Most people know how frightening it can be to lose your credit or debit card or have it stolen. But did you know that someone can steal your card information without it ever leaving your possession?
Victims of credit card skimming often don’t even realize their information is in jeopardy until they see fraudulent charges or unauthorized withdrawals on their account. That’s why it’s important to be informed about ATM and point-of-sale security.
What are credit card skimmers?
Credit card skimmers are small devices placed by thieves onto point-of-sale card readers, such as the ones you use to pay at gas pumps. These skimmers capture and store all the information stored in your card’s magnetic strip, including your card number, expiration date, and full name. Sometimes thieves even place a small camera nearby to record you entering your PIN. Thieves can then use this information to steal from you, create a counterfeit card and sell your information online.
Where are card skimmers found?
Unmanned ATMs aren’t the only place where card skimmers can steal your information. Sometimes retail and restaurant workers, who regularly handle cards, use a skimmer to obtain your card information during a normal transaction.
How to identify a card skimmer
So how can you spot a card skimmer before it’s too late? It can be tough to do since skimmers are built to blend in with the machine they’re placed on. However, if you know what to look for, you’ve got a better chance of avoiding identity theft.
Below are a few tips for identifying card skimming devices:
- The card reader sticks out far past the panel. Skimmers typically fit right over the existing card reader, so if you notice that the reader sticks out past the face of the rest of the machine, don’t use it. If you’re at a gas station, you can compare your reader to the ones at nearby pumps to see if something is out of the ordinary.
- The card reader is unstable. The reader should be securely held in place. If it moves when you use it, that’s a warning sign it could have a skimmer on it.
- The security seal is broken. Most gas stations place a security sticker across the gas pump to let you know whether the panel on the fuel dispenser has been tampered with. If the seal is broken, that’s a sign that someone has broken into the panel. Don’t use that pump and alert the gas station attendant.
- The keypad is abnormally thick. Skimmers can also place a fake keypad on top of the real one to capture your PIN and ZIP code. If you’re having trouble pushing the buttons, stop using that card scanner.
If you think your Resource One card has been skimmed, contact us immediately. The sooner you report identity theft, the better your chances of maintaining identity protection. Be prepared to provide as much information as possible about the location of the card reader you used and more.
Resource One is a member-owned and not-for-profit credit union serving Dallas and Houston. We offer members a wide range of savings, checking and loan products. Join today to discover all the benefits you’ll enjoy when you make Resource One your primary financial institution.