Santa Claus comes around just once a year. In the meantime, there are Credit Cards.
  • Credit Card Skimming

    What is Credit Card Skimming?

    Credit card skimming is a type of theft where the thief makes use of a device, known as a skimmer and steals the information of a credit card. When your credit card is swiped through the device, the skimmer will steal and store every detail that is on the magnetic stripe of the card. This stripe stores information like the expiry date of your card, your full name, and the credit card number.

    What happens to your card after It has been Skimmed?

    Once the information on your card has been stolen by the skimmer, the data can be used in the following ways:

    • Identity theft can be carried out with the data that the skimmer captures. This takes place when the thief uses your personal information and credit card details to set up duplicate accounts or even avail a loan in your name.
    • The stolen data can be used by the thief to make over-the-phone or internet purchases. This theft is known as a ‘card not present’ fraud.
    • The information can be transmitted to other parties and information will be copied onto counterfeit credit cards.

    Common Places Where Credit Card Skimming Takes Place

    ATMs and Petrol Stations

    • Credit card skimmers are fixed on ATMs and credit card machines at petrol stations.
    • The device gives the thief all the information he/she needs to make fake credit cards and even withdraw cash from your account.
    • Keep in mind that thieves can also place an undetectable and small camera near the ATM machine that could record your PIN when you enter it.

    Restaurants and Retail Outlets

    • A credit card skimmer can also be used at retail outlets and restaurants.
    • At times, new staff is recruited to steal information from credit cards using a skimmer. These staff members would mostly be a part of a skimming ring.
    • When you hand your credit card to the waiter for paying the bill, it is an opportunity for him/her to swipe your card through a credit card skimmer and steal your credit card information.

    How to Spot a Credit Card Skimmer

    • A credit card skimmer usually blends in with the ATM machine or the credit card machine that it is placed on. These devices are not very easy to spot.
    • Keep in mind that a credit card skimmer will stick out beyond the panel. So, when it seems like an additional part is fixed to the credit card reader, or a part of it is jutting out, you can be sure that a credit card skimmer has been placed on the machine.
    • If a credit card skimmer has been installed on a card machine, it will appear loose and out of place. Loose and moving parts are signs that a skimmer has been fixed to the reader.

    What do you do if your Credit Card has Been Skimmed

    Credit card issuers generally make use of fraud detection technology and can immediately block your credit card if any sign of fraud crops up. However, keep in mind that you may not even know that your credit card has been skimmed until the issuer notifies you regarding the fraudulent transactions.

    Once you identify the fraud, you should immediately contact the credit card issuer and request them to block and cut off access to your card.

    FAQs on Credit Card Skimming

    1. Can a card skimmer get your PIN?

      When your credit card is swiped into a skimmer, the device will read the magnetic strip on your card and also store the credit card number. Your PIN will be stored as well.

    2. Can chip cards be skimmed?

      Yes, chip credit cards can be hacked, if a thief inserts it into a skimmer. They can then copy data from the credit card.

    3. Can tap to pay be skimmed?

      The code will be transmitted with your account number when you tap to pay. When you swipe a magnetic stripe, payment and personal information will be captured by a skimming device.

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