Card skimming is one of the fastest growing fraud schemes. Thieves attach skimmers to ATMs, gas pumps, point-of-sales (POS) systems and other places people swipe their credit and debit cards. Once in place, this sneaky bit of electronics steals the magnetic strip information from your card. The thieves use this information to clone your card, and once they have a clone, they can drain your bank account, or run up huge bills and trash your credit before you even know it. That’s one reason credit card companies and stores are switching to EMV cards.
Here is a good article about different types of skimmers.
Skimmers have been found all around Indiana. Below are links to some news articles where they have been found recently.
Just recently a skimming scheme was busted in Hancock county.
How can you detect and avoid having your credit card skimmed at the ATM or gas pump?
1. Inspect The Card Reader And The Area Near The PIN Pad
Many banks and merchants realize that skimming is on the rise and will often post a picture of what the real device is supposed to look like so you will see that there is something attached that is not supposed to be there if a skimmer is present.
Of course, a card skimmer could put a fake picture over the real picture so this isn’t a fail-safe way to spot a skimmer.
To see what some skimmers look like check out these examples of card skimmers so you’ll have an idea of what to look for.
Most skimming devices are designed to be temporarily affixed to the ATM or gas pump so they can be easily retrieved by the bad guys once they’ve collected a batch of cardholder data.
If you think the scanning device doesn’t look like it matches the machine’s color and style, it might be a skimmer.
2. Look At Other Nearby Gas Pumps or ATM Card Readers to See if They Match The One You Are Using.
Unless skimmers are running a large operation, they probably are only skimming at one gas pump at a time at the station you are using. Look at the pump next to yours to see if the card reader and setup look different. If they do then you might have just spotted a skimmer.
3. Trust Your Instincts. If in Doubt, Use Another Pump or ATM Somewhere Else.
Our brains are excellent at recognizing things that seem out of place. If you get a sense that something looks off about the ATM you are about to use, you might be better off using one that you feel more comfortable with.
4. Avoid Using Your PIN Number at the Gas Pump.
When you pay at the pump with your debit/credit card, you usually have the option to use it as a credit or a debit card. It’s best to choose the credit option that allows you to avoid entering your PIN in sight of a Card Skimmer camera. Even if there is not a card skimmer camera in sight someone could be watching you enter your PIN and could subsequently mug you and take your card to the nearest ATM to withdraw some cash.
When you use it as a credit card you usually only have to enter your billing ZIP code as verification which is much safer than putting in your PIN.
5. Keep an Eye on Your Accounts
If you suspect that you might have had your card skimmed. Keep an eye on your account balance and report any suspicious activity immediately.