Keeping Your Credit Card Safe from ATM Skimmers

An ATM skimmer is a small electronic device that can be fixed over the card slot of an ATM machine. It can scan and store hundreds of credit card numbers.

Skimming occurs often at ATMs and gas stations with a card scanning device installed outside or inside of a card slot. This skimming device reads the magnetic strip on your card as you insert your card in the slot.

In some cases, thieves also attach ATMs with keypad overlays and miniature cameras to read the card PIN number that you type on the keypad.

Look for skimmer device.

This will look very similar to a card slot in color and texture. It sits over the original card slot. Original card slot on the ATM is usually concave (curving inward) in shape but the skimmer will look more convex (curving outward) in shape.

Check by pulling the card slot.

ATMs are designed to be sturdy. Try and pull the ATM card slot. If the slot comes off easily, it is most probably a skimmer device.

Look for keypad overlays.

Keypad overlays are placed directly on top of the ATM keypad. These keypads have circuits that can store your actual keystrokes. Look for any noticeable difference in keypad by comparing it with nearby ATM machine. Inspect the keypad by testing its sensitivity and try pulling it off. A fake keypad will come off when pulled. Try to use ATMs on-screen keypad if it has one.

Look for hidden cameras.

They are small miniature cameras concealed somewhere on the front of the ATM focusing on the ATM keypad.

Keep monitoring your credit card statements.

Look for any unauthorized transactions. Don’t leave them unnoticed even if the transaction is very low.

Avoid outdoor ATMs.

Try to use the ATM machines that are located indoors and in a well-monitored area.

Avoid old and outdated ATM machines.

Although recently made ATMs have some security features still thieves find their way to attach various devices.

Go cardless!

Pay with cash. Try to use cash more often. Many ATMs now even provide cardless cash. Keep the card usage to a bare minimum.

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