Credit card fraud is increasing and so is the number of ways criminals can access your accounts, steal your money, and make fraudulent purchases. Credit card skimming is when a device is attached to an ATM or payment terminal. Crooks target online shopping now, too.
The total losses from fraud are expected to reach $34.66 billion in 2022 compared to $24.26 billion in 2017. Read on to find out how credit card skimming works and what you can do to avoid being a victim.
WHAT IS A CREDIT CARD SKIMMER?
A credit card skimmer is a small device installed at the card slot on an ATM machine or the payment terminal at a grocery store or gas station or other stores. The skimmer captures your information and a crook may then be able to steal your money or make purchases.
Criminals are always evolving with new technology so you need to be aware of three kinds of credit card skimmers:
- The old-style credit card skimmers fit over a card slot or payment terminal and can record the information in the magnetic stripe of your credit card.
- Credit card shimmers can fit inside the card slot or payment terminal to capture the information on your credit card chip.
- Digital skimming, or e-skimming, is when destructive code called malware may capture information from the payment page of a legitimate online store.
HOW CREDIT CARD SKIMMING WORKS
Credit card skimming works by scanning the information on your physical card or reading the data you input on a payment page. Here’s what you need to know:
- The skimmer is installed in a way that doesn’t stop the ATM machine or payment terminal from working so you won’t notice it’s there.
- The skimmer might be installed along with a camera to record you inputting your PIN number, or a device might be placed over the pin pad to read your PIN directly.
- The crook who installed the device(s) will wait to harvest data and then find ways to use it for fraudulent purposes.
- Crooks can use the data to clone your credit card or simply input your information and make purchases while pretending to be you.
WHERE ARE CREDIT CARD SKIMMERS LOCATED?
Credit card skimmers are becoming more sophisticated to keep up with developing technology. To understand how credit card skimming works, you need to know where to look:
- Over or inside an ATM card slot
- Over or inside a payment terminal at a store or gas station
- Hidden in the code of an online payment processing system
WHAT A CREDIT CARD SKIMMER LOOKS LIKE
Just as you might not be able to spot a criminal in a crowd, it can be hard to detect a credit card skimmer. Be sure to watch out for these types of credit card skimmers:
- At an ATM, the card slot may be larger or a different color or material than normal.
- The installed device may overlap some text or markings on the ATM machine or payment terminal when normally you would be able to see everything clearly.
- The pin pad might be thicker or more difficult to use than normal.
HOW TO AVOID CREDIT CARD SKIMMERS
It may be difficult to stay on constant alert for credit card skimmers. The grocery store is often busy, and you might be in a rush when you stop for gas. Still, there are a few simple things you can do to protect yourself:
- Check all the ATM machines look the same if there is more than one. If any are different, don’t use any of them as you may not know which one is genuine.
- Check for signs of tampering, loose parts, small holes, or glue around the card slot or payment terminal – don’t use it if you see anything unusual.
- When shopping online, consider using an online payment service so you enter your credit card details only once and then use a secure log-in to shop at different stores.
- Keep a close eye on your bank statements and report any suspicious activity right away.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT YOU SEE A CREDIT CARD SKIMMER
Reporting fraud and suspicious activity will help you and will also benefit every other good citizen in your community.
- If you see a credit card skimmer installed on the ATM machine of your credit union or any of their affiliated partners, reach out to a member services representative and let them know right away.
- Contact management if you see something suspicious at a store or gas station, and if you experience anything unusual while shopping online.
- You can also report fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CARD IS COMPROMISED BY A CREDIT CARD SKIMMER
You should cancel your card right away if you see unusual transactions on your statement or have another reason to suspect your account has been compromised by a credit card skimmer.
Remember, the crooks could have installed a physical skimmer at an ATM or payment terminal, or you could have been targeted online through malware.
Here’s what to do next:
- Please contact Visa Lost or Stolen support immediately at 1-833-933-1681 or international 1-812-647-9794 – they will block and reissue your card.
- You can also turn your debit card on and off from your smartphone.
- Simply open your Mobile Banking app, choose Manage Cards, and tap the card image to disable your card.
- You then need to order a new card.
HAS YOUR CREDIT CARD BEEN STOLEN?
The difficult thing about credit card skimming is that you may not know you’ve been targeted because you still have your card in your possession.
On the other hand, you will likely know exactly when your credit card was stolen. Click below to find out what to do If this happens to you.