How card skimming works and how to protect yourself

ATM’s can be physically modified in such an easy way that can be hard to notice. And you might be a victim of crooks.

How skimming works?

Thieves can put a card scanner on the little slot where you insert the card.

These skimmers can copy personal data from the cards magnetic strip.

A thief can buy a skimmer on the black market to look as legitime card slots making very difficult for a customer to realize what’s going on.

Still, a thief needs also your pin number.

So, they can install a small camera to capture footage of your pin.

And some scammers can even buy number pads to overlay the original number pad.

Image from TFCU

Electronic pickpockets

Do you think your credit cards are safe in your pockets?

Well, think again.

There are devices that can steal the card information without even touching you.

All they have to do is place your device near your pocket where the wallet is or your purse and that’s it.

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To protect yourself you can by what’s called a shielded wallet.

Or, you can buy a SignalVault card as seen on Shark Tank.

Screenshot from YouTube

Another way is to wrap wrap the cards with aluminium foil.

Shimming

It’s a more subtle technique.

A paper-thin shim goes in between the credit card reader and when you stick your card in, it collects data.

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It’s difficult for you to know is they insert shim and it doesn’t stop cards from being used in the machine as normal.

It’s easy for the criminal to install and the shim might be there for weeks collecting data. Then they will use the data to create fake cards to make fraudulent purchases. 

Now, the scammer can’t use this technique for tap and chip card payments.

They can only use it on Swipe machines.

A way to detect this is when it’s a little harder to swipe than usual. If possible, try to avoid this payment.

How to protect yourself?

1. Look for tampering

Push and pull parts to see if there is another piece attached to it.

You can also look for scratch marks. And look for small holes around because there is the camera. 

2. Check your statements

If they scammed you, alert your bank and they can give your money back as long as you report it within 30 days.

You should also sign up for pin alerts anytime the card is used.

3. Cover the pin

When you are placing the pin, cover up the keypad because might be cameras anywhere recording your pin number.

4. Location

Try to avoid the ATM’s that are in the dark isolated locations. And try to use ATM’s inside a mall or bank.

5. Free public Wifi

Before using WiFi you need to know that a hacker within a certain range of wifi network can spy on your data.

So make sure to not use the phone to buy anything while you’re using WiFi.

Free WiFi is unencrypted and unprotected.

6. Use the tap to pay option because it is more secure than other payment methods.

7. Don’t let your debit card out of your sight.

You might go to a restaurant or a shop and you give them your card to swipe and receive your payment. But, the waiter can run your card into a second card reader and steal your information.

Image from Pixabay

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