9 Tips to Prevent Credit Card Skimmers from Stealing Your Cash

Credit card skimmers are being used by a new type of information thief: one who steals valuable, personal, and financial information. In particular, the technology of the credit card skimmer enables such thieves to hijack ATMs, gas pumps, and other credit card payment systems for the information on the magnetic stripe of the credit card, debit card, and PIN codes. This information can be used to acquire items fraudulently, or it can be sold to third parties interested in such illegal information. Many of the advanced techniques, often custom-made or for sale online, use wireless technologies to blend in with the normal look and operation of an ATM or payment system.

Credit Card Skimmers
Credit Card Skimmers

Infiltrated payment terminal in Credit Card

A versatile mix of homemade and off-the-shelf electronics, credit card skimmers can often collect magnetic stripe information, images, pictures, and/or keystrokes from the infiltrated payment terminal. Some credit card skimmer systems are very sophisticated and can take card PIN data from either a hijacked keyboard or hidden video camera, and the card reader data can be wirelessly transmitted to a collection hub. The credit card Skimmer Tech can either be installed internally after the pay terminal has been physically breached or an easy-to-install add-on on the card swipe fixture or keyboard that only minimally changes the external appearance of the terminal.
Some of these credit card skimmer radio systems work on cellular service and automatically update the financial theft database. This data can then be used to create fake credit cards from blank fields or to forge online purchases, monthly transfers, and other fraudulent electronic payments.
Many organizations and banks have introduced EMV chips to counter the theft of financial data from payment terminals. Smartphone-based payment systems are also more secure than conventional payment systems with card readers. However, a payment terminal must be compatible with these newer technologies, and their introduction is not yet complete. Additionally, these technologies are safe for now, but it is possible that future financial information theft technologies will be able to bypass these new systems.
For now, it’s likely that caution could prevent your credit card and debit card information from being stolen from credit card hackers

Here are some tips for identifying and preventing credit card skimmer technologies:

  • Visually inspect the terminal before inserting your card. If the terminal looks like it has been tampered with, it may not be worth the risk.
  • Check the keyboard to make sure it has not been tampered with or that a fake keyboard has not been placed over it.
  • Physically examine the critical components of the card reader for defects. This can result in determining whether components such as the card reader slot, keypad, or ATM camera are loose or out of place.
  • If something seems out of place, all payment terminals have contact information for the company that manages them. A phone call could help ensure that better security measures are taken and the future risk of this terminal or similar terminals is reduced.
  • Use your hand to shield the keyboard when entering financial information such as a PIN.
  • Some newer Bluetooth skimmers could be intercepted by programs such as Skimmer Scanner for Android. This only works on known hardware and is not a foolproof method.
  • Only use EMV chip or contactless payment systems such as Android Pay, Apple Pay, or Samsung Pay.
  • Consistently review all of your financial transactions to ensure that they are correct and that no fraudulent charges have been made.
  • Replace or request new credit and debit cards regularly, and change the PIN for your debit cards. While this can sometimes be a chore, regularly changing financial information can prevent stolen data from being used over time.

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