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What Is Card Skimming/Shimming And How To Avoid It

Card skimming is another sneaky way scammers are stealing people’s money. A card skimmer is a device that steals card information by reading your debit or credit card’s magnetic strip. Along similar lines, a card shimmer is used to capture information from chip-enabled cards and are much harder to detect because they are located inside of card readers. Card skimming/shimming is popular at places like gas stations, ATMs, parking meters and other points of sale. These devices are attached to keypads, card readers, etc. Once your card is skimmed, scammers now have access to your card number, expiration date, and cardholders name. Launch CU explains below what card skimming is and how to avoid it.

What To Look For:

While card skimming devices can be hard to spot, there are a few things you can watch for.

  • Try to tug/jiggle the gas station card reader. If it’s loose, there could potentially be a card skimmer installed.
  • Look for tampering such as different coloring on the machine or keypad numbers not aligning. 
  • Check the feel of the keypad. If it feels too thick there may be a pin-snatching overlay on it. 

Scammers go back to the places they’ve installed the card skimmers and retrieve them to gather your information. From there, they can duplicate your card, use your information to make online purchases, or sell your information on the dark web. 

  • Especially for shimming, wiggle your card as you slide it into the ATM slot. This will shield your information from the skimming device. 
  • Cover the keypad when you’re inputting your PIN
  • If you’re at a gas station, pay inside
  • Monitor your debit and credit card accounts regularly 

Here is what you need to do if your card is skimmed:

  • Notify your bank
  • Check your charges and record which ones are fraudulent 
  • Set up fraud alerts on your account so you’re notified right away. 

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