Credit card skimming is a common scam that claims a lot of victims every year. It’s difficult to avoid this form of card fraud and catches even the most scam-savvy people unprepared. By the time the thieves skim the money from your account, it’s difficult to determine when and where your card was “skimmed.” This article will explain this scam and share some tips for avoiding credit card scams.
What is card fraud?
So what is a skimmer? It’s a small piece of plastic with a chip installed, which is placed over the card slot of an ATM or other card reader. The devices are so small and discreet that they are generally undetectable. Thieves use this device to read all the information from your card, plus your pin code, so they can perform card fraud. Some skimmers even have a small camera that allows them to take a picture of your face so they can target you for identity theft besides having access to your bank account.
Skimmer in a handheld device
If you eat regularly in restaurants, you may have noticed that many of them have equipped their servers with handheld card readers which allows them to swipe their card at your table. While this may inspire confidence, with your card never leaving your sight, unfortunately, some scammers even put skimmers on these devices, making them a point of risk for credit card scams.
Banks in the United States have become increasingly concerned about skimming activity and other credit fraud, because of the losses it causes for them and their clients. There are efforts underway to ensure that every Visa and MasterCard have a layer of protection in it to prevent this sort of skimming; however, the technology is still being deployed. This sort of thing always turns into something of an arms race, with banks and scammers developing new technology to thwart each other. Credit card scams will probably be a risk for the foreseeable future.
How do I avoid credit card scams?
Although skimming scams has become increasingly sophisticated, there are still ways you can minimize your risk. To protect yourself from credit fraud and keep your personal financial information safe, follow these tips:
– Use ATMs within the bank lobby itself, or other high-traffic, well-lit areas with a security presence. It’s much harder for scammers to install a skimmer on a device that is under the watchful eye of a security guard.
– Cover the keypad when you’re typing in your PIN. If the thieves are using a camera-based skimmer, they’ll get a photo of your hand, not your number.
– Never ask a stranger to assist you while you’re using the ATM. If you see a stranger hanging around, being suspicious, or asking you if you need help, report immediately.
– Always monitor your card while paying with a handheld device.
– Closely monitor your account activity for potential card fraud. If you see any suspicious charges, report them immediately. Some scammers will test the waters with a small purchase to verify that the stolen credentials work, before later making a large purchase. If you notice the small purchase, you can stop them before they do more damage to your account.
If you get scammed by a credit card skimmer despite taking all the best precautions, Claim Justice can help you through the frustrating process of recovering your money from credit card scams. Contact us as soon as possible; if you act quickly and enlist professional help, you increase your chances of recovering all of your lost money.