According to the latest fraud statistics, fraudulent transactions rose by 46% in 2021 from the previous year. Over the next decade, analysts predict credit card fraud will incur $408 billion in losses. This article explores credit card skimming and how to protect your funds from fraud.
Credit card skimming is the malicious use of a skimmer device to read the data on your card. Skimming often occurs in PoS (Point of Sale) terminals. It can happen at cash registers, gas pumps, and ATM locations.
A skimmer credit card device is inserted into the card reader. Fraudsters may also place a keypad to record your information. For example, when you use an ATM or cash register, the machine pulls data from the magnetic strip on your card.
Fraudsters may clone your card or access funds directly from your account. For example, a miniature camera nearby may also record your pin and password as you use your card.
Skimmers are designed to fit within the card reader slot, which makes it hard to detect the device. But there are ways to tell if fraudsters have tampered with the machine.
Take time to examine the slot before using a card reader. Don’t use the card if you notice loose parts or unusual elements added to the ATM. Check the keypad and see if the card reader matches nearby devices.
Use another ATM and report the issue to the business owner if you suspect there is a skimmer credit card device. Some banks and PoS terminals may have a picture that customers can use to compare. Unfortunately, fraudsters can change the image of the reader. So, it is not a foolproof way to identify skimming fraud.
Fraudsters are constantly devising new ways to stay one step ahead. The latest skimming devices are known as shimmers, small enough to fit into the card reader like an ATM card. But there are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of losing your money.
Use ATMs and card readers in well-lit locations. For example, consider paying inside rather than at the terminal outside at gas stations. Keep your credit card in sight and don’t tell anyone your pin or let them write it down.
Use a credit card reader with a chip. Skimming is still possible but less likely than with traditional card readers. Pay with credit cards instead of debit cards to avoid giving your PIN.
You can use NFC or supervised ATMs to reduce the risk of skimming fraud. According to experts from SoFi, “NFC payments are secure transactions made with a smartphone. “You can pay for purchases without swiping your card at all.
It is always advisable to track your transactions from your credit card’s online account. Some credit card issuers provide detailed reports with a breakdown of your spending. You can get notifications from the company’s mobile app to detect fraud as it unfolds.
Skimmer credit card technology is becoming more sophisticated and harder to detect. But you can take some practical steps to prevent skimming. Avoid using a PoS terminal if it looks suspicious or is in a poorly-lit location. Instead, use a chip-based card reader and track your transactions to detect any unusual activities on your card.
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