Credit card skimmers have been around for decades but have grown in popularity recently as criminals attempt to obtain information about unsuspecting consumers. With so many people carrying plastic, it’s easy for thieves to slip into a crowded store, swipe your credit card through their device and go on their merry way undetected. In fact, as those at SoFi state, credit card fraud accounts for “393,207 of the nearly 1.4 million reports of identity theft in 2020.”
Yet, how can you say whether your card has been skimmed? Furthermore, how would it be advisable for you to respond assuming that it works out? There are multiple ways of shielding yourself from these tricky gadgets and guarantee that programmers don’t get their hands on any private information.
What is a card skimmer?
Card skimmers are devices that criminals attach to ATMs, gas pumps and other card-swiping devices to steal your credit card data. They can be installed in seconds and are hard to detect.
On the outside of the machine, they look like a thin piece of material with a small camera attached to it. On the inside of the machine, they look like a plastic card reader with an antenna.
How to detect a card skimmer?
To detect a card skimmer, you can:
- Check the card reader.
- Check the card reader again.
- Check the card reader one more time.
If you’re still not sure that there’s no skimmer present at all, repeat this process until you are entirely certain that there is no skimmer present at all!
How Do Credit Card Skimmers Work?
A credit card skimmer is a compact device that’s used to steal credit card information. Skimmers are placed over the ATM or gas pump card reader and record the data from your bank or credit cards when you insert it into the machine. Even if you enter your PIN number correctly, this device will capture the information before it’s sent to your bank.
What Should You Do If Your Card Is Skimmed?
Here’s what you should do if your card is skimmed:
- Contact your card issuer immediately.
- Report the incident to the police, and have them file a report number. You may need this number later in order to dispute charges or get reimbursed by the bank.
- Contact your bank as soon as possible after you discover that your card has been skimmed, and ask to cancel any remaining transactions on that account—if they can’t cancel all of them at once, ask if they can spread out cancellations over several days so that you don’t lose access to funds during a long weekend or holiday (I had one canceled every day while I was away). If they refuse, contact other banks directly to see if they’re willing/able (and able) to help with canceling some pending transactions ASAP—you may even want them to do this for free since it’s their mistake, not yours!
How Can You Safeguard Yourself From Credit Card Skimmers?
- Do not use a debit card for a credit card.
- Do not use cards with magnetic strips.
- Do not use cards with chips alone, as they are more vulnerable to skimming than EMV-enabled cards with a chip and magnetic strip.
So, there you have it. We hope that this article has been helpful for you in learning about the dangers of credit card skimmers and how to avoid them. Credit card skimming is a serious crime that can affect anyone, but as long as you stay informed and vigilant, we think that it is possible to protect yourself from this type of crime.