On precautionary basis, it is very important to think twice before swiping the card.
Many credit card thieves get the card info with the help of a device, known as Credit Card Skimmer.
A credit card skimmer can be defined as a portable capture device which is attached in front of or on the top of legitimate scanner.
These skimmers records the data passively immediately when the credit card user inserts their credit card into the real scanner.
The credit card thieves often affix the credit card skimmer device to ATMs, gas pumps etc.
Since they are easy to retrieve their skimmers from and they receive lot of traffic generally at these places.
Over the years, the skimmer technology has become more sophisticated and cheaper.
Some skimmers capture the card information by using the magnetic reader and for this they use the miniature camera for recording the PIN number when the credit card user is putting their PIN number while using their card after swiping the card.
Some skimmers put the secondary keypad over the top of actual keypad and the secondary keypad captures the PIN and records it while passing the users input into the real keypad.
There are various ways how one can detect and avoid the credit card skimmers at the gas pump or ATM as follows.
Different Ways of Detecting and Avoiding the Credit Card Skimmers
1. Inspection of Card Reader and the Area near the PIN Pad
If there is any doubt in mind that the scanning device does not matches with the color and style of machine, it might be skimmer.
Therefore it is very important on precautionary basis to be safe and inspect the card reader first of all.
Most of the skimming devices are temporarily affixed to the gas pump or ATM so that it can be easily retrieved by bad guys once they have got a collection of batch of cardholder data.
Though many merchants as well as banks have realized that skimming is on the rise as a result they post the picture of what the real device looks like and there is something attached to it which is not supposed to be there if skimmer is present.
Some skimmers may try to put the fake picture over real picture, thus it becomes easy to spot a skimmer.
2. Avoid using PIN at the Gas Pump
While paying at the Gas Pump with either credit or debit card usually there is a option of using it as debit or credit card, then it is best and safe to use the credit option which allows to avoid the entering of PIN number in the sight of card skimmer camera.
Even if there is no card skimmer camera in sight by chance, then there is chance of someone watching the credit card while they are entering their card PIN number and could easily mug it and will take the users card to the nearby ATM to withdraw the cash.
When the user will use it as a credit card then the user will have to enter their billing ZIP code as the verification which will be much safer as compared to putting the card PIN number.
3. If there is any doubt, use another Pump
If there is any doubt in mind or if something looks odd about the ATM which one is likely to be used by the user, then it is better to use that pump ATM, where one feels comfortable with.
For this our brains are excellent source which recognizes the things and spot it easily.
4. Look at the Other nearby Gas Pumps or ATM Card Readers to see if they match
Probably skimmers try to skimming at one gas pump at a time at the station unless the skimmers are running large operation.
Therefore, the card user must check and look at the pump next to theirs to see if the set up or card reader looks different.
And if they do so, then surely it might be a skimmer.
5. Always keep an eye on accounts
If there is any suspicion in the mind that card is skimmed or any suspicious activity, then it is very important to clear the doubt at once.
For this, it is advised to the card users to keep an eye on account balance always and report immediately of any suspicious activity.