Home Credit card How to prevent credit card skimmers from stealing your information and money

How to prevent credit card skimmers from stealing your information and money

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Over the past month, DC police have found skimming devices in POS card dispensers at 10 different locations across the city, many of which appear at local convenience stores in the Northwest and Northeast. .

Over the past month, DC police have found skimming devices in POS card dispensers at 10 different locations across the city, many of which appear at local convenience stores in the Northwest and Northeast. .

These skimmers can extract information and money from debit or credit cards when you swipe. So how can you protect yourself when you leave?

According to FICOa data analytics company, card skimming fraud increased by approximately 700% in the first half of 2022. The FBI estimates that skimming costs financial institutions and consumers more than $1 billion each year.

John Breyault, vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud at the National Consumers League, suggests the first thing to do is update any card you have with chip technology.



“Any card at this point that only has a magnetic stripe is an insecure card. It just invites fraud,” Breyault said. “Using a chip-based system is much more safe.”

For this reason, EBT cards, which are not yet updated with chips, are often targeted by scammers.

He said trying to spot a skimmer is difficult because it could be hidden inside. But there are certain signs you can look for, like a card reader that’s loose or wobbly, or if there’s a reader somehow attached to the ATM or card reader.

“But again it is professional criminals who are involved in these scams and consumers who just want to withdraw money from an ATM. It’s going to be hard to spot these scams,” Breyault said.

He said when fraudsters place skimmers on ATMs, they often also install cameras or fake keypads so they can steal PIN codes.

To be extra careful, only use ATMs located inside banks rather than stand-alone ATMs in bars, restaurants and convenience stores.

“So when you’re dealing with … people who run a gas station, a convenience store, or restaurant workers, they’re not trained to spot an ATM that’s been tampered with,” Breyault said.

If you’re the victim of skimming, be sure to report it to your bank or credit card company and to the authorities, whether it’s your police department, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“This is how law enforcement at the state and federal levels identify trends and build cases against fraudsters,” Breyault said.

You can also report instances of skimming to National Consumers League.

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