Protect Yourself Against Card Skimmers
ATM Machine Image

Protect Yourself Against Card Skimmers

Using your credit card at a gas station pump or drive-up ATM is quick and convenient. However, despite retailers following Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards to protect your information, cybercriminals are finding ways to steal your information. Cybercriminals are using technology called “card skimmers” to read and record your card information in a matter of seconds. Although retailers regularly check for card skimmers, learning how to protect yourself at gas station pumps and ATMs should be a priority now more than ever.

How Do They Work?

Card skimmers are physical devices that cybercriminals attach to the credit card reader of an ATM or gas pump. The card skimmer then reads the magnetic strip on the card to gather your full name, the card number, and the expiration date. Once the skimmer reads your card information, the cybercriminals can then sell your information or use it to gain access to your bank account. These skimmers are designed to fit tightly over the real card reader at the gas station and ATM, making them undetectable if you don’t know what to look for.

How To Avoid Card Skimmers?

To protect yourself against card skimmers, follow these helpful tips:

  • Shake and pull the card reader. If the card reader is loose or looks tampered with, pay inside and report it.
  • Go inside. Paying inside of the gas station or going into the bank will reduce the risk of coming in contact with a card skimmer since it is less likely that the card readers inside have been tampered with.
  • Use mobile payment options if they are available. Use options like Google or Apple Pay to eliminate having to use your card.
  • Download a Skimmer Scanner app. These apps, which are available on both the App Store and Google Play, will warn you about where card skimmers are located in the area.

Pay with cash. Paying with cash will completely eliminate the risk of coming in contact with a card skimmer.

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