Skimmers are compact devices that criminals attach to ATMs and gas pumps to steal your credit card information. Skimmers can be difficult to spot, but there are some things that you can do to avoid having your information stolen.
Skimmers are common
Skimmers are everywhere. They can be installed on ATMs, gas pumps, and other devices that accept credit or debit cards. According to SoFi, “credit card skimmers have been around since 2015.” That means credit/debit cards are increasingly at risk every passing day.
It’s important to be aware of your surroundings when you’re using a credit or debit card in public places like ATMs, gas stations, and stores. The best way to protect yourself from skimmers is to use cash whenever possible and pay attention to the device you’re using your card with.
Avoid Using Outside ATMs
ATMs are a popular target for skimmers, as they make it much easier to steal your personal information by skimming credit cards. Skimmers can be hidden inside the ATM or attached directly to the card reader and/or cash dispenser. If you know that a particular machine is prone to having these devices attached, then you should avoid using them at all costs. The best way to do this is by taking advantage of your bank’s mobile app or online banking system instead of visiting in person at an ATM machine.
Look for signs of any tampering
Before you use an ATM, you must check for signs of tampering. If you see any, don’t use the machine; contact your bank immediately. Here are some common signs to look out for:
The card reader may be loose or crooked to the side
You can see extra wires or parts that look different from other parts on the machine
The keypad looks different from other keypads on nearby ATMs
Do not share your Card Pin with others
Never share your card pin with anyone. Never. Never ever, ever. If you must use a shared card, ensure that you never use it for cash withdrawals or at an ATM. Also, make sure that the balance is only being used for purchases and nothing else (other than maybe withdrawing money from an ATM).
If you are sharing a card with someone—say your roommate has the same credit union as you but has been having issues making payments on time—always monitor their usage on this shared account to protect yourself from scammers who may take advantage of their information after they’ve seen how much money is available in the account via bank statements and other records.
Set a Withdrawal Limit
You must set a withdrawal limit on your account. If you don’t, your account will be emptied in minutes.
When setting a limit, consider what is important to you: Do you want to be able to withdraw $500 per month? Or would it be better if the maximum amount was $100? It’s up to you! I recommend setting a relatively low limit that still allows for regular activity without giving thieves too much leeway to drain your funds.
Being vigilant can help you avoid losing money to skimmers
If you suspect fraud, contact the bank.
If you are affected by credit card fraud, contact the bank.
If you suspect skimming devices on ATMs or gas pumps, notify local law enforcement immediately.
In today’s world, it’s important to be aware of the risks that surround us. Skimmers are a great example of this because they can strike anywhere at any time, and they’re becoming more sophisticated all the time. With these tips in mind, though, you’ll be able to keep yourself safe from this type of attack.