How Does Credit Card Skimming Work?

How Credit Card Skimming Works

Credit card skimming victims have been completely blinded by theft. They have been accused of making fake charges, withdrawing money from their accounts, but their credit and debit cards have never left them. How does Credit Card Skimming Work?

What is Credit card skimming?

Credit card skimming is a form of credit card theft where thieves use a small device to steal credit card information in otherwise valid credit or debit card transactions. When a credit or debit card comes in contact with a skimmer, the device retrieves and stores all the details stored in the card’s magnetic stripe.

The bar contains the credit card number, expiration date, and full name of the credit cardholder. Thieves use stolen data online or through fake credit cards to make purchases.

How Does Credit Card Skimming Work?

Skimming at ATMs and gas stations:

Credit card skimmers are often placed on top of card swipe mechanisms at ATMs and gas stations, but screens can be placed on almost any type of credit card reader. Through ATMs, criminals can also install a small, unrecognizable camera nearby to record their PIN. It provides the thief with all the information he needs to create a fake card and withdraw cash from the cardholder’s checking account.

Skimming at a restaurant or retailer:

Occasionally, some retail and restaurant workers who handle credit cards are hired to be part of the skimming ring. These workers use a handheld device to scan your credit card during a normal transactions. For example, after dinner customers routinely hand over their cards to waiters so that they can pay for their meal. The waiter walks with your credit cards to the register skims the card before they enter your information and returns your card back to your table. This 2 minute walk becomes the perfect opportunity to swipe the customers card information without any one noticing.

How do thieves use your information?

Once the victim’s credit card information is stolen. The thief will either create a cloned credit card to make in-store purchases. Use the account to make online purchases or sell the information over the Internet. Credit card scam victims are often unaware of theft unless they consider unauthorized charges on their account. Unexpectedly rejecting their card, or receiving an overdraft notification in the mail.

How do you spot a credit card skimmer?

Credit card skimming devices are designed to match this machine seamlessly. Unless you’re looking for a particular skimming device, you won’t find anything out of the ordinary.

When you swipe your credit card, you should be on the look for credit card skimmers, especially at gas stations, and ATM’s.

Getting acquainted with present-day credit card readers can help you find out when there is no space outside. There are indications that a credit card skimmer is installed. A credit card reader that stays away from the panel is an indicator because it is designed to fit skimmers into existing credit card readers. When you see an extra part sticking out from the piece this might be a sign that a skimmer has been attached to the original device.

At the gas station, you can compare readers to suspicious credit card readers at nearby pumps. If nothing seems trivial, avoid paying at the pump. Pay inside or go to another gas station.

If a skimmer is installed, the credit card reader will appear loose or move when it is used. The credit card reader must be secure. Moving sections indicate that the reader has been tampered with or that the skimming device is attached to the existing reader.

Gas stations often put safety labels across the gas pump to let you know that the fuel dispenser has been tampered with in the cabinet panel. When sealed, the label has a flat red, blue or black background. However, once the seal is broken, the words “wide open” appear white. If the seal is missing, displays a message, or loosens, it is a sign that someone has accessed the cabinet without authorization. Tell the gas station attendant and do not to use the credit card machine at this pump.

Many people do not take the time to look at the fuel pump or ATM. Which makes it more appealing to criminals. It only takes a few moments to inspect the machine before using. It is better to verify for yourself that there has been no tampering versus trusting that someone else has inspected it.

In addition to the card skimming device, thieves can place fake keypads on top of the original to capture your keystrokes. This way they can capture your PIN or billing zip code in addition to your credit or debit card details. If you find it difficult to press the keys, pull out your card and use another Machine. When possible use an indoor bank-operated ATM, which is less likely to be tampered with than an ATM at a store or gas station.

How do you prevent and detect credit card scams?

Thankfully, many banks and credit card issuers are getting better at detecting fraudulent transactions And suspicious charges cannot be processed unless you confirm that you have initiated the transaction.

Using your credit card directly puts you at risk of becoming a victim of credit card scams. To catch fake allegations about a skim, you need to check your accounts frequently. Monitor your checking and credit card accounts frequently (at least weekly). And report any suspicious activity to your bank or credit card issuer immediately.

Related: What To Do If Your Credit Card Is Hacked

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Here are some tips to help you avoid credit card scams.

Look where you shop. 

Restaurants, bars, and gas stations are known to be the places where most credit card incidents take place. Retail store self-checkouts and ATMs, especially stand alone ATMs (those that are events and not at the bank).

Check before using an ATM:

  • At ATMs, skimmers often use a camera in front of a keypad to steal your PIN. These cameras are often small and difficult to detect. When you’re using an ATM, cover your hand when you type your PIN to prevent the camera from seeing the scene as you type.
  • Do not hand over your card to anyone for cleaning. Thieves will claim to clean the magnetic strip on your credit card to make it work better. These thieves can easily swipe your credit card through a credit card skimmer and get your credit card information.

How to report a credit card scam:

If you think you have been the victim of a credit card skimming scam, contact your bank. Or credit card issuer even if you have not made any false purchases. The sooner you report your suspicions, the less likely you are to be liable for unauthorized accusations. Providing as much detail as possible about the skimmer’s location. (such as the gas station you visited with the pump number. Or ATM location) can help the bank avoid future losses.

With most credit cards you can dispute transactions that are suspicious or the purchases not made by you. All you need to do is provide a reason and explanation of the transaction you wish to dispute and the credit card company will investigate on your behalf. If they agree with your reasoning they will dispute the charge and give you back your money.

Alert the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These government agencies often work to break the big credit card scams.

Will Placing a Fraud Alert Hurt My Credit Scores?

If you are a victim of a credit card scam you should notify your creditors as soon as possible.

Placing a fraud alert on your account does not affect your credit scores.

It alerts creditors that you may have been a victim of fraud and encourages them to take extra steps, such as contacting you at a phone number you provide, to verify your identity and purchase before extending credit in your name.

Related: Credit vs Debit and Which One Is Safer To Use Online

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