What is Card Skimming?

“Card skimming” is the illegal copying of information from the magnetic strip of a credit or debit card. The electronic information is then used to duplicate the card for use in purchasing goods fraudulently, or withdrawing money from the users’ accounts.  Card skimming often leads to full on identity theft, where your personal details are used to create fraudulent identities in order to commit larger frauds, or hide ones true identity.  By stealing your personal details and account numbers the scammer may be able to borrow money or take out loans in your name, escape detection, prosecution by law enforcement agencies, or even enter or flee the country.

Detection:

 

  • During a transaction, your card is taken out of your sight for processing.
  • You are asked to swipe your card through more than one machine, or more than one time.
  • You see a store employee swipe your card through a different machine or multiple times.
  • Something seems odd about the card slot on an ATM (like a small peep-hole, an attached device, or a wiggly card reader).
  • Unauthorised transactions on your account or credit card statement.
  • Order a free copy of your credit report every year to make sure no one is using your name to borrow money or run up debts.

Protection:

  • Keep your credit and debit  cards safe.
  • Do not store any written copy of your PIN (personal identity number) anywhere.
  • Do not share your PIN with anyone.
  • Check your bank account and credit card statements as soon as you get them.
  • Report unauthorized transactions to your bank or credit card company immediately.
  • Choose passwords that would be difficult for anyone else to guess.
  • Do not use banking site passwords for any other purpose.  Pick a different one for email and other websites.

Reaction:

If you have already been had, don’t be embarrassed, and don’t let these clowns get away with it.  Report them to your bank and the authorities immediately.

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