3 Tips to Detect Credit Card Skimmers
Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon case throughout the country. As technology continues to grow, scammers are getting more sophisticated in stealing your credit card information. 27% of adults have been victim to credit card theft in 2016 from using cards in stores. It is important to be informed on how to prevent and report these devices.
What is a card skimmer?
A card skimmer is a device or series of devices (including scanners and cameras) used to steal your card information. Skimming is when there is an additional discreet device placed on a card reader and/or pin pad so that when you swipe or insert your card, that device transmits your credit card information to their computer to use at their disposal. These devices usually are placed over the original card scanners and number pads.
Are RFID chips secure from card skimmers?
Just as credit card technology advances, card skimmers are getting smarter. Skimmers now can activate the RFID chip to gather information. With that said, obtaining the information from the RFID chip alone may not be enough. However, when using a card reader skimmer, like in an ATM, they can access the RFID chip, magnetic stripe, and using a camera in the card reader to read the CVC code, scammers can get all the information they need to start making fraudulent purchases on your account.
If there is a card skimmer device, will my credit or debit card still be read by the original machine?
These skimmers are designed to sit just above or before the original manufacturer’s card scanner. So your transaction will still go through normally, which is ideal for scammers. By completing a transaction, a scammer can get the information from the magnetic stripe, the RFID chip, the CVC security code on the back of your card, and the PIN number for your card.
How can I tell if there are skimming devices?
These devices are designed to appear as innocuous as possible, matching the design of a card reader or ATM, making it difficult to find at first glance. The good news is that there are ways to check if there are devices.
Here are some tips to follow the next time you need to use your card:
- Check the area where you swipe or insert your card for any adhesive or extra plastic. You can do this by tugging and squeezing the card cover or swiper. The plastic should not be able to move, bend, or shift. A man at a 7-11 in Seaford, NY was able to identify a card skimming device using this method.
- Check the number pad-does the pad feels flush the machine? Note any “layers” or appearance of an additional number pad on top of the original. Also, look under the number pad covers for any cameras or devices facing the number pad. Look carefully-the camera lens can be as small as a screw. Always assume someone is watching you when you complete a transaction: cover your hands as you enter your pin number in case there is a camera.
- Swipe or Insert the card yourself whenever possible. If an employee needs to swipe your card, watch them carefully for any suspicious behavior. Employees could potentially swipe your card on their own device, or have a skimmer on the register machine.
Most Importantly, if you are unsure about the integrity of a card reader or ATM, follow your gut: Do not use the reader and contact the police, even if you are not completely sure. If you live in NY, you can send a report autonomously through the See Something, Send Something App. If you find a card skimming device, contact the local police immediately. Do not use the card reader.