Credit Card and ATM Skimming – a Growing Threat

Most people know the basic safety precautions to take when using an ATM, such as looking for safe, well lit locations and being careful to cover the keyboard when entering a PIN – but far fewer people are aware of the increasing threat posed by ATM and credit card skimming. With card skimming, thieves attach a camouflaged card reader over a legitimate card reader, such as the one at your ATM, gas pump, or store checkout. One might think it would be easy to recognize a phony card reader – but like thousands of victims worldwide, one might be wrong. The ruses are getting more and more sophisticated and harder to detect. Some devices are placed over a keypad to record your transactions and gather your data for later use. Others are micro-hand held devices that thieves can use to quickly scan a card.
NetworkWorld offers an excellent article on ATM and credit card skimming that describes how the con works and offers an illustrated guide with examples of what to look for when using a credit or debit card. This is definitely an article worth reading and passing on.
To protect yourself from being a victim, make sure that you check out credit card readers before using them to look for any unusual signs – if you spot anything strange or get any error messages, report the problem to the bank or the responsible outlet immediately. Don’t let anyone help you at an ATM outlet – this “helpfulness” is a common ploy for skimmers. Also, sign up for the online services associated with your account and check your account activity and statements every few days.