protection and you aren’t giving them your pin number. Your debit card is linked directly to your bank account giving them access to ALL your funds, including any funds you have in savings, if your account is linked for overdraft protection.

If your card information is stolen MAKE A POLICE REPORT after you call your bank.