How to Protect Yourself From Card Skimming

Information verified correct on September 27th, 2016
credit card skimming

Learn exactly what card skimming is. Find out ways that you can protect yourself from the dangers of card skimming. Learn where to report card skimming.

What exactly is card skimming?

Card skimming is the process of stealing the information off of a credit or ATM card usually through what would otherwise be a legitimate transaction. The action is usually taken within retail establishments or restaurants. It is a more direct method of identity theft than phishing which relies on the user to be duped into giving his or her credit card information.

Signs you are being “skimmed”

If you walk into a retail store or restaurant and are ready to pay for your goods or meal and notice that the shop assistant or waiter or waitress has taken your card to two separate locations to swipe it then you may be in danger of having your card skimmed. Or, if the shop assistant takes your card away from where you are having the sales transaction to swipe your card then this could be a sign that your card information may be stolen.

If you use ATMs and notice that the card slot looks tampered with or strange or suspicious, there could be a skimming device attached to the machine. Do not use it.

Another sign of credit card tampering is the evidence of unauthorised charges on your credit card or banking statement.

How to protect yourself

Protect yourself from thieving criminals by making the job harder for them. Keep your credit cards and ATM cards in a safe place. Make certain that no one else is aware of your PIN or personal identity number. It is very important that you do not write your PIN down anywhere near where you keep your ATM or credit card.

Be sure to check your banking and credit card statement regularly for unexplained charges. And, if any appear, be certain to address the charges immediately. When choosing a password, choose something that you can remember but something that will be difficult for scammers to figure out.

Also, consider a service like Secure Sentinel, which will monitor the black market websites where your stolen credit card numbers might surface, and report to you if found.

Report card skimming

If you have been the victim of card skimming, there is help. You can contact your bank, credit union or credit card company to address and charges that may have been incurred on your card. In addition, you can file a report with Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Credit card fraud is on the rise but there are steps that you can take to protect yourself. Being proactive and diligent will make the job difficult for criminals to select you as a target.

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