As digitally evolved as America is, credit card skimming — the act of stealing consumers’ credit or debit card info via electronic devices attached to point of sale systems — might seem like antiquated scam. However, a recent FICO report found that skimming has risen by 78 percent over the past two years. The danger is very real, so you need to know as much as you can about skimming to keep yourself protected.
Skimmers work in a rather straightforward way. The scammer attaches the device to an ATM or any point of sale system, like a card reader at the gas station. When you swipe your card, the skimmer reads your info, copies it and stores it. The thief later removes the skimmer and accesses your data to rack up fraudulent charges. They can even sell your info to other hackers who want to use it themselves.
Swipes Are Worse
You should be on the lookout for skimmers at any place that still uses the swipe method for purchasing instead of the new chip method. That typically includes gas stations (they’re required to get chip readers by 2020), kiosks and small markets.
When in Doubt, Scan
As US News reports, the best way to avoid skimmers is use the S.C.A.N. strategy:
Report Right Away
You can avoid skimming by regularly monitoring your credit report and credit card and bank statements. If you find yourself the victim of skimming, report the incident to your credit card company or bank right away. You will likely not be held liable for any charges.