Look Twice: It Could Be a Card Skimmer
Traveling season is upon us. As you get ready to go on vacation and relax this summer, did you know you may also become more susceptible to fraud? Purchasing items at convenience stores, withdrawing cash from an ATM, fueling up at a gas pump, and shopping at stores with your debit card are ways scammers steal your financial information.
What is a card skimmer?
A credit card skimming device reads the magnetic stripe on your credit or debit card when you slide it into a card reader at an ATM, gas pump, or other points of sale. The skimmer does not impact your purchase (so you do not know it’s happening) but it does store card information to be used by fraudsters. Despite attempts to curtail card skimming, thieves continually develop more sophisticated devices. Consequently, skimmers are more challenging to spot.
Here are some methods to help prevent your card from being skimmed.
- Check for alignment issues with the card reader. Skimmers are typically placed over an existing card reader; therefore, the fake one may stick out or be placed at a strange angle. If at a gas pump, you can also compare your card reader to the pumps next to you to check if they look the same.
- Look for a broken security seal. Most gas pumps should have security tape or sticker over the cabinet panel. If it appears to have been tampered with, avoid using the card reader and notify an employee at the gas station.
- Feel around the card reader to see if it fits loosely. Card readers are made to be durable and are not likely to be easily moved around.
- Use technology to pay. New card payment terminals can accept payment by tapping a card, your phone, or wearable device. Card skimmers use the magnetic stripe on the back of your card to get your information, so if you use a “tap-to-pay” method, a scammer cannot get your card number in this manner.
- Avoid ATMs in out-of-the-way locations. Scammers tend to install skimming devices at ATMs or pumps that are hard to see.
Other Ways to protect yourself:
- Set up alerts to monitor activity on your credit and debit cards.
- Use our mobile app or review your statements regularly to monitor transactions made to your account.
- If you have questions or suspect you may be a victim of fraud, call us immediately. Check out these other insider tips to ensure you are aware of potential threats, and doing the most to protect your information and money.